Enyel leaning against a wall, plus copy: skills for life

In a poor urban community in Nicaragua, an inspiring young man named Enyel leads a discussion with his peers about relationships and violence. He is just 13 years old, but Enyel (pronounced “Angel”) seems wise beyond his years. His friends, assembled in the dirt courtyard of his modest house, are goofy and giggly. But Enyel is serious and poised. He speaks with calm understanding about sex, peer pressure, and puberty. Enyel is set on shaping boys’ attitudes today and helping them become responsible young men.

Enyel is part of a project called Entre Amigos (“Between Friends”). Entre Amigos operates in Ciudad Sandino, an extremely poor community with the highest crime rate in Managua. PATH and our partners are reaching young people 10 to 14 years old through their peers, like Enyel, to change attitudes about violence, sexuality, and gender roles by promoting respectful relations. Each month, these young leaders walk through their dusty neighborhoods and round up other girls and boys who are part of the project. They gather in somebody’s yard and talk about important topics they won’t study in school. Why do boys participate in this group? Is there a difference between having a relationship and having sex? What are the changes that are happening to my body?

Enyel joined Entre Amigos one year ago and says it changed the way he thinks. He understands his body better, he is more aware of violence and abuse in his community, and he makes an effort to help his mother around the house. He sees change among his peers, too. “I feel good and also very proud that I can help,” he says.

Enyel has big goals for his community and for himself. “I want to be a lawyer,” he explains, “because I’d like to defend the rights of children.” Already, his work is a beacon for the hopes and futures of the young people in his neighborhood.

Partners

Center for Social Studies and Promotion

Ciudad Sandino Hospital

Instituto Promundo

Masculinity Network for Gender Equity

Men’s Association Against Violence

Ministry of Health, Nicaragua

Municipal Commission for Childhood and Adolescence, Ciudad Sandino

Municipal delegation, Ministry of Education, Ciudad Sandino

Puntos de Encuentro

Save the Children Norway

Photo: Miguel Alvarez.

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“I want to be a lawyer,” Enyel explains, “because I’d like to defend the rights of children.”

This project received innovation funding at a critical point in its development.