February 10, 2021
Youth in the Caribbean will be benefiting from Comprehensive Sexuality Education
(CSE) activities that were launched by the UNFPA in a virtual Webinar on Wednesday.
CSE programmes enable young people to protect their health, well-being and dignity
and is a strategic vehicle for promoting gender equality and human rights. The activities
will be conducted under the Spotlight Regional Programme for the Caribbean which is
part of the wider Spotlight Initiative (SI), a global, multi-year partnership between the
European Union and the United Nations to eliminate all forms of violence against
women and girls by 2030.
The webinar provided an outline of the CSE activities to be implemented and
participants were given an opportunity to provide inputs in accelerating the planned
efforts. The effects of COVID-19 in the education sector that might also put at risk the
continuity of the CSE delivery through Health and Family Life Education (HFLE) were
Director and Representative for the UNFPA Sub-Regional Office of the Caribbean,
Alison Drayton, who welcomed participants to the launch, highlighted that the growth
and development of Caribbean youth continued to be undermined by what she called
“new manifestations of age-old threats”. She identified a number of CSE challenges
being faced by Caribbean youth and expressed that vulnerability to all forms of violence,
particularly bullying, sexual violence, abuse and exploitation and adolescent pregnancy
rates remained very high.
Highlighting the role of the CSE initiatives in addressing these issues, the Director
explained that strengthening regional capacities to advocate for and deliver quality CSE
for in and out of school youth in the Caribbean was at the heart of the Regional
Spotlight Programme. “The Comprehensive Sexuality Education interventions, through
the Spotlight Initiative, are informed by robust evidence and aim to contribute to the
Contact Person: Jascene Dunkley-Malcolm – Communications and Partnerships
Specialist, UNFPA, SROC Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
collaborative efforts in preventing violence against women and girls in the Caribbean”
The CARICOM Secretariat is one of the organisations that has partnered with the
UNFPA on this initiative and is playing a significant role in the implementation of the
Spotlight Regional Programme for the Caribbean.
Director of Human Development at the CARICOM Secretariat, Helen Royer said the
implementation of a regional HFLE curriculum, the creation of resources and toolkits,
training of teachers to communicate the curriculum, and improved coordination among
all the agencies at the regional and national levels are among the outcomes of
CARICOM’s efforts at strengthening HFLE. Despite those investments, she was
concerned that the key messages of HFLE were still not being converted into
measurable behaviour change.
Against that backdrop, Ms Royer said CARICOM welcomed the Spotlight Initiative to
enhance regional capacities to advocate and deliver quality Comprehensive Sexual
“The interventions are aligned with the hopes for healthy and contributing Caribbean
citizens, as outlined in the CARICOM Human Resource Development 2030 Strategy
and is also in support of the recently launched Road map by PAHO for promoting the
health and well-being of adolescents and youth in the Caribbean which received
CARICOM ‘support and endorsement,” Ms Royer stated.
UNFPA works with governments, civil society and other partners to implement CSE.
UNFA also promotes policies for and investments in comprehensive sexuality education
programmes that meet internationally agreed standards. This particular initiative is
being financed through funding from the European Union and UN agencies through the