Name: Isabel Pérez Witzke
Country: Venezuela / Argentina
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I’m a young feminist woman passionate about gender studies and sexual and reproductive health and rights. When I’m not doing anything of the dense and amazing activities related to the subjects above, I watch The Lord of the Rings trilogy while eating chocolate and wearing comfy socks!
What fuels your passion for youth SRHR advocacy?
The possibility of self-liberation and the opportunity to deconstruct oppressive learnings.
What work have you been doing, locally, nationally, regionally and internationally around youth sexual and reproductive health and rights?
I was the former Program Specialist of the Youth and Adolescents Program of a Member Association of the International Planned Parenthood Federation in Venezuela: Asociacion Civil de Planificacion Familiar (PLAFAM). Currently, I’m working as a safe abortion counselor and I’m part of the Abortion Working Group & International Advocacy Task Force of YCSRR.
What are the main issues in your community concerning youth sexual and reproductive health and rights?
There are important issues related to the SRHR of young people in my country, Venezuela. The most important ones are the lack of resources designated to SRH programs and the lack of monitoring and evaluation to public policies that are designed to guarantee the sexual and reproductive rights of young people. Other issues that can be commonly found and that structure the daily life of young people and adolescents are: 1) Restricted access to contraceptives and reproductive health services. One clear example of this is that in Venezuela, every adolescent (14-19) has the right to go to a sexual and reproductive health service without the permission of their parents and yet, health providers refuse to provide the service or the contraceptives. 2) Untrained educators facilitating sexual education based on myths and gender stereotypes. In Venezuela there is an educational curriculum based on CSE and, because there is no political will to monitor this curriculum implementation, educators are not familiar with it nor they are properly trained to provide sexual education aiming to empower young people to enjoy their sexual lives.