How Are Young People Making Their Network Stronger?

Samuel Nemir Olivares, Profamilia Puerto Rico Youth Director

A group of twenty-four youth members from several Latin American and Caribbean countries met in San Jose, Costa Rica on October 18th for the first day of IPPF/WHR's annual Regional Council. The event was divided into two tracks: one for executive directors of the Member Associations (MA) and another for the MA's youth staff and volunteers.

The goal of the youth session was to discuss various strategies for strengthening our region's Youth Network, a group that facilitates communication, continuity, and consensus among all of our youth members between Regional Council meetings.

One of the principal issues we discussed on the first day was how to achieve a uniformity of the process of working with youth across the region. We considered the ways MAs recruit and involve young people in their programs, advocacy projects, and Boards of Directors. We made recommendations for changing bylaws to make the expectations of youth participation more specific and clear. We also proposed that the Youth Network’s structure should include two delegates from each MA who will serve as the link between their MA and the Network.

“This is an historical meeting," said Youth Network Coordinator Patrice Daniel, who works with the MA in Barbados. She explained that Youth Network members could develop a more structured and solid network to promote the inclusion of young people within the leadership of our respective organizations.

We established three committees -- communication, advocacy, and youth participation -- to assure effective division of labor and implementation of duties. We also worked on drafting vision and mission statement for the Network. Our aspiration is for our organizations is that they will expand their support and resources for the Youth Network, so young people can develop and implement new strategies that focus on enhancing our peers' participation at organizational and local levels.

Today, we made ample progress on formalizing the Youth Network and mapping out a plan for moving forward.



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