International Youth Day message from the Caribbean Family Planning Affiliation

The Caribbean Family Planning Affiliation (CFPA) salutes all Youth in the Caribbean and joins the rest of the world in celebrating International Youth Day #IYD 2019, under the theme: Transforming Education.

This year’s theme highlights the importance of making education work at its best for every adolescent and youth, identifying and reducing barriers that limit and hinder their access, engagement and learning.  It requires governments, institutions of education, faith, family and community to ensure that quality, inclusive and equitable – life affirming, nourishing and transformational education is a priority for young people – in schools, homes and every institution which have influence on their growth and development. It requires the inclusion of the views of young women and men, LGBTIQ and indigenous youth, youth with disabilities and young migrants in critical review and reshaping of education systems, methodologies and approaches. If we fail to do this, we will lose the richness and benefits of our diverse societies of cultures and minds, and the tremendous benefits of learning from one another and fostering social cohesion.

#IYD, which is celebrated each year on August 12th, and is an important opportunity to critically reflect on the participation of youth, in building more just, peaceful, inclusive and flourishing societies. It is a time to critically reflect on how adolescents and young people and youth-led and youth-focused organizations, as well as related stakeholders are engaged in addressing the gaps in education and to reach our common goals in Agenda 2030.

Across the Caribbean and in many countries around the world, young people face barriers of inequalities, deficiencies and oppression in access to quality education. High rates of adolescent pregnancy, poverty, depression, abuse, drugs and risky sexual behavior are barriers that often have devastating impact on adolescents and youth.  A process of transforming education needs to consider these realities and to invest adequate resources, implementation of policies and accountability systems to ensure that young people are given the opportunity to be equipped to live life in its fullest and healthiest, and to make informed decisions and wise choices.

Adolescents and youth need to have access to Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE), which is critical in enabling them to develop life skills, to take control of their lives, to flourish and to contribute meaningfully to the advancement of their communities.

Adolescents and youth are a key priority for the Caribbean Family Planning Affiliation and at the heart of our vision, mandate and commitment to ensure that no one is left behind.

The CFPA which is a Member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Western Hemisphere Region (IPPF/WHR) and comprises 19 Family Planning Associations across the English, French and Dutch territories, includes Youth Advocacy Movements #YAMs, consisting of under 25 adolescents and youth, who are leaders in advocacy and education and awareness on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights.  The #YAMs are safe, nurturing and energizing spaces for adolescents and youth to grow and develop as agents of positive change for a better Caribbean.

The Caribbean Family Planning Affiliation calls on governments and civil society and faith based organisations to commit to and invest in #TransformingEducation #SDG4 and to recognize the rights of all adolescents and youth to education in its fullest and broadest scope, and their right to play a role in decisions affecting them.

Happy International Youth Day!!

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