Virginity. The first time. Is it safe to put in just the tip? When is the best time to put on the condom? What is the value of marriage? Where are the accessible and confidential health services that can answer questions about sex and sexual health?

Youth leaders confronted their fears and apprehensions as they participated in discussions with Women Writing Women about sexual and reproductive health and rights during the Youth Sustainability Convergence held in Baguio City from August 15-19, 2019. 

Samira Gutoc join the WWW session on sexual and reproductive health and rights

Samira Gutoc join the WWW session on sexual and reproductive health and rights                                     Photos: Mau Victa

Women Writing Women participated in two breakout sessions. The first session, “Puso, Puson, Pananampalataya at Pulitika: Masayang Kuwentuhan, Talakayang Palaban,” was a lively exchange of thoughts about the social and religious constructs of sex, sexuality and reproductive health and the perplexing ambit of relationships and decision-making when one is young. 

Joining the session with WWW editors and managing partners Chi Laigo-Vallido and Diana Mendoza were writer, civic leader and former senatorial candidate Samira Gutoc and transwoman and Icon magazine editor Juman Kevin Tindo.

Chi Laigo-Vallido and Diana Mendoza with Samira Gutoc, Juman Kevin Tindo, Niq Maravillas and Bagui-based journalist Marilou Guieb

Chi Laigo-Vallido and Diana Mendoza with Samira Gutoc, Juman Kevin Tindo, Niq Maravillas and Bagui-based journalist Marilou Guieb

Likewise, in the session “Telling Stories: Introduction to Creative Nonfiction Writing for Advocacy,” Chi Laigo-Vallido and Diana Mendoza engaged the youth leaders in an impassioned discourse on putting ideas into written pieces that can enable people to feel the experiences and make decisions from the shared stories.

chi and mendoza

Chi Laigo-Vallido and Diana Mendoza during the WWW session on Telling
Stories

The participants picked a photo of their choice from a set of pictures taken from reproductive health advocacy activities and created their nonfiction narratives about the photograph. The stories were amazing. Some wrote and recited poems while others shared their life experiences similar to what they saw in the photograph. Some of the young people crafted stories from the images they were seeing.

More than 200 student and youth leaders participated in the Youth Sustainability Convergence organized by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Youth Philippines, the biggest youth-led NGO network in the country, which is part of the UN’s global youth initiative to empower young people to create sustainable development solutions in their communities in the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030. The young people discussed possible solutions to problems in poverty, reproductive health, peace and human rights.

Posted by Diana G. Mendoza

Diana G. Mendoza is an independent journalist and communications professional who loves to walk and daydream.