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Third Regional Meeting Of Youth Leaders: Sexual And Reproductive Health and HIV and AIDS

30 Jul - 2 Aug, 2019
8:45 am - 5:00 pm

Port of Spain, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

Anita Davis-Craig


Event Summary

Beyond the project: Visibility, Sustainability and Accountability; Building Alliances, Strengthening Skills and Developing Strategies to maximize the effectiveness of youth and young leaders’ contributions towards Inclusive Caribbean societies, Ending AIDS and Access to Rights-based Sexual and Reproductive Health Services

The PANCAP Coordinating Unit, under its current Global Fund grant – Removing Barriers to Accessing HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health Services for Key Populations in the Caribbean, will convene the Third Youth Leaders Meeting on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and HIV/AIDS on the 28 – 31 May 2019 in Port of Spain, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

The Overall Objective of the meeting is to continue engaging a representative and inclusive cohort of Caribbean youth leaders from a myriad of backgrounds including organizational affiliation, nationality, gender and life experience, thereby ensuring collaboration among key population youth, CARICOM Youth Ambassadors and Key Partners who are involved in the response to HIV and SRH.

The objectives of the meeting are to:

  1. Assess progress on implementation of strategies for regional advocacy for sexual and reproductive health and rights of adolescents and young people.
  2. Identify innovative ways to sustainably address gaps in the achievement of the three priority areas of the Caribbean Regional Youth Advocacy Framework on SRH&R to strengthen the Caribbean regional HIV response; and
  3. Facilitate the development of skills for knowledge sharing on SRH&R among adolescents and young people
  4. Increase knowledge of sexual and reproductive health and rights among participants.

The Meeting will facilitate information and best practice sharing; peer learning and cooperation among countries to strengthen ownership; improve harmonization and sustainability of the Caribbean HIV and SRH response for young people.

 Expected Outcomes:

  1. Lessons learned from implementing the CRYAF at the country level
  2. Draft roadmap with strategies for sustaining youth advocacy for the promotion of gender equality, prevention and response to GBV and violence and access to high quality and acceptable SRH services to meet the needs of adolescent and youth regardless of disability, age, citizenship, gender identity and sexual orientation.
  3. Enhanced skills of youth leaders on knowledge management tools to capture, sensitize and share reports
  4. Awareness of the work done by youth leaders to advance the priority areas of the CRYAF

Participants will include CARICOM Youth Ambassadors, Youth from Key Populations, PANCAP Coordinating Unit (PCU), Caribbean Family Planning Affiliation (CFPA), Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition, COIN, CariFLAGS, Caribbean Right Here Right Now, Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, and other invited partners.

Event Description


UNAIDS 2018 Global AIDS Monitoring Report estimates that in 2017 there were 4 700 [2 800 – 8 400] new HIV infections in young people aged 15 – 24, representing 31% of new HIV infections in the LAC sub-region. The AIDS-related deaths of young people in this age range in this same year estimated at <500. HIV prevalence in gay men and other MSM under the age of 25 is high, with a range between 1.8% and 24.3% in the countries of the region who report this data. Although HIV prevalence among people in this age range is considered low, 0.4% males and 0.5% females, this population is considered a group with higher possibilities of participating in risky health behaviours based on developmental aspects and socio-economic indicators that contribute to their vulnerability to HIV and other STI infections. In the last six years, there was only a 5% reduction in new HIV infection, suggesting that the regional goal agreed in the “Second Latin America and the Caribbean Forum on the Continuum of HIV Care” of reducing this by 75% by 2020 is not possible. To change the epidemic’s trajectory, it is imperative to, among other things, guarantee adolescents and young people access to comprehensive sexuality education, sexual and reproductive services; and other combination prevention interventions that they need.

The Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework (CRSF) 2014-2018 articulates the vision and collective priorities of Caribbean states for an AIDS-free Caribbean. The CRSF recognizes that resources must be strategically allocated to target the epidemic at regional, country, community and individual levels. Doing so effectively will require establishing and sustaining an enabling environment (Strategic Priority Area 1) by addressing social and cultural drivers of the epidemic and by removing barriers to access sexual and reproductive health information, education and services. The recently concluded evaluation of the CRSF showed 70% of PANCAP members agreed that there was a greater understanding of human sexuality in Region, however, PANCAP partners underscored the need for additional capacity building to achieve greater results. It is therefore critical to embark on, more conscious efforts to address human sexuality in order to equip young people with the regional public goods including knowledge and tools they need for healthy development.

To work more systematically with young people belonging to key populations, PANCAP/Global Fund grant programme collaborated Caribbean Vulnerable Communities (CVC) and El Centro de Orientación e Investigación Integral (COIN), Caribbean Forum for Liberation and Acceptance of Genders and Sexualities (CariFLAGS) , Caribbean Regional Network of People Living with HIV (CRN+) and Caribbean Sex Worker Coalition (CSWC) to link key population youth with the Caribbean Youth Ambassadors Programme (CYAP).. This mutually beneficial collaboration has strengthened the relevance and impact of the Youth Ambassadors as well as provides access to high-level CARICOM fora for KP youth, allowing for collaborative approaches to high-level advocacy that better links the issues and priorities of CARICOM to those of young people. This initiative supported the inclusion and participation of some Key Population groups (i.e. PLHIV, MSM, SW and youth) in the regional response addressing the critical gaps given the overwhelming evidence of the main drivers of HIV transmission in these groups.

