Results of capacity development
- Capacity development for lobby and advocacy: in 2017, 15 people (youth leaders and representatives from organizations supporting young people) were trained on lobby and advocacy through Change the Game Academy. In 2019, an additional 15 people were trained.
- Political capacity development: 90 young people, representatives of allied organizations (SODEJU, CAJA LÚDICA, ACJ, MTC, CGTG, FNJ), completed a training process, supported by the Central American Institute of Political Studies INCEP and the Santiago Development Project - PRODESSA. The topics addressed were: planning and programming, proposals preparation, lobby & advocacy and leadership techniques and how to speak in public. The main emphasis was the establishment of alliances with social and political actors at the municipal, departmental and national levels. As a result, upon completion of the training process, all participants had to present a strategic plan per organization; they mapped human rights defense institutions (local, municipal and departmental) and made an inventory of decision makers.
- Joint strategizing for lobby and advocacy: to define a joint strategy for lobby towards adoption of the Youth Development Law and a National Youth Agenda, a forum for analysis was held in the People’s Hall of the Congress of the Republic with the participation of 50 young people from Civic Engagement Alliance partners and allies. The President of the Congress Youth Commission and the Youth Ombudsman also attended.
- Organizational strengthening of the National Youth Front: the National Youth Front brought together the voices of young people in a unified way from different regions and levels to influence policies at different administrative levels. The network also actively includes voices from indigenous youth groups, such as youth leaders from the Poqomchi group in Alta Verapaz and indigenous youth leaders from San Marcos.
- Supporting young workers on labor issues: trade Union CGTG participated in the lobby and advocacy training of Wilde Ganzen, and in meetings of the National Youth Front. It advised and supported young workers of San Marcos on labor issues at plantations and strengthened the capacity of CGTG’s youth commission.
- Keeping the indigenous identity alive: the program has also contributed to keep the indigenous identity alive among the youth in Alta Verapaz and San Marcos from the Poqomchi and Mam ethnic groups. Mayan spirituality, as an experience of life and understanding of the human being as part of nature, has come to enrich the Christian spirituality which plays an important role in the social transformations of young people. In training and meetings, elderly were invited to share their values and to support the youth in their development.
Example: ‘I learned that it is possible to make yourself heard by decision makers’
As Jaime, one of the youth leaders from Civic Engagement Alliance partner MTC in San Marcos stated: ‘Being part of the Civic Engagement Alliance and of the National Youth Front opened my eyes. Living in the rural and remote area of San Marcos, I believed I had no influence whatsoever on decision making at national level. Through the Civic Engagement Alliance I started learning from the experiences on lobby of SODEJU and I received training from Wilde Ganzen on lobby and advocacy. I have learned that it ís possible to make yourself heard by decision makers, even if you come from the remote rural and indigenous area of San Marcos. For me, it is an incredible change to have meetings now, as youth leaders both from rural and urban areas from the Civic Engagement Alliance, with a member of Parliament who is in charge of youth affairs. He listens and tries to support and advise us. Although we have not managed to get the National Youth Law approved by Parliament so far, our political skills grow as well as the awareness among the youth in our organizations about their rights and the duty of the Government to create supportive policies for youth – the future of the country. We try to be constructive in our dialogue and in the national campaign ‘Being Young is a Right in Guatemala’. We are living in very difficult times in Guatemala, where citizens and civil society organizations have less and less freedom of speech and were speaking out has become dangerous. But we continue, one day we will be the local and national leaders of our country and we will bring our values and our vision forward; we are preparing for that.’
Results towards more youth inclusive policies and better opportunities for youth
- Lobby for the approval of National Youth Law: the National Youth Front regularly approached legislators, including heads of the political party groupings represented in Congress and the Congress Youth Commission, in order to lobby for the approval of the National Youth Law (# 3896). The result was overall commitment of the congressmen to approve the law, and was accepted in first and second reading. In third and final reading, however, the law did not get final approval but was replaced by initiative # 5208, which incorporated sexual and reproductive rights. These issues had been controversial, slowing down the approval process in Congress, due to pressures from conservative stakeholders. Unfortunately, there is no certainty that the law will be approved soon.
- Membership Congress Youth Commission: as a result of the lobby for the National Youth Law, the National Youth Front and SODEJU became permanent members of the Youth Commission of the Congress.
- Promoting youth’ rights: the multimedia campaign ‘Being Young is a Right in Guatemala’ was carried out, aiming to promote the rights to employment, education and migration of youth. We reached 800,000 people through the websites of Civic Engagement Alliance partners and 5 platforms of Youth Networks. In a coordinated manner, the organizations raised awareness in society about the serious problems that affect young people, including messages focusing on the rights of young women. The campaign was developed with a rights and cultural relevant approach, therefore, it could be adapted to a variety of cultural contexts within the country. In the messages, equality and gender were considered cross-cutting issues. Most of the messages were recorded by young female radio announcers. The desired change is the increase in the number of participation of young women in decision making. The campaign was done through various communication channels at local, municipal, national and international levels.
- Municipality youth support: as a result of the different capacity development interventions, local groups influenced decision makers at local levels. For example, representatives of the Youth Network of Tamahú (members of the CJP), carried out advocacy activities targeting the municipality. As a result they obtained resources to develop activities commemorating the month of youth.
- Youth support in San Marcos Department: in San Marcos, the youth councils of the partner organization MTC established dialogue processes with the authorities of their respective municipalities. This process was carried out in the municipalities of Sipacapa, Concepción Tutuapa and Sibinal of the Altiplano Region and San José El Rodeo and San Pablo of the Costa region. As a result of these negotiations with the municipal authorities, in at least one of the municipalities the implementation of the Municipal Office for Women and Youth was approved, with the aim of establishing municipal policies to benefit women and youth. Additionally, in the Municipalities of San José El Rodeo and San Pablo, the youth leaders of the MTC were allowed to join the municipal youth commission. The youth from MTC also gained space at departmental level: they have been selected as delegates from their municipalities to participate in meetings of the Departmental Council for Urban and Rural Development (CODEDE).
- Lobby for decent work in San Marcos: youth leaders in San Marcos, representing indigenous youth that often work at plantations, have been lobbying for decent work for youth. Research has been carried out on labor conditions in the plantations. MTC uses its digital radio station ‘La Voz de la Buena Nueva’ (voice of the good news) to promote advocacy messages and information on inclusion of youth in decision making and on decent work for youth and women.