[www.inewsguyana.com] – Several youth led, youth serving organisations and their leaders met on Saturday, March 14 at the President Youth Award Republic of Guyana (PYARG) building to launch the first Youth Coalition on Sexual Reproductive Health & Rights in Guyana.
The launch and meeting is a follow up to the UNFPA hosted Youth Forum on the International Conference on Population Development which was held on June 22, 2013 and a subsequent meeting to discuss the formation of the coalition.
The launch was attended by young people from the United Nations Population Fund – Youth Advisory Group, One World Youth Project, Come Alive Network Inc, Global Youth Movement – Guyana, Caribbean Youth Environment Network – Guyana branch, the Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association and Artiste In Direct Support.
Patrice La fleur – Assistant Representative for UNFPA in Guyana in brief remarks to the coalition gave her agency’s support to the coalition and reminded those present of their importance in national development especially in reducing adolescent pregnancy, gender based violence, and ensuring equal opportunities for girls and women.
She congratulated the group and pointed out that there is important work to be done to achieve the unfinished agenda of the ICPD which will observe its 20th anniversary at the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2014.
La Fleur also admonished the organisations that they should continue the work in their communities to empower young women especially with information on sexual and reproductive health and comprehensive sexuality education so as to prevent and reduce Adolescent Pregnancy.
She made the call that youth organizations should mainstream sexual and reproductive health into their programmes.
The coalitions’ aim is to provide young people with sexual and reproductive health information by first educating young people on their rights to basic health services and information targeting the constituents of young people reached by the organisations that are members of the coalition. A public education campaign will begin shortly under the theme “Youth Have Rights”, which will focus on basic human rights such as the rights to education, health, protection, access to sexual and reproductive health information and services and commodities.
In the coming months the coalition members will undergo several capacity building sessions so organisations can begin to mainstream sexual and reproductive health and rights into their work program.
Already some organisations are conducting outreaches, training and distribution of reproductive health commodities; the coalition will support these activities so that they become more broad-based and reach underserved and vulnerable communities.