JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has lauded the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF) on its programme offered to adolescent mothers.
  • The Foundation, which was established in 1978 in response to the high occurrence of teenage pregnancies in Jamaica, provides continuing education for adolescent mothers and, where possible, facilitates the return of high school drop outs to institutions that will accommodate them.
  • The programme, which has gained the admiration of several countries, particularly in the Caribbean, is regarded as a “good practice” globally, according to the UNFPA’s Caribbean Sub-Regional Director, Sheila Roseau.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has lauded the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF) on its programme offered to adolescent mothers.

The Foundation, which was established in 1978 in response to the high occurrence of teenage pregnancies in Jamaica, provides continuing education for adolescent mothers and, where possible, facilitates the return of high school drop outs to institutions that will accommodate them.

The programme, which has gained the admiration of several countries, particularly in the Caribbean, is regarded as a “good practice” globally, according to the UNFPA’s Caribbean Sub-Regional Director, Sheila Roseau.

Speaking at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Think Tank, held at the agency’s head office in Kingston, on September 25, Ms. Roseau indicated that representatives of several Caribbean states have expressed a desire to establish an organization, similar to the WCJF, in their countries, adding that “it is…something that we should be proud of.”

In noting that the UNFPA facilitates South-South collaboration among Caribbean countries, Ms. Roseau said identifying and sharing best practices across CARICOM is one of the targeted outcomes of her agency’s strategic framework for reducing adolescent pregnancy across the region.

She explained that the plan aims to assess, document, and share these outcomes with other countries, for possible replication.

Meanwhile, Executive Director of the WCJF, Dr Zoe Simpson, in noting that the agency operates seven main centres and 11 outreach stations islandwide, said the organization’s mandate “is to provide facilities where the girls are able to continue their education during their pregnancies.”

Dr. Simpson said the programme offered includes: instructions in Mathematics, English Language, Social Studies, and Integrated Science or Biology. Training, she added, is also provided in basic computer studies as well as a practical skill area.

Additionally, she said the programme provides comprehensive counseling on adolescent development, parenting skills, and sexual and reproductive health.

“The aim is to help (teenaged mothers) to better understand themselves and the dynamics of life, and to be equipped to face (their) challenges, as a student, a mother, a person, and as somebody who can…make a positive contribution to nation building,” Dr. Simpson added.

The UNFPA, in its 2013 State of World Population Report, described the WCJF model as a Best Practice.