The Adolescents and youth engaged for change and a sustainable future forum kicked off day two in Belize City with a discussion with students of Belize about HIV/AIDS. The forum’s primary goal is to address issues amongst youths such as gender-based violence, teenage pregnancy, human trafficking, among others. According to Special Envoy for Women and Children in Belize, Kim Simplis Barrow, the voices of those students must be heard, and their concerns should be taken seriously.
Kim Simplis Barrow, Special Envoy for Women and Children: “We often talk about our adolescent participation and how they’re feeling and how they’re operating in the environment but do we really know what they’re thinking ? When we think of our youth, our children are our future but how are we taking into account what they’re feeling or what they want into the future plan? For us as we look forward to our 2030 SDG agendas and our own local agendas it’s important to hear from the youth voices how violence is affecting their lives. Not only that we’re grappling with climate change at the moment all these different issues and so it’s very important for us not only in Belize but for the Caribbean, for the region to listen to our youth because we can learn from them; they have an important role to play and an important voice.”
Love News spoke with a panelist for Climate change who gave her view about why students should be concerned about these issues. Ronalee Mckenzie, President of Save the Seas Belize, told us that students can educate themselves about these issues and help address them for a better tomorrow.
Ronalee McKenzie, President, Save the Sea Belize: “I want to define what it is because before we can go into addressing the problem we need to define the problem and talk about what it is and what’s causing climate change and how it affects us as individuals, how it affects our community and how it affects our country. So that’s coming up with a definition and translating that in a way that everybody can understand regardless of their educational level or their field of interest. Climate change affects everybody, nobody is exempted from it so just be present, be open to learning new things, be open to the information that is given and be willing to share what you learn. So be present, be proactive and just participate in the conversation. Just the students that are here, just the fact that they’re willing to participate that’s one simple thing that you can do then go home and share that information with your friends, share that information with your family, go on Youtube follow Oceana, follow Save the Seas and just keep up with the activities and the outreach that’s happening in your community.”
The forum was held by the Spouses of CARICOM Leaders Action Network (SCLAN) in collaboration with the Special Envoy of Belize. SCLAN is a non-governmental organization that was established by Special Envoy, Kim Simplis Barrow. The vision of the organization is to create a Caribbean region free of HIV, early pregnancy, human trafficking, and gender-based violence.