Global Reach: Grantee Partners



Colombia was one of the first Latin American countries to adopt legislation to promote comprehensive sexuality education (CSE). In 1994, it adopted a General Education Law establishing that all schools, private and public, are required to offer age-appropriate CSE to all students. But the implementation of the law has been very inconsistent because, among other things, teachers lacked the knowledge and pedagogical resources they needed to offer CSE, while others resisted teaching CSE for ideological reasons. As a result, Colombia continues to have one of the highest teenage birth rates (ages 15 to 19) in Latin America.

The COVID pandemic has worsened this situation, causing a significant increase in teenage pregnancies and gender-based violence (GBV). As schools remained closed in Colombia throughout 2020 and part of 2021, especially in marginalized communities, young people could not access even the rudimentary comprehensive sexuality education offered in most schools. Additionally, provision of sexual and reproductive health services was deprioritized from the national budget, as most resources were devoted to fighting COVID. This resulted in a shortage of contraceptive supplies in public health clinics. For the most vulnerable young people, many of whom dropped out of school as a result of COVID, out-of-school programmes have proven to be an effective solution, filling existing knowledge gaps and adequately addressing their sexual and reproductive health needs.


Poderosas was founded in 2019 by a group of young female professionals who were seeking to promote comprehensive sexuality education among marginalized young people between the ages of 13 and 20. Their out-of-school CSE programme seeks to empower and equip adolescents and young people with information and skills to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health and rights, and well-being. 

Current Grant:

EMpower’s first grant to Poderosas will help the organisation equip 180 young people (58% female and 42% male) from some of the most marginalized communities of Cali with the knowledge and skills needed to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health and rights, and well-being. Poderosas will do so by implementing its out-of-school comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) training program and by training youth leaders who can replicate these trainings in their communities. The program will be implemented in collaboration with Alvaralice, another EMpower grantee partner based in Cali, which will play a key role in the recruitment of program participants.

You can support our work with Poderosas and our other grantee partners.

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