One Saturday a couple of years ago, 16-year-old Edgar Anibal Miranda sat in his bedroom in Guatemala City, listening to the radio. He was surprised to hear a group of young people talking openly about sexual health issues.
“It was strange,” he now says. “I’d never heard anyone talk about these topics – not my parents, not even my school.”
The radio program was part of Club en Conexión, the youth program of PSI’s Central American affiliate, PASMO. In a region where young people aged 10-24 make up a third of the population,1 access to information about reproductive health, HIV and sexually transmitted infections is critical but often lacking.
Teen pregnancy rates are alarming in many parts of the region, and only about half of all sexually active young people report using condoms. Club en Conexión works to meet young people’s sexual and reproductive health needs by training motivated youth to become leaders and educators in their communities. Operating in Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras, young club leaders teach their friends and peers through interactive activities, including games and kiosks at public events, education sessions at schools and universities, an online web community and popular radio programs. Since its inception in 2005, Club en Conexión’s peer educators have conducted more than 90,000 activities throughout the region.