JEMS host workshop on HIV prevention and healthy lifestyle
September 2, 2011
JEMS host workshop on HIV prevention and healthy lifestyle

More than 60 youth and adults came together from August 22 to 24 at the Enhams Community Centre for a workshop on HIV prevention and healthy lifestyles.{{more}} The three-day workshop, sponsored by JEMS Progressive Community Organization, was the second of a two-part programme organized by JEMS for youth during the 2011 school vacation.

Under the theme “Empowering Young Minds for a Healthy, Productive and Sustainable Future,” the programme engaged young people from16 schools and 21 communities across St. Vincent. Sessions included frank discussions about HIV and sexually transmitted infections; healthy lifestyles and relationships; stigma and discrimination; personal empowerment; and social justice and gender equality.

“It was amazing to listen to what the young people had to share, particularly on the way they see social problems in the society,” said JEMS President Rhonda Lee. “I don’t think we (adults) give them enough credit.

They know how to handle themselves; they just need continuous support and guidance.

“I hope this programme continues to thrive in the years to come,” Lee adds.

We cannot over do it when it comes to HIV/AIDS education, and facilitating and encouraging healthy lifestyles among our youth. They are too important to be taken for granted. I want to take this opportunity to thank the U.S. Peace Corp Volunteers, all the facilitators, JEMS Youth and other Volunteers and, most of all, the participants.”

A slate of qualified presenters included Patrick Prescod, SVG Project Coordinator for Population Services International Caribbean; Naomi Prince, Director of the Family Planning Unit of the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment; La Fayette Johnson of the Ministry of National Mobilization and Social Development; Human Rights Association Director Jeannie Ollivierre, JEMS President Rhonda Lee; U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer Julie Mills, and Peace Corps Response Volunteer Margaret Jackson.

A network of seven Peace Corps Volunteers was instrumental in involving young people from outlying communities from Diamonds Village to Petit Bordel in the workshop and expanding the total outreach of the programme. Additional youth and adult leader training will take place through the end of October, culminating in community outreach events in Kingstown and Stubbs.

The HIV prevention and life skills programme was funded by the Community Development Division, and a grant from the U.S. Peace Corps and USAID.

Established in 1978, JEMS is a grassroots community development and environmental management organization.