Giovanna Carrillo is the leader of the comprehensive sexuality education advocacy project at INPPARES, IPPF/WHR's Member Association in Peru.
"Through the project, we’ve emphasized that children of poor, adolescent women are more likely to remain in similar or worse conditions of poverty. My previous experience with Afro-Peruvian organizations had shown me how a lack of appropriate sexuality education causes so many of the situations we were battling: discrimination, poverty, exclusion, teenage pregnancy, and a growing number of people living with HIV/AIDS.
The presence of organized civil society, particularly youth who are aware of this situation, is our daily motivation to change this situation through concrete actions—meetings with staff from the Ministry of Education, sensitization campaigns for political leaders, and workshops with journalists. Directly influencing public policy is the only way we can ensure that changes that improve people’s quality are life are institutionalized, rather than subject to individuals in power. Our work goes beyond any one person in office.
Personally, I confirmed that obstacles often become sources of motivation to meet personal and collective goals. The participation of youth activists and volunteers makes the work so much more gratifying, especially considering that I’ve been a volunteer at different organizations since I was a teenager. I know that the main thing you expect as a young person is an opportunity to contribute. I feel proud and grateful for this stage of my life, because we’re showing that it’s possible to achieve positive results by listening to each other and respecting each other, whether we are adults or youth. However, even working with a clear social goal, our actions aren’t just motivated by obtaining results. That would be mechanical, and we would lose the essence of who we are and what we want as individuals and as professionals—first we initiate a commitment to each other, and secondly to society."