Thursday, August 20, 2015

YAM-GRPA, SASOD Launch Advocacy Blogging Competition at Youth Conference

In observance of International Youth Day, the Youth Advocacy Movement - Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association (YAM - GRPA) and the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) launched an innovative advocacy blogging competition at the one-day Youth Interaction on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) held on Wednesday, August 19, 2015 at the Cara Lodge in Georgetown.
Lucella Campbell, IPPF Senior Advisor delivering her remarks
The Youth Interaction was opened by International Planned Parenthood Federation Senior Advisor Lucella Campbell, United Nations Population Fund Assistant Representative Patrice La Fleur, United Nations Resident Coordinator Khadija Musa, Regional Councillor Ryan Belgrave, on behalf of the Minister of Social Protection, Hon. Volda Lawrence, and Technical Officer Theresa Gaime, on behalf of the Minister of Governance, Raphael Trotman.
In her remarks, Campbell underscored the importance of engaging the Minister of Education to incorporate comprehensive sexually education in schools, in cultivating strong family relationships that would facilitate the sharing of pertinent information from parent to child and the amendment of laws to align the age of consent and the age of access to sexual and reproductive health services for young people.
La Fleur commended both SASOD and GRPA for coordinating such a timely and important conference. She noted that we fail our young people by denying them access to accurate information and friendly health services, which in turn will support them in making informed and responsible decisions.  According to La Fleur by empowering youth with the necessary information, they are better able to live a life of happiness and pleasure.
Khadija Musa, UN Resident Coordinator addressing the gathering
In her remarks to the gathering, the United Nations (UN) Khadija Musa shared the UN Secretary General’s message for International Youth Day. She noted young people’s role as invaluable partners in the sustainable development process and the importance of youth engagement in transforming the world. Sharing remarks on behalf of Minister Lawrence, Ryan Belgrave indicated that Minister Lawrence has earmarked the involvement of youth in decision making as an important feature of her ministry’s work and welcomes future engagements in relation to the advancement of Guyanese youth in the areas of social protection and national development.
Representing Minister Trotman, Theresa Gaime noted that sexual and reproductive health and rights remain a conquerable challenge in an ever- changing world. She emphasized that the attainment of the SDGs cannot be achieved through insularity and territorial grandstanding, but a process of inclusivity must be embraced to improve the outcomes for sexual and reproductive health and rights. She therefore extended a formal invitation to the organisers of the event on behalf of the Minister of Governance for further engagements as they seek to collaborate on initiatives that will enhance the quality of life experienced by all Guyanese.
The aim of the blogging competition which was launched during the closing of the Youth Interaction is to influence critical thinking among young people; it proposes to challenge young thinkers to submit one blog post on the topic: “Youth Civic Engagement on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the Post-2015 Development Agenda”. The blog entries should aim to address the active role young people can play in advocating for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) issues in the context of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, particularly the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The competition is open to young people between 16 – 35 years old who are active members, affiliates or volunteers of a youth group or youth-oriented organisation. All blog entries must be between 750 – 1000 words. Submissions will be accepted both from seasoned and novice bloggers/writers. Only one entry per person is allowed. Blog entries should aim to inspire, and reflect the writer’s own perspectives on the topic. Bloggers must have access to a blog account or created one for the purpose of this competition. The writers of the three best blog posts will receive advocacy cash awards of $100,000, $75,000 and $50,000. The top three winning entries will be featured on the SASOD blog. The cash awards MUST be used to implement an SRHR advocacy initiative with the winners’ youth group or youth-oriented organisation. The YAM – GRPA and SASOD will work with the winners to execute their initiatives. Blog posts will be judged on the following categories: Originality, Inspiration, Critical Thinking, Accuracy and Relevance to Guyana.
To enter, bloggers must email the link of their blog entries along with their name and contact number to as well as post a link to the blog on the SASOD - Guyana Facebook fan page ( with the comment, "I just entered the Post 2015 #YouthSRHR2015 blogging competition. What do you think of my blog post?" [URL to your blog].
To increase their chances of winning, participants are encouraged to post their blogs on Twitter and Facebook with the hash tag #YouthSRHR2015, and encourage friends to like, favourite, comment, re-post and share their blog posts. YAM – GRPA and SASOD members, volunteers and affiliates are NOT eligible to win the advocacy cash grants.For more information on the blogging competition, please visit the SASOD blog at or contact SASOD’s Advocacy and Communications Officer, Schemel Patrick, by email at,gy.
Youth Participants at the SRHR Youth Interaction
Over 30 youth representatives from fifteen youth groups and organisations attended Wednesday’s conference which was aimed at encouraging youth participation in decision making. The Youth Interaction aimed to: educate and empower young people on SRHR & SDGs; sensitize young people that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights are human rights; examine existing processes and opportunities for youth engagement; influence national policies and political will; and encourage youth participation in decisions which affect their lives. 
The day’s activities included plenary sessions with presentations from SASOD and YAM-GRPA representatives and thematic roundtable discussions. The action plans from the roundtable discussions will feed into a youth statement on sexual and reproductive health and rights issues affecting Guyanese youth which will be presented to key decision-makers at the national level and international bodies.

No comments: