Presencia Joven: collective work, artivism and the challenge of breaking sexuality education taboos

In Encarnación, Paraguay, an organisation of young people and adolescents uses social networks as a tool to promote information on sexual and (non) reproductive rights. Learn more about Presencia Joven.

In Encarnación (Paraguay) the lack of comprehensive sexuality education has resulted in high rates of unintended pregnancies among young people. In this context, in 2009, Presencia Joven was started as a project by the feminist organisation called Kuña Roga. Currently, the organisation is supported by Fondo de Mujeres del Sur, and is made up of adolescents and youth who work for the enforceability and visibility of sexual and (non) reproductive rights, using a human rights, gender and diversity approach.

According to the latest report from the United Nations Population Fund (2022), one third of the female population in the Global South gives birth during adolescence [1]. As part of the data collected by Amnesty International on the situation in Paraguay, it is noted that at least 1,000 girls under the age of 14 gave birth between 2019 and 2020, and 12,000 adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19 gave birth in 2019. [2]. Likewise, according to the Paraguayan newspaper Hoy, in 2022 every two hours a girl between the ages of 10 and 14 gave birth in Paraguay[3]

Presencia Joven team during the activity. Source: IG Presencia Joven.

Faced with this alarming situation, Presencia Joven has focused its efforts on providing information to young people and adolescents, focusing on sexual health and the prevention of gender violence.

Currently, and fourteen years since its creation, Presencia Joven has become an autonomous group of adolescents and young people who implement projects in favour of sexual and (non) reproductive rights.

The trajectory of this organisation highlights how motivated young people that are aware of their rights can generate a change in society through action and advocacy using audiovisual media and familiar, empathetic and creative language across mass dissemination channels such as Instagram and Tik-Tok. In this way, they seek to contribute to the construction of healthy and constructive interpersonal relationships within their target population.

Clip from Cambio de Clave, short film produced by the organisation. Source: IG Presencia Joven.

An example of this is their most recent production entitled Cambio de Clave, a short film that reflects on digital gender violence through the story of an adolescent couple. What is interesting about this short film is how it shows the different signs, which are sometimes subtle, of violence and possessiveness that can be experienced through digital media in a relationship, and how, often due to a lack of information or support, they are normalised and escalate to other increasingly more serious forms of violence.

The short film is part of the action and advocacy strategy on sexual and (non) reproductive rights that is being implemented as part of the project supported by the Fondo de Mujeres del Sur (FMS) programme called Leading from the SouthCambio de Clave highlights the importance of being informed about self-care, affective responsibility and sexual rights, as well as, and mainly, the importance of having support networks in situations of violence or violation of rights.

Another example of this is the production of the mini-series Rafaella, a project undertaken in the first half of 2022 where the challenges faced by a trans adolescent in a society that denies their rights are addressed first-hand. The character called Rafaella gives visibility to the journey that many trans adolescents face at school where, despite sometimes having the emotional support of their close circle, they face situations in which their dignity as individuals is threatened.

When the State fails to protect youth, it is the same population that defends their own rights through key actions. This is the case of the youth from Presencia Joven in Paraguay, where comprehensive sexuality education has been held back by the State.

They have established support networks that have made it possible to generate collective actions to provide support and promote the exercise of the sexual and (non) reproductive rights of Paraguayan adolescents and youth.

FMS wants to highlight the importance of young activists being able to organise themselves and undertake advocacy through projects that adapt to their languages and ways of communicating, incorporating creativity as a way to advocate for and influence spaces where they work in order to motivate their peers to understand their sexuality, educate themselves and relate to others in a healthy way, without discrimination or prejudice.


[1] United Nations News (5 de Julio del 2022).‘World is failing adolescent girls’ warns UNFPA chief, as report shows third of women in developing countries give birth in teen years. United Nations News:

[2] Amnesty International (December 1, 2021). Paraguay: Girls face sexual violence, pregnancies and impunity in a labyrinth with no way out Amnesty International. Retrieved in Spanish from:

[3] Diario Hoy (October 22, 2022). Cada dos horas una niña de 10 a 14 años da a luz en Paraguay. (Every two hours a girl between the ages of 10 and 14 gives birth in Paraguay.Diario Hoy. Retrieved in Spanish from: