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Guatemalan youth group awarded for its exceptional community work in family planning
Guatemala’s Bee Harvesting Youth Group from Rancho Veijo was one of three organizations awarded a grand prize donation from URC’s community program contest in celebration of URC’s 50th anniversary of service in improving the quality of health care, social services, and education worldwide.
The winners are a group of 20 adolescents from the community of Rancho Viejo, in the Department of Huehuetenango. Huehuetenango is one of the five priority departments covered by the Community and Nutrition Health Project (known as Nutri-Salud in Spanish). It has one of the three highest teenage pregnancy rates—almost 6,000 teens become pregnant every year. Pregnancy in a teenage girl increases her chances of dropping out of school and reduces her economic growth opportunities, putting her at risk of a life of poverty. Early childbearing also increases health risks for both young mothers and their newborns. This youth group first came to URC's attention when they participated in a sexual reproductive health and family planning (RH/FP) awareness activity, offered by local NGO ACODIHUE, at their school.* After seeing the group’s interest in sharing what they had learned, ACODIHUE provided them with educational materials and a small fund to conduct RH/FP group sessions with other adolescents within their community. The group organized a series of events with other youths, providing them with RH/FP information and counseling that they most likely would not get from parents, friends, or health providers.
And the group did not stop there; with what little money they had, the group purchased two beehives and four beekeeping suits to start an innovative beekeeping business to cover the costs of additional sexual reproductive trainings. The young leaders were able to launch a small project to educate their peers, but needed additional funding and support in order to expand and sustain their RH/FP awareness initiatives.
With support from URC and the 50th anniversary community program prize, the youth group will purchase additional beehives and beekeeping equipment to expand the business and raise more funds. With the additional funds, the teenagers hope to continue to raise awareness among their peers of the importance of preventing teenage pregnancies and other key elements of RH/FP.
Congratulations to Grupo de Jóvenes Apicultores de Rancho Viejo for their amazing work and for their bright future!
* ACODIUE’s work was supported by a sub-grant and technical assistance from Nutri-Salud.
November 25, 2015