Last Tuesday, May 15th.

I am really late and forgetful when it comes to blogging, but I meant to blog this last Tuesday about my day at The civil society Forum Conference.

First off, The Civil Society Forum is a local coalition advocating for the greater inclusion of civil society organizations in decision making in the health sector. This forum includes NGO’S such as CVC, JFLAG, JASL, Women Inc, and Red Cross just to name a few. The conference is aimed for all these NGO’s to gather, converse and update all the organizations on the present issues happening around Jamaica. For never attending a meeting like this one it was very interesting to me, to see all these advocacy groups working together. I thought at first the conference wouldn’t be of much relevance to me because I am fairly new and still not entirely in loop with everything going on, but it wasn’t all about business and the inner workings of the Forum.

They had a couple presentations from some organizations to update the forum on their advocacy work and new strategies, along with a guest speaker, a Dr from the University of the West Indies. For the life of me I can’t remember his name but he had a short presentation regarding prevalence of HIV among Jamaicans. Most of the presentation was all new statistics and research that had been conducted nothing really stuck out to me that was new or that I could remember and recite here, the part I found interesting was his views on the consent age for sex when the topic was brought in a discussion. The issue was to make the consent age for sex 18 instead of 16. Most people felt that they are not guiding young people properly regarding the age of consent with clear legal and moral framework. By having the consent age at 16 but having to be 18 to be considered a adult in everything else is confusing to the youth. The Dr’s opinions on it and frankly the only one in the room with those views was, its not about changing the age of consent but tackling from the root, like educating them about sex and making safe choices. I felt the same, but the clash between everyone’s views and his was the part i enjoyed the most. Seeing first hand how things work in the NGO world and how connected their views are with the church.

Overall it was a great learning day. Got to see more issues other NGO’s face and how everything works internally and together here. Hoping I can bring home that energy.

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