Caribbean youth to benefit from UNFPA sexuality education initiative

All Woman

KINGSTON, Jamaica - Youth in the Caribbean will be benefiting from comprehensive sexuality education(CSE) activities that were launched by the UNFPA in a virtual webinar today.

CSE programmes enable young people to protect their health, well-being and dignity and is a strategic vehicle for promoting gender equality and human rights.

The activitieswill be conducted under the Spotlight Regional Programme for the Caribbean which is part of the wider Spotlight Initiative (SI), a global,multi-year partnership between the European Union and the United Nations to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030.

The webinar provided an outline of the CSE activities to be implemented and participants were given an opportunity to provide input in accelerating the planned efforts.

The effects of COVID-19 in the education sector that might also put at risk the continuity of the CSE delivery through Health and Family Life Education (HFLE) were also discussed.

Director and Representative for the UNFPA Sub-RegionalOffice of the Caribbean, Alison Drayton, who welcomed participants to the launch, highlighted that the growth and development of Caribbean youth continued to be undermined by what she called “new manifestations of age-old threats”. She identifieda number of CSE challenges being faced by Caribbean youth and expressed that vulnerability to all forms of violence, particularly bullying, sexual violence, abuse and exploitation and adolescent pregnancy rates remained very high.

Highlighting the role of the CSE initiatives in addressing these issues, the director explained that strengthening regional capacities to advocate for and deliver quality CSE for in and out of school youth in the Caribbean was at the heart of the Regional Spotlight Programme.

“The comprehensive sexuality education interventions, through the Spotlight Initiative, are informed by robust evidence and aim to contribute to the collaborative efforts in preventing violence against women and girls in the Caribbean,” she said.

The CARICOM Secretariat is one of the organisations that has partnered with the UNFPA on this initiative and is playing a significant role in the implementation of the Spotlight Regional Programme for the Caribbean.

Director of Human Development at the CARICOM Secretariat, Helen Royer, said the implementation of a regional HFLE curriculum, the creation of resources and toolkits, training of teachers to communicate the curriculum, and improved coordination among all the agencies at the regional and national levels, are among the outcomes of CARICOM's efforts at strengthening HFLE.

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