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UNFPA and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment have commiedt to working closely to provide the necessary sexual and reproductive health training and information for young people. Speaking at a meeting at the Ministry’s Sky Mall, Haggatt Hall office, in St. Michael, on March 8, 2022,  Minister Charles Griffith told UNPFA’s Caribbean Director, Alison Drayton, and her team, that his Ministry could help to implement aspects of their programme.

Mr. Griffith also noted that the Ministry was interested in having persons trained by UNFPA, which would be of benefit to the Ministry’s youth programmes that are being delivered at the community level. 

“I know the Health and Family Life Education Programme is primarily taught in the school setting, but we can also take it to the community as well.  So, for those who may not be involved at the school level, then at the community level when we do our programmes, we can infuse a whole lot of what you’re doing into our programme,” he stated.

The Minister added that the older teens and young adults who participate in the programmes carried out within the Ministry could benefit from the information provided by UNFPA, and noted that although teenage pregnancy was not out of control, the information provided “could stymie teenage pregnancy from rising”.

Ms. Drayton disclosed that there were plans to implement a Comprehensive Sexuality Education module within the Health and Family Life Education Programme going forward, noting that teenage pregnancy was very prevalent in the Caribbean. 

“As you’re very well aware, the Caribbean overall, fortunately, not Barbados per se, has some of the highest rates of adolescent pregnancy in the world. As a region, we’re second only to Sub Saharan Africa,” she said.

The Director also touched on the issue of high unemployment among the youth, violence against women and girls, and the need for proper nutrition.

UNFPA seeks to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, and to end preventable maternal death, gender-based violence and other harmful practices by 2030, as well as to help every young person fulfill their potential. 

The agency has assisted Barbados with the improvement of its National Strategic Adolescent Health and Development Plan, and Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Programmes.