Claudia Vanessa Siliezar

Claudia Vanessa Siliezar - 2017 Nominee
Position: Board Member
Organization: Unit for the Integral Development of Women and the Family (UDIMUF)
Current Location: Honduras, Central America
Master from Gender and Development
A youth advocate, lawyer, and professor, Vanessa advocates for Comprehensive Sex Ed, and access to FP methods like EC. A co-founder of UDIMUF, a youth-based NGO focused on gender based violence prevention, she defends women's' rights in Honduras. – Josie Ramos, Senior Programs Manager at Rise Up
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

I have dedicated my youth and career to promote sexual health and rights information and family planning (FP) with women and youth of Honduras. In 2005 I collaborated with a group of local leaders to found a youth-lead NGO, the Unit for Comprehensive Women’s Development (UDIMUF) to provide SRHR and gender-based violence (GBV) information and advocacy in my home state. We have engaged the 30 police, 45 judges, 22 journalists, 10 nurses, and 17 doctors to advocate for the inclusion of SRH and GBV to be incorporated into municipal-level youth and women’s offices. We also lead a 3 campaign advocating for increased access to emergency contraception (EC) and FP at government health centers. As a Board Member of UDIMUF, I’m proud of our work and the bridges we have helped to build across sectors

What sparked your passion for family planning?

In UDIMUF we have leadership training processes with schools and groups of young people from different civil society organizations. Our small “leadership academy” addresses key issues that impact these youth leaders, such as family planning, women's human rights, gender-based violence, among others. This work is linked to the community when we march with women and young people every March 8th and November 25. The community sees our work and we share information with youth through education.

Give one or two examples of how you display leadership in your family planning work.:

When as women we speak openly about FP and abortion in such fundamentalist and machista settings like Honduras, we expose ourselves in a society that is very influenced by the church. Changing the stereotypes of women exclusively as mothers and nurturers has been the biggest challenge and a good example of my work as a teacher a Human Right Defender and advocated.

If you are named a winner of 120 under 40, how will you use this new platform and the $1000 grant to advance your work? :

I would invest it in a youth-lead social media campaign, where UDIMUF, youth send a special message to authorities, parents, teachers and the entire community, demanding more information and access to family planning and an evidence based sex education, without taboos or fears. Youth would engage in this social mobilization to call for a secular State that ensures access not only to comprehensive sexual health education, but to low-cost and free contraceptive methods.

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