The First Meeting of Youth Leaders, which was held in April 2017, allowed for in-depth discussion of sexual health issues affecting young people, identified what are barriers to their access to sexual health services, as well as identified what knowledge and tools are required to protect themselves from HIV. The meeting provided the input required to develop a regional advocacy framework on key sexual health issues affecting youth and to inform subsequent training to strengthen advocacy skills of regional youth leaders. The subsequent formalization of a Steering Committee on Youth Advocacy and follow up meetings serve as innovative approaches to mobilize regional youth leaders to actively engage in high-level advocacy and policy dialogues. The Second Meeting of Youth Leaders, which was held in May 2018, provided the opportunity for in-depth discussion on the achievements and challenges confronted by youth leaders in addressing the three priority areas identified in the Caribbean Regional Youth Advocacy Framework (CRYAF) to set in motion practical advocacy tools and techniques that can be adapted to individual country context. The youth leaders identified regional and international mechanisms that could be used as best practice models for the achievement of priority objectives, utilized opportunities provided to exercise advocacy techniques which were enhanced at the Advocacy Skills Strengthening Workshop that was held in January 2018, with parliamentarians, CSO representatives and CYAs through a panel discussion addressing sexual and reproductive health issues and concerns identified by youth leaders.

PANCAP’s unique approach to include young people as a key partner in the region’s HIV response has provided opportunities for members of the youth network to participate in Joint Meetings of Parliamentarians and Faith-Based Leaders, NAP Managers and Key Partners Meetings, UNFPA High Level Meeting with Ministers of Education to explore the integration of comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) into the HFLE curriculum, and PAHO – Accelerated Action for Health of Adolescents, as well as the COHSOD-Ministers of Health to advocate for access to services for adolescents.. The contribution of young people within these spaces has allowed for the enrichment, tailoring and/or modification of strategies to address the needs of young people and their particular vulnerabilities to HIV infection as well as other Sexuality and Reproductive health related conditions and diseases in the Caribbean region.

The Third Meeting of Youth Leaders provides Caribbean youth leaders and key regional partners, Knowledge 4 Health, Caribbean Right Here Right Now, Caribbean Family Planning Affiliation, an opportunity for collaboration and capacity building and joint decision-making. The meeting agenda is intended to allow for in-depth analysis and discussion on the post-2015 agenda, and the overall advancements of the Caribbean region in implementing new innovative initiatives for HIV targeting youth and key population. Within this context, opportunities and challenges for the country representatives to expand visibility and accountability efforts in the national response will be discussed with the overall aim to advance the Caribbean region’s response. PANCAP acknowledges the need for greater attention to country-to-country linkages, greater collaboration with regional partners to maximise synergies required for sustaining the advocacy efforts of young people to address the priority areas of the CRYAF.

A key output of the meeting is a draft roadmap with strategies for sustaining youth advocacy for the promotion of gender equality, prevention and response to GBV and violence and access to high quality and acceptable SRH services to meet the needs of adolescent and youth regardless of disability, age, citizenship, gender identity and sexual orientation.

Our Partners:

PANCAP-K4Health project

The PANCAP-K4Health project, based at the PANCAP Coordinating Unit (PCU) in Georgetown Guyana, is a PEPFAR-USAID funded initiative to support PANCAP in its role as a regional coordinator and knowledge facilitator. The project aims to support the PCU to fulfill its mandate of supporting PANCAP members and coordinating efforts to maximize the partnership’s productivity and elevate PANCAP’s relevance within the regional and global HIV contact through the use of knowledge management strategies intended to maximize the Partnership, enhance the scale up of best practices, and increase implementation of WHO Test and Start guidelines.

The PANCAP-K4Health project in partnership with the youth leaders meeting proposes to implement a one-day participatory knowledge management (KM) event that aims to provide participants with the space to share experiences and learn new skills and techniques related to their works. It promotes learning from participants’ experiences and learn new skills with the ultimate aim of improving their work. This will provide a space for youth to showcase best practices from implementation experiences, discuss critical challenges, and provide recommendations for increasing youth access to SRH services and advocacy for CSE inclusion in HFLE curriculum, which are two of the three priority areas of the CRYSF. This partnership will provide the opportunity for youth leaders to enhance their skills on knowledge management tools: Picto Chart, Canva and Adobe Spark that can be applied within their networks to synthesize and present reports.

The Caribbean Coalition on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (CCSRHR)

The CCSRHR was formed based on the Caribbean sub-region lag behind on advocacy around sexual and reproductive health and rights. Caribbean governments vary widely in the level of policy engagement and resourcing to implement global and regional commitments. Persons supportive of SRHR are sparse and working in silos with limited impact. Caribbean MAs, to varying degrees, are known for their work in SRHR and are forces of influence engaging the society in a shift in sexual and reproductive rights. It is further recognized that many of the issues in SRHR agenda are common throughout the Caribbean and the shared intergovernmental framework (CARICOM and its organs) allows for a common entry point to reach decision-makers.

The goal of the coalition is the realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights within the territories of the Caribbean through the establishment of robust implementation and accountability mechanisms which advance the 2030 Agenda and Montevideo Consensus.