The Ministry of Health Guyana, Adolescent Health Unit, in collaboration with the For the Children's Sake Foundation, PAHO/WHO Guyana CO, and the Global Affairs Project, hosted the Girl Empowerment Conference under the Theme “Empower Encourage and Inspire”. The conference was held on June 10th, 2022. The purpose of the conference was to equip and empower adolescent girls ages 10 - 19 with the knowledge and skills needed to make informed decisions in relation to Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) and other health issues.
Increasing attention to the empowerment of adolescent girls in Latin America and the Caribbean has led to a broader interest in SRH and cooperative interventions in the international, national, and local arenas.
These initiatives have arisen mainly from efforts to promote gender equity, reflecting countries' obligations to ensure that adolescent girls enjoy the full measure of human rights to which they are entitled. More recently, limited but relevant evidence suggests that investments in teenage girls have the potential to help break the intergenerational cycle of poverty. Nonetheless, adolescent girls in the Latin America and Caribbean region remain disempowered and vulnerable. This situation directly impacts their health and well-being, especially their sexual and reproductive health.
Adolescent teenage girls' empowerment is seldom considered when government policies are formulated and implemented. Relevant data are scattered and are seldom disaggregated by age and sex, which obscures the problem and makes it difficult to see the complete picture. Lack of data also limits the possibilities for monitoring the situation of empowerment and taking it into account when making decisions and carrying out actions to meet girls' needs.
The conference commenced with a panel discussion where the girls had an opportunity to ask as many questions as possible on self-awareness and self-esteem, contraceptives, and adolescent health services available to teenage girls and other relevant issues.
Sixty adolescent students from schools in Region 10, attended the conference and were provided with information that could benefit them. The topics discussed were Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, Importance of Abstinence and Delaying Sexual Experiences, Mental Health & Coping, Violence, HPV, and COVID-19 vaccination. Students also took the opportunity to have one on one discussions with the presenters for more information.
The day served as an advocate for women's sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). As we continue to empower girls and women of our society, PAHO/WHO will continue to provide technical support to the Ministry of Health to improve services for women and girls to ensure they achieve optimum health.