CAMY Fund Visit to OYE Honduras
Several years ago the Honduran government developed a cross-cutting comprehensive sexuality education curriculum with the support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Honduras. To date, this curriculum has not been fully implemented in the country’s public schools. As a result, many children and teens in Honduras do not have access to critical information for developing a healthy self-esteem and exercising their sexuality in a responsible way as well as identifying dating violence and preventing teen pregnancy.
El Progreso is the fourth largest city in Honduras with a population of around 300,000. El Progreso has ten Basic Education Centers (Centros Basicos), which serve students from 1st through 9th grades, and none of them are implementing the aforementioned sexuality education curriculum.
In November 2014 the CAMY Fund provided a grant to OYE Honduras for a one year project to increase the percentage of Basic Education Centers in El Progreso that offer comprehensive sexuality education. As a part of their grant with the CAMY Fund, OYE Honduras coordinated with the principals of two Basic Education Centers to train teachers to implement the sexuality education curriculum. On May 13th, Michele (SIF’s Director of Programs) and I joined the Coordinator of Programs for OYE Honduras and CAMY Fund project leader, Dunia Perdomo, during an activity at one of the Basic Education Centers.
During the activity, eighth graders of diverse ages showed us posters that they had made after participating in the sexuality education class provided by OYE Fellows using a curriculum based on the guides mentioned above. Michele and I were very impressed with the knowledge and excitement of the students who had developed the posters on the different topics they had covered in the class including the importance of self-love, how to create a life plan, dating violence, and the causes and consequences of teen pregnancy (pictured here).
After walking around the school yard listening to students present their posters, we had the opportunity to watch two OYE Fellows in action teaching a sexuality education class to another class of 8th graders. The Fellows are university students that receive scholarships from OYE to finish their degrees. They coordinate activities for OYE’s programs over the course of several years while receiving the scholarship, thereby developing strong facilitation skills. For this project they also received advanced training in sexual and reproductive health. They demonstrated a high level of professionalism and appropriate handling of sensitive topics.
We also had the opportunity to accompany the Fellows in facilitating two sessions, one on gender and the other on teen pregnancy using video shorts made by other young people in Honduras. The highlight for me was being able to talk with several young girls afterwards about their lives and plans for the future.
OYE also brought us to the second Basic Education Center where they are working where we met for nearly an hour with the principal. He was very frank in speaking about the challenges that young people at the school face, from malnutrition to gangs and extreme poverty. However, the commitment the principal showed to the students from the school and to the collaboration with OYE gave us a lot of hope that progress can be made.
We had a tour of the OYE offices after the visits to the schools and met some of the other Fellows that work on a volunteer basis in the organization when they are not taking classes at the university (pictured below). These young people represent a perfect example of the kind of youth leaders that the CAMY Fund seeks to support. They are a diverse and multi-disciplinary group that all come from low-income backgrounds. They are studying different career paths, whether tourism, psychology or communication. Through OYE’s programs they are gaining important skills which are preparing them to be leaders in the workforce once they graduate.
We were very impressed with the quality and professionalism of OYE’s work and the commitment of the Fellows, both to the young people at the schools as well as to the creation of OYE as a convening space for youth.
Congratulations Dunia Perdomo, for your leadership of this great Project!