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Now, more than ever, young women and girls are needed to solve the world’s most pressing problems. Throughout history, we have seen the power that youth activists can have in advocating for social justice and guiding political and civic engagement in their communities. Young people are on the front lines of social change that ultimately leads to sweeping social movements.

According to the World Economic Forum, in 2020, the Latin America and Caribbean region still had an average gender gap of 27.9%. If we want to close that gap, we need more women leaders across industries and sectors. 

With the support of P&G, Vital Voices’ Voices that Inspire Fellowship, supports young women who are making a positive impact in Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico and Panama. Through the Fellowship, we work to increase the opportunities, leadership capacity, network and resources for young women; sparking a global movement to empower young women, create sustainable change, and transform the meaning of leadership.

Through the program, participants will receive leadership training to provide support in financial and strategic planning, communications, and networking as well as work directly with staff and mentors to expand sustainable, locally-driven projects that positively affect their communities. All participants will be matched with a local woman leader in the Vital Voices Network who will act as a professional mentor and guide throughout the grant project. In partnership with P&G, we are honored to provide these opportunities and tools to ensure that young women are leading sustainable social change in Latin America and the Caribbean and beyond.

2022 program fellows are participating a virtual program.

Community-Based Project Video Contest Winner

The 2022 Voices That Inspire cohort created videos showcasing their community-based projects. This year’s video contest winner is Valery Quintero. Valery is the founder of “Actívate,” which works to promote mental health by conducting workshops that foster emotional intelligence and soft skills in children and young people.

Meet the 2022 Voices That Inspire Fellows

Catalina Canosa

2022 Fellow, Voices That Inspire

Catalina Canosa is a recently graduated from the University of Salvador with a Bachelor’s in social work. Currently, Catalina is completing a Diploma in Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability from San Martin University. Catalina got involved in volunteering at 14 years old and continues to participate in various social activities. She is currently working on a community development project in conjunction with the Fundación Gestionar Esperanzas. The operation promotes projects that reuse materials for their subsequent commercialization. This way, the labor of communities in vulnerable situations is added into the economy. The fundamental pillars of the community development project are the circular economy, social development, and environmental awareness. 

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Argentina

Nelly Julieta Cetera

2022 Fellow, Voices That Inspire

Nelly Cetera is currently studying International Relations at Torcuato DiTella University in Argentina. She is passionate about youth empowerment, skills development, and social inclusion. Nelly is president of the Alumni Network of Junior Achievement in Argentina and a member of the Global Shapers Buenos Aires community. In 2021, Nelly participated in an exchange program with The George Washington University, where she studied in D.C.

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Argentina

Pilar Martínez

2022 Fellow, Voices That Inspire

Pilar Martínez is a native of Las Varillas, Argentina and currently lives in Córdoba Capital, Argentina. Pilar is an Anthropology student at the National University of Córdoba. In addition to her academic studies, Pilar currently volunteers at the Ansenuza Leaders Foundation, where she works to improve education in the country through immersive and disruptive programs covering various topics. Pilar is passionate about education, inclusion, and awareness around mental health; For this reason, her community project, Bloom, focuses on generating visibility about eating disorders.   

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Argentina

Luana Beatriz de Souza Correa

2022 Fellow, Voices That Inspire

Luana de Souza Correa is a young Brazilian leader and Architecture and Urbanism student at the State University of Maranhão in Brazil. Luana is a socio-environmental activist, part of the Fridays for Future movement, national articulator for the Engajamundo Network, and part of various environmental projects in her city. She is also passionate about education and transforming people’s reality. Luana’s community project takes environmental and climate justice agendas to young people from the periphery of Brazil.

