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NFPB takes sex education to the Internet

Thursday, April 24, 2014    

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THE National Family Planning Board (NFPB) says it is at an advanced stage of expanding and enhancing the service delivery of sexual reproductive health information and products among adolescents and the youth, using the Internet.

According to the NFPB, the online platform, dubbed 'Teen 360', seeks to educate and advocate for and interact with Jamaicans within the 10-19 age group on numerous topics, such as sex education, health promotion, life skills, development and reproductive health.

"... We are providing a virtual space for persons to access information anonymously and confidentially," said Sannia Sutherland, executive director of the NFPB.

"The site will facilitate age-appropriate sex and sexuality concerns and referrals. We are committed to honesty in our responses to questions, because honesty is a critical concern for young people," she said in an interview with JIS News.

She explained that the web platform would have integrated social media capabilities, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Whatsapp, as well as video content support services. "There will be various outlets to access the site and messages will be healthy, accurate and timely," Sutherland said.

The project was introduced to the NFPB after research by UNESCO uncovered that young people were heavily using online platforms.

According to Sutherland, a multi-sectoral effort to develop an integrated platform was proposed, which would provide a hub through which all youth organisations could share information, services and any other activity in a unified way.

Sutherland said that the themes will be localised and varied. "Matters to be discussed include relationships, sexual health, hygiene, personal development, self-expression, self-esteem, self-confidence, love, dating and peer pressure.

"It will be a hub where agencies will go to seek the input of youth. We want the young people to own the space. It will be a different mechanism to engage them, one that they can trust. They will have access to games, information and links to other sites. It will provide a forum for real discussion," she explained.

The project is being implemented with support from the UNESCO Kingston cluster office for the Caribbean.

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