Family planning, sexual and reproductive health, and empowerment of individuals and families took centre stage as World Population Day (WPD) 2018 was celebrated through a full-day event in the north-eastern town of Sangre Grande, Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday 14 July 2018.
Building on the success of the International Women’s Day City Village, which was held in Port of Spain in March 2018, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) subregional headquarters for the Caribbean and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), with support from Government, civil society and other UN agencies in Trinidad and Tobago, extended this outreach activity to Sangre Grande with an event entitled, `Community Village: Empowering rural and urban individuals and families’.
The Guaico Secondary School was transformed into a ’Community Village’, with information and display booths from several organizations and presentations on health and wellness, youth development, safety, security and the environment, and entrepreneurship and financial management. In recognition of the theme of this year’s WPD, `Family Planning is a Human Right’, UNFPA collaborated with the Ministry of Health, to launch a pilot scheme for contraceptive implants at select locations in Trinidad and Tobago, at the event. Local health organisations also offered PAP smears, HIV testing and other health checks over the course of the day.
ECLAC Caribbean’s Sustainable Development Officer, Artie Dubrie, speaking on behalf of ECLAC Caribbean Director, Diane Quarless, indicated that ECLAC supports the right of individuals and families to decide freely whether, when, and how many children they want to have.
Dubrie said, “Our office works to promote equality, empowerment and autonomy of all persons. We support national policies that give access to family planning and sexual and reproductive health services and recognise that educating the community on these topics is an important roadway to empowerment.”
Dubrie pointed out that Sangre Grande has a rich history, strong community spirit and abundant natural resources and that, although there is much work to do, the region had made “significant strides towards achieving sustainable development in its three dimensions – the economic, social and environmental.”
The occasion provided an opportunity for the people of Sangre Grande to interact and learn about the more than 30 organizations which participated with displays and presentations, ranging from Government departments, community-based networks, and local businesses.