St. Kitts and Nevis CYA urges inclusion at PANCAP meeting

Georgetown, Guyana, April 17, 2015: Incoming Dean of the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors Corps, Mr. Klieon John, made a strong appeal for Regional stakeholders to include youth in policy planning in the response to HIV/AIDS at a multilateral meeting in Guyana on Wednesday.

The recommendation was made at the Twenty-Third Executive Meeting of the Regional Coordinating Mechanism of the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) which was held on 15-16 April, 2015, at the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana.

Mr. John stressed that the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors Corps was a powerful but underused resource in the implementation of HIV/AIDS response activities among various organizations across the Region. He suggested that the youth ambassadors should be approached to offer assistance in advocacy, research, strategy planning and other areas that are crucial to help stop the spread of the epidemic among the most affected youth populations.

The Youth Ambassadors have proven and continue to prove that we are willing, effective and excited to assist in the fight against HIV/AIDS and we should be included in as many ways as possible in your various activities. The epidemic affects us all and we, as much as the next person, want to do our part.”

The Corps received funding from PANCAP to implement a Mini Grant Programme, which ran from 2005-10, and resulted in youth-led activities in several countries such as information and sensitization workshops, condom distribution, focus groups, house-to-house-visits and support services. The programme focused on key affected populations such as young men sleeping with men (MSMs), women and girls, youth in conflict with the law, sex workers and drug users. Mr. John said that where direct funding is not available, the Youth Ambassador Corps is still a human resource made up of professional, dynamic, and creative young persons who are best suited to represent the views and interests of youth across the Region.

The RCM, which functions as the Executive Board of PANCAP comprises the Director of the PANCAP Coordinating Unit, the Chairperson of the Caribbean Coalition of National AIDS Programme Coordinators (CCNAPC), the Chief Executive Officer of the Caribbean Regional Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS (CRN+) and representatives from the OECS Secretariat, UN/Multilateral Agencies, Bilateral Donor Agencies, Civil Society/NGO Sector, Regional Faith-Based Organisations, Private Sector, Regional Youth Organisations and Regional Financial Institutions.

CARICOM Youth Ambassadors can be contacted through the Ministry of Youth in each country or via the Youth Programme at the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana.

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