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Brazil

Mariana Nunes Santos

2022 Fellow, Voices That Inspire

Mariana Nunes Santos has been an Activist for Mental Health and Human Rights since she was 14 years old. Mariana is the founder and executive director of Rede Autoestimase (founded in 2020), a mental health and socio-emotional education NGO that offers psychotherapy services throughout Brazil (www.redeautoestimase.com). Currently, Rede Autoestimase reaches 16 Brazilian states. In addition to her social impact project, Mariana works as a columnist at Agência Jovem de Notícias, where she writes articles about mental health & Human Rights and leads a psychological care project for young Brazilian activists ages 13 to 29.  

 

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Brazil

Marianne Toledo Santos Silva

2022 Fellow, Voices That Inspire

Marianne Toledo Santos Silva is a law student at the Federal University of Pernambuco in Brazil. She is passionate about law and the possibility of emancipating people through the legal system. Marianne is the co-founder and coordinator of the Projeto Civilis, which focuses on the democratization of law and promotion of access to justice. She has expertise in Civil Procedural Law and is currently linked to the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Brazil. 

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Brazil

Nakisha Shanae Dixon Lawrence

2022 Fellow, Voices That Inspire

Nakisha works as a software developer and is currently pursuing a degree in Computer Engineering at the Tecnologico de Costa Rica. Being a young Afro-descendant in technology, one of her biggest goals is to reduce not only the gender gap but also the racial gap. To this end, her social impact project, AWIS, focuses on empowering Afro-descendant and indigenous women to learn and get certified in different technologies. The goal is to strengthen participantsprofiles for various growth opportunities and to form a network of leaders. Dixon’s achievements include being the co-founder of Microsoft’s Black Women In Tech program in Costa Rica and leader of the communication pillar in Intel’s Network of Afro-descendants among other things.  

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Costa Rica

Jennifer Velásquez

2022 Fellow,

Jennifer is pursuing a Bachelors in Communication Sciences at the University of San Carlos de Guatemala. Jennifer is the founder of CatCalls Guatemala, a collective that makes visible and fights against street harassment through artivism in the streets. CatCalls Guatemala also conducts workshops with adolescents to address the issue of street harassment through support, empathy, and tenderness. Jennifer is also a content creator for Girl Up Latin America and the Caribbean, a youth-led organization dedicated to supporting, training, inspiring, and connecting girls from around the world so that they can become leaders and gender equality activists. 

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Guatemala

Katherine Batzin

2022 Fellow, Voices That Inspire

Katherine has a degree in International Relations with a specialty in International Security from the University of San Carlos in Guatemala. From an early age, Katherine has been passionate about helping her community. She has served as a volunteer and mentor in various non-profit organizations in Guatemala. These experiences motivated and inspired her to start the Brave Guatemala (Voces que Florecen) project in 2022. The project aims to provide comprehensive and sustainable support to girls and adolescents between the ages of 14 and 18 who are in public and private orphanages in Guatemala. The goal of the project is to provide specialized mental and emotional health programs to increase program participants’ hope and abilities. There is also a technical component to the project. Through technological education, based on functional tools for the technical needs of the labor market and professional development, participants are able to fully integrate into society.

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Guatemala

Sofía Anabell Posadas Muralles

2022 Fellow, Voices That Inspire

Sofía is in her final year of high school at the Getsemaní Educational Center in Guatemala. Sofía is passionate about media, philanthropy, education, female leadership, animals, and protecting the environment. This passion for the environment led her to create Re-Plastiguate, an environmental project that raises awareness in the community about the consequences of excessive plastic consumption and its role in Climate Change. Additionally, Re-Plastiguate promotes recycling and responsible consumption through education in social networks and the installation of plastic deposit sites in the community and educational centers. Sofía participated in Vital Voices‘ ELLA IMPACTA program in 2021 and was one of the winners of the seed capital to develop her social impact project.   

