Last week, I attended the first Meeting of the MesoAmerican Coalition for Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in Mexico City. The Meeting was an initiative of IPPF-RHO and the Mexican Demysex “Democracy and Sexuality”, a Mexican organization working on issues of sexuality and civil participation. The meeting lasted two days and had the purpose of setting the main objectives, principles and plan of action of the Coalition, whose purpose is to bring about the implementation of the commitments taken in Mexico City in August 2008.
33 organizations from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama participated to the meeting and will be the initial members of the Coalition. The main objectives of the Coalition will be to strengthen the capacity of its members, sensitize society on the need for CSE, advocate to decision-makers locally and nationally and offer technical assistance to their respective ministries of Health and Education for the implementation of the commitments taken and expressed in the Declaration.
The Meeting involved a great diversity of participants, including NGOs working on education, youth organizations, SRRH organizations, and more, working at the local, regional, national, and international levels. Some organizations were volunteer-based, while some were more formally structured. Some focused on combating HIV/AIDS, others on promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights, youth leadership of women participation . And this great diversity of participants were all debating together on issues like the secularism of the state, strategies for political advocacy, and analysis of situation in the countries.
One of the more interesting debates was centered around the participation of young people. What- and to which extent- should be the participation of young people? Until what age is a young person officially young?
But regardless and perhaps because of the liveliness of the debates, I recognized the Meeting as a key, strategic moment to meet crucial feminist organizations and networks from Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. These organizations have been working on sexual and reproductive rights and health and some of them are leaders in their countries and in the region for youth programs, innovative media strategy or political advocacy. The organizations present really wanted to take advantage of the extraordinary opportunity presented by the Ministerial Declaration, and seize the moment to demand the implementation of actions that will allow their countries to achieve the goals set by the declaration.
I am excited and hopeful about the potential for the Coalition to help move towards full realization of the mandate of the Mexico City Ministerial Declaration.
Lucina Di Meco is the Assistant Program Officer for Latin America. You can read her bio here.