On the 27th May, the young leaders’ pre-conference of Women Deliver 2013 took place, and Latin America and the Caribbean stood out, with the 15 young people from the region involved. This workshop provided the participants with tools to carry out advocacy activities and facilitate communication with people who may be interested in projects for young people and potential donors.

The pre-conference involved 100 young people from 68 countries around the world; from our region young people attended from Argentina, Barbados, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Trinidad & Tobago and Venezuela. Together they exposed the main problems that affect people in Latin America, which they identified as one of the most unequal regions of the world.

Young people in Women Deliver Pre-Conference

Investment in sex education, and access to sexual and reproductive health services for young women were the issues that were raised emphatically by Latin-American participants. They highlighted that both areas could bring about a big change, not only for the development of women in the region, but for society in general.  Other topics such as abortion, equal marriage and the responsibility in pregnancy were also discussed and created divisions among the 100 young people. In the case of equal marriage, the situation in Colombia was raised, where the law was not approved by the second debate in the Senate, due to the large conservative opposition in the Catholic Church.

The pre-conference was a training space for these young people who are looking to make their work known in their respective countries and obtain technical and financial support for their projects.

The event was attended by Jill Sheffield, founder and president of Women Deliver, who affirmed that it was incredible to see young people participating in the conference and that they should take advantage of the space to carry on fighting for the rights of women and girls. Musimbi Kanyoro, president of the Global Fund for Women Joy Marini, Director of Cooperative Contributions at Johnson & Johnson (sponsor of the event). They also participated in the opening of the pre-conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Other high level experts who participated in the training of the young people were  HRH Princess of Norway, Pablo Aguilera, Executive Director of HIV Young Leaders Fund; Callie Simon of Pathfinder International; Barbara Bush of Global Health Corporation; Mandy Moore, Ambassador of PSI; Rena Greifinger of PSI; Sharon D’Agostino of Johnson & Johnson; Janna Oberdof of Women Deliver; Marcia Banasko of YWCA Global; Georgia Arnold of MTV Staying Alive Foundation; Gillian Dolce of GYCA; Kathy Calvin of the UN Foundation; Katy Woods of the White Ribbon Alliance; Carmen Barroso of IPPF-WHR; Vanessa Brocato of PPFA Global; Julia Bunting of IPPF; Lindsay Meenard-Freeman of Women Deliver; Dianne Stewart of UNFPA and Prateek Awasthi of UNFPA.

We hope the tools given to the young people on this intense day will be put into practice over the next few days so that their initiatives in favour of women and girls’ rights will gain profile in the region.

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