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Guatemala

Ana Cristina Zamora Moronatti

2022 Fellow, Voices That Inspire

Ana Cristina is a Public Accountant with a degree from the Autonomous University of the State of Morelos in Mexico. Currently, Ana Cristina works as a Financial Auditor and is also pursuing a law degree. Ana Cristina is a feminist and defender of women’s labor and economic rights. Her fight to achieve gender equality and close the wage gap has led her to create Isabel, a virtual program that helps women in situations of economic violence, workers, and those who need it most. The goal is to provide the necessary tools and knowledge to help women facing economic violence achieve financial independence or strengthen their work and professional capacity. Isabel also works to make visible and eradicate the economic and labor violence women in Mexico experience.

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Mexico

Elizabeth Alejandra Meza Ramirez

2022 Fellow, Voices That Inspire

Elizabeth (Ale) is a student at the Faculty of Accounting and Administration of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Currently, Ale works as a project manager at Disruptive.tv and Social México. Ale is the founder of Aprendiendo a Emprender, which works to enhance the development, autonomy and independence of persons participating in the program, providing basic tools to become entrepreneurs. 

Ale is also passionate about disability rights. She works to build a society where Persons with Disabilities (PwD) do not encounter barriers to their development. In 2021, Ale was chosen as a “responsible figure in CDMX” by the Kybernus National Program. She was also part of the coordinating committee in the National Movement of People with Disabilities and is currently assisting in coordination efforts for the Mexico-International Disability Alliance (ADIMEX). Additionally, Ale has been studying Human Rights for the clast couple years and training to be a Language interpreter for Señas Mexicana (Mexican sign language) to be able to provide the first inclusive bilingual-bicultural space to promote job opportunities for PwD

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Mexico

Vianca Ahtziri Moreno Alonso

2022 Fellow, Voices That Inspire

Vianca is a young indigenous woman, born in a small Mayan community in the State of Quintana Roo, Mexico. She has a Bachelors in Social Work. Vianca is very passionate about indigenous culture and identity.  To this end, she has already started working within her community to preserve and uplift the indigenous culture. Through her Voices That Inspire 2022 grant, Vianca hopes to develop documentaries highlighting the richness of her community’s culture to share with youth in her community. 

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Mexico

María Teresa Torrez

2022 Fellow, Voices That Inspire

Maria Teresa is pursuing a degree in International Relations at the University of Panama. Maria Teresa’s work is wide reaching for example she has worked on projects centered on human rights, led workshops whose target audience was underage girls deprived of liberty, cared for homeless people, led workshops for women in vulnerable conditions, and led talks concerning animal protection. 

Maria Teresa is currently the coordinator of the Nan Gana Project. The Nan Gana Project works to educate mothers or caregivers in vulnerable conditions in study methodologies, soft skills and technology, so that they can be mentors in their children’s learning and at the same time acquire knowledge and skills that serve them in their own lives. Additionally, Maria Teresa is the founder of Sentir Panama, a project that works to provide children and adolescents in shelters in Panama essential soft and educational skills for their development. 

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Panama

Karla Torrero

2022 Fellow, Voices That Inspire

Karla has a degree in Human Resources Administration and is currently pursuing a degree in Finance. She is also a member on the Board of Directors of the local development board in her community. Karla is passionate about participating in activities aimed at human development and loves helping others. From a very young age, her mission has been to offer a friendly and motivating hand to those who need it most. Karla is a faithful believer that everyone possess talent. For this reason, she founded Proyecto Creando Oportunidades, which works to create greater opportunities for people with an emphasis on empowerment and entrepreneurship. The projects target audience is people from areas of low access and in situations of vulnerability.

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Panama

Valery Quintero

2022 Fellow, Voices That Inspire

Valery Quintero has a degree in Administrative Management and is currently pursuing a degree in Journalism at the University of Panama. Her passion for her country and desire to build a better society led her to develop and implement Actívate, which focuses on the promotion of youth’s emotional intelligence, specifically among those from vulnerable communities. Valery states that her motivation can best be exemplified in her favorite phrase, “with small actions, great changes are achieved, and the main change begins with you.” 

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Panama

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