WINGS creates opportunities for Guatemalan families to improve their lives by providing them with family planning education and access to reproductive health services. Since 2004, WINGS has trained over 380 youth aged 13-19 as peer educators, who in turn have shared accurate information about sexual health with nearly 56,000 young people.
In 2011, WINGS began to use street theater as part of its youth outreach. Based on this success, it sought a collaboration with ArtCorps to expand and deepen creative methods throughout its Peer Education program. New arts-based tools developed by ArtCorps are enabling young leaders to explain technical concepts, such as the functioning of reproductive organs, and facilitate discussions on sensitive and often taboo topics like gender roles and domestic violence.
ArtCorps will provide Art for Social Action tools that increase knowledge about sexual and reproductive health and foster dialogue among peers and couples.
In a country where 34% of boys and 22% of girls are sexually active by age 15 and reproductive health education is scarce, the outlook seems grim for youth seeking to improve themselves and make healthy choices. How can the youth of Guatemala take control of their health and build better futures for themselves, their families and their communities?
- 250 teens are equipped with knowledge and skills to make healthy relationship and sexual health decisions.
- 250 peer educators gain leadership skills and creative tools to more effectively educate and facilitate dialogue with their peers on reproductive health.
- Through 31 public presentations and theater performances, youth raise awareness about teen health with over 2,200 students and teachers from four schools.
ArtCorps and WINGS are opening young minds by sharing critical knowledge and training youth to take a leadership role in educating their peers about sexual health and healthy relationships.
- Developing Peer Educators: Evelina worked closely with WINGS education staff to train 250 youth from 13 youth groups (selected to be reproductive health peer educators) to express themselves, think critically and share powerful narratives that inspire others.
- Sex Ed Plays: During the year, the peer educators wrote and produced 12 plays about sexual health, gender and domestic violence under Evelina’s guidance. These plays were performed in the Sacatepéquez schools, reaching over 2,200 youth and teachers.
- Teen Art Exhibits: Art created by the peer educators to encourage teens to make healthy decisions was displayed in the schools, health clinic and public park.
Evelina Jagminaite is a Lithuanian artist and Renaissance woman, who has studied economics, anthropology and environmental science as well as fine arts and dance. In her work with domestic violence survivors, university students and youth from low-income families, she has found art to be a powerful strategy for behavior change.
“Using creative activities like dance, storytelling and body-mapping helps [participants] to retain new information with greater ease and enjoy the learning process.” ~ArtCorps Artist Evelina Jagminaite
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