Jamaica, Colombia to collaborate on teenage pregnancy response Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Jamaica and the Republic of Colombia have partnered to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and best practices to strengthen the response to teenage pregnancy.

Advisor on Gender Affairs and Gender-based Foreign Policy in Colombia, Diana Maria Parra Romero, is currently visiting Jamaica to learn more about the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation’s  (WCJF) programme for teenage mothers to establish a similar initiative in Colombia.

During her visit, Romero will meet with officials of the WCJF, the Bureau of Gender Affairs (BGA) and other women’s organisations.

Accompanied by Ambassador of Colombia to Jamaica, Emiliana Bernard-Stephenson, and First Secretary of the Embassy, Andres Perez, toured the WCJF in Kingston last Tuesday to get a first-hand look at the facility and its programme offerings.

The WCJF, an agency of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, provides adolescent mothers with the opportunity to continue their education during pregnancy and prepare them for reintegration into the formal school system.

Also on the tour were chair of the WCJF board of directors, Debby-Ann Brown Salmon; Executive Director, WCJF, Novlette Howell; and Director of Field Operations, WCJF, Beverley Martin Berry.

Speaking at a short ceremony before the tour, Brown Salmon said the WCJF has 10 main centres and four outreach stations island-wide that cater to the needs of girls who are pregnant, giving them a second chance to complete their education.“It is about giving second chances. We don’t label at the centres; we do not judge at the centres,” she pointed out.

“We are not advocating for teens to get pregnant, but we say if it does happen there is a place for you to go and when we get you, we are going to treat you like the queens you are,” Mrs. Brown Salmon said.She noted that the WCJF is not only concerned about the girls but about their babies as well.

“They must know how to take care of their babies. We have nurseries with trained professionals who take care of the babies while the girls continue their education…that is what we are about, the continuing of your education,” she pointed out.