The National Family Planning Board (NFPB) is inviting Jamaica's youth to submit entries for its 2012 Sexual and Reproductive Health Essay Competition, under the theme: 'Children by Choice and not by Chance'.
In an interview with JIS News, Director of Outreach Programmes at the Family Planning Board, Dianne Thomas, explained that the competition is being held as part of the NFPB’s thrust to encourage the implementation of organised and sustainable family planning practices among Jamaica’s youth population.
She noted that the competition will allow the young people, through their research, to become more familiar with the recommended sexual and reproductive health best practices, as well as to become more informed about the importance of planned pregnancies.
Ms. Thomas also underscored that young Jamaicans must take charge of their sexual and reproductive health, in an effort to avoid mistimed pregnancies and being affected by Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).
The competition is being held as a precursor to National Family Planning Week, which will be observed from October 21 to 27.
Member of the Family Planning Week Committee, Ms. Deandra Williams, said the competition’s theme was chosen with the intention of putting power and responsibility in each individual’s hands, so that they can secure their own future.
Ms. Williams argued that each individual has a right to control his or her sexual and reproductive health. “With rights, come responsibilities,” she stressed, noting that just as you have rights to your sexual and reproductive health, it is your responsibility to access the services that are provided in that area.
The competition, she said, is open to all Jamaicans between the ages of 9 and 25 years. Each essay in the 9 to 13 age group should be no more than 500 words; those for the age group 14 to 18 years, should be no more than 1,500 words; and for the age group 19 to 25 years, no more than 2,500 words.
All entries must be mailed to the Family Planning Week 2012 Committee at the National Family Planning Board’s office, which is located at 5 Sylvan Avenue, Kingston 5, or email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline for the submission of entries is Friday, September 14. For further details, interested persons can contact the National Family Planning Board at (1-876) 968-1627 or 968-1629.
By JODI-ANN REID & TONI-ANN RUSSELL