Belize Youth Empowerment for Change (BYEC)

Ambassador: Kevin Mendez , Belize

Kevin Mendez founded the organisation Belize Youth Empowerment for Change (BYEC) to advocate for LGBT rights, women’s rights and youth empowerment. Through this organisation he formed an umbrella organisation called KCAT which is a coalition of other LGBT NGOs in Belize. Together they promoted equity for members of the LGBT community in Belize, as well as advocating on behalf of sex workers and people living with HIV. KCAT has worked tirelessly to remove the stigma around Belize’s LGBT community by holding open forums and debates.

They have held six sessions discussing and educating 100 government officials about LGBT rights and educating 25 members of BYEC about reproductive health, human rights and sexuality. In addition they support victims of sexual rights abuses with counselling and free legal advice. Because of their efforts, KCAT has convinced 19,000 men to come forward to be HIV tested. KCAT’s advocacy has contributed to Civil Rights breakthroughs; most recently, the Attorney General ruled that section 53 of Belize’s Constitution violated human rights.

In addition to Kevin’s extensive work with the LGBT community, he has been a vocal advocate for women’s rights and youth empowerment through BYEC and has helped 25 girls find employment at a textile plant as well as assisting three young adults with pursuit of Secondary and University education.