It's almost the beginning of the World Contraception Day Ambassadors Project and I am excited, inspired, and - honestly - a little overwhelmed by what the next few months will bring. I will be joining five other amazing young advocates in creating unique projects that represent the voices of young people from our respective regions. The fact that these projects are entirely youth-led, from development to execution, is really remarkable. Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of meeting with the other WCD Ambassadors and discussing how to develop and present our projects. It was very inspiring to work alongside other young people on issues relating to their health and sexual lives, and to benefit from their ideas. With this vibrant youth team at the helm, these projects will provide unique insights into young people’s opinions on and access to contraception. They will feature young people talking with other young people – with trust and respect.
In my region of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), we have the second highest regional rates of teenage pregnancy and HIV/AIDS in the world. In documenting the stories of young people over the next couple of months, I hope to speak to these challenges. I am very keen on highlighting the intersectional realities of race, gender, and class that give rise to the inequality and lack of agency amongst youth populations when it comes to sexual and reproductive health and rights. In developing the ideas and a focus for my project, I researched SRHR issues in the LAC region, discussed ideas with colleagues, and connected with allies at home and in the region to help shape the final outputs of the project. I serve as a Co-Director of WOMANTRA, a youth-led feminist non-profit organization based in my home country, so the input of my team, as well as our allies, is invaluable.
Latin America and the Caribbean is a large and diverse region, with a mix of cultures, languages, and ethnicities. In an attempt to feature a broad spectrum of these voices, I am not focusing my project exclusively on my home country of Trinidad and Tobago, but also on a Kweyol (French Patois) and a Spanish-speaking country (see my next blog post for the big reveal of the target countries!). With these three countries as my focus, I am honing in on stories of young people that are not usually a part of the mainstream SRHR narrative, such as young people from more rural and under-resourced communities, LGBTQI young people, and other marginalized voices that are vital to a more complete understanding of young people's experiences with contraceptives.
The project’s activities will include a series of interviews with young people about their contraceptive choices and the factors that have influenced them. I will also distribute a questionnaire so I can gather data on the wider youth population within the project’s short span. When the data collection and storytelling is complete, they will both be weaved into a short film. This film will be a shareable, visual collective of youth stories on contraception from Latin America and the Caribbean.
About World Contraception Day:
In support of World Contraception Day and Women Deliver’s Young Leaders Program, Women Deliver and Bayer will work in partnership on a three-year World Contraception Day (WCD) Ambassadors Project. The project equips young people with the skills they need to collect and share digital stories about young people’s SRHR and access to contraception in their home countries. The project includes a storytelling and digital media training, a seed grant, and advocacy opportunities for the Ambassadors to showcase their work at the international level.