Youth Campaign - a facilitators perspective.
´Live your life before creating another´ is the slogan that the young people from AMI San Lucas have been repeating on social media, with their friends and in their classrooms over the last week.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in Guatemala, AMI San Lucas has continued to work with youth to develop their leadership capacities resulting in the group running a youth led campaign. Young people are hungry for opportunities to led, serve and make a positive difference in their communities, which has made it a joy to facilitate this process with them in these challenging times. Through virtual activities, online meetings and visits the young people analysed problems that exist in their context and made the collective decision to run a campaign on the issue of teenage pregnancy.
In 2020 99,656 teenage pregnancies (source: OSAR Guatemala, where mothers are between the ages of 10-19 years old) were registered in Guatemala, however the reality is that the number is probably much higher. The young people wanted to do something about this and decided to run a campaign which aims to raise awareness among young people of the causes and consequences of teenage pregnancies. After receiving training on the topic as well as learning the basics of running a small campaign, they began to design and develop their initiative with the support of facilitators from AMI San Lucas.
Selecting the slogan ´Live your life before creating another´ they designed their own logo to reflect this message which has appeared on t-shirts, stickers, banners and social media. Biblical reflexions were an integral part of the process of their formation both as a group and in their leadership capacities, therefore this was also an important element of their campaign. Using the verse of 1 Corinthians 10:23 they are encouraging young people to think before they act or make decisions and to look for Gods way in their lives. As Paty, one young women in the group, put it,
“Although we can do many things this verse [1 Corinthians 10:23] tells us that not everything that we can do is good for us. We need to think more than once before we make a decision.”
Using a short film, which they both wrote and acted in, they have created a 30 minute interactive classroom based activity to open up discusion on this important topic. During this activity they share the biblical reflexion from 1 Corinthians 10:23 and are promoting a message of abstinence as the only 100% effective means of preventing teenage pregnancies, encouraging young people to wait until marriage to have sexual relations.
For months they have been working hard behind the scenes writing and recording videos, radio programs, television interviews and creating social media posts. They have also been speaking to Community Leaders about their campaign and asking for spaces in their classrooms to talk about this issue. Doing all this while taking into account the restrictions of the pandemic hasn't held them back but has enabled them to be more creative and seek innovative ways to share this message!
These Young people are learning that God wants what is best for them but they have choices to make, and they are trying to encourage themselves and others to make the right choices. One of the most exciting parts of this whole process is witnessing their development in leadership capacities and seeing young people sharing this message with other young people! Looking back on a year of working remotely with the group, which included getting to know some new members solely through the virtual activities, its great to recognise what they have achieved not only in their own personal development and leadership capacities but also in how they are reaching out to other young people using the tools available to them. In the midst of a global pandemic, their passion, desire and energy for this work has been inspiring – we are so encouraged by it and encouraged by them!
You can interact with the campaign through our Facebook page where you will find videos, interviews and more.
Written by Rose Wade, one of the community facilitators in AMI San Lucas.