Girl Leaders in Honduras Create Powerful Change

Rise Up Girl Leaders in front of the city hall in El Progreso, Honduras hold the final version of the municipal policy on comprehensive sexual education and one of their methodological guides, “Caring for My Health and My Life.” Photo: OYE

By Emérita Valdez, Rise Up Honduras Country Representative 

Rise Up Girl Leaders in Honduras are celebrating their remarkable achievements in advancing sexual and reproductive health care, access to education, and prevention of sexual harassment and violence in their communities. 

“We youth and adolescents have great capacity to strengthen the social fabric and create a sustainable present and future,” Iliany, a Girl Leader, said. “The impact of the ongoing pandemic is transforming us and there is still no clarity about what our lives will be like in a world after COVID-19. The only certain thing is that nothing will be the same anymore.”

Adolescent leader Kemberly advocating on the ordinance in the central plaza of La Ceiba, Honduras. Photo: Paz y Justicia

Twenty Honduran girls between the ages of 11-18 and ten adult allies from local partner organizations were part of Rise Up’s first Girls’ Voices Initiative cohort in Comayagua, Honduras, which included a week-long training on leadership and advocacy.

Despite the significant challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic in Honduras, seven projects led by Girl Leaders were implemented with the support of local organizations. With funding from Rise Up, the Girl Leaders achieved their clear objectives to reach decision-makers and to enact political changes that benefit them and fellow Honduran girls and adolescents.

The Girl Leaders relied on creativity, digital strategies, and technical support from Rise Up to make their voices heard loud and clear among decision-makers. 

The impact of Girl Leaders’ efforts is incredible: In 2021, the lives of more than 223,000 girls and adolescents in different municipalities were improved through safer communities, comprehensive sexual education, and greater access to education through financial support.  

  • Comprehensive sexual education is now a reality through a public policy in the municipality of El Progreso, Yoro and an education program in sexual reproductive health in Jutiapa Atlántida. 

  • In the municipality of La Ceiba, street sexual harassment will be prohibited, prevented, and punished through a new ordinance, and psychological, physical, and sexual violence in schools will be addressed through a new public policy of prevention. 

  • The lack of access to school education will improve with the approval of scholarship programs in the budgets of the municipalities of Olanchito and La Ceiba. 

These achievements not only have an impact in these municipalities, but they are also earning attention at the national level, making it clear that investment in girls and adolescents is sustainable development for Honduras. 

We celebrate these achievements and recognize the effort and commitment of the implementing organizations, who fight to defend the rights of girls and adolescents, including: Proyecto Paz y Justicia, UN MUNDO, SILOÉ, UDIMUF, OYE, and ALFALIT of Honduras. 

At the end of the implementation of these projects we learned that, in the midst of the chaos, magic arises: these girls and adolescents remind us that it is possible to create powerful change, no matter how challenging the circumstances. 

Adolescent leaders Karen and Loany and their tutor talked about the importance of education for girls in an interview with local media. Photo: ALFALIT

Read more about Girl Leaders in Honduras here