Girls not mothers campaign

The St. Lucia Planned Parenthood Association in collaboration with the Caribbean Family Planning Affiliate and International Planned Parenthood Association would like to inform the general public and our loyal members that we will be launching our Girls not Mothers campaign on the 20th of October.  We are launching this initiative to coincide with the Caribbean Adolescent pregnancy prevention week which runs from the 18-22 of October.

 Adolescent pregnancy profoundly affects girls’ life trajectories. It hampers their psychosocial development, contributes to poor health outcomes for the girls and their offspring, negatively affects their educational and employment opportunities, and contributes to the perpetuation of intergenerational cycles of poor health and poverty. Adolescent mothers (ages 10-19 years) face higher risks of eclampsia, puerperal endometriosis, and systemic infections than women aged 20-24 years, and babies of adolescent mothers face higher risks of low birth weight, preterm delivery, and severe neonatal conditions (1). Despite recent socioeconomic growth in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), adolescent fertility rates in the region remain unacceptably high—the second highest in the world—with major inequities between and within countries. Girls from families in the lower wealth quintile, with lower levels of education, and from Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities are disproportionately affected by adolescent pregnancy. The rising trend in pregnancies in girls younger than 15 years is also highly concerning.

A landmark study on adolescents in St Lucia developed by the Government of Saint Lucia and UNICEF have in 2019 UNICEF highlighted the fact that poverty remains significant among adolescents with one of our three adolescents living in poverty. In addition, data showed that a third of adolescents are not in education, employment, or training (NEET) and the great majority of those over the school-age are unemployed.  

A great deal of progress has been made and recent policy and legislative reforms have positively impacted adolescents. For example, on 20 November 2018, the Government of Saint Lucia passed the Child Justice Bill and the Children Care, Protection and Adoption Bill. Their passage was a crucial step to operationalize the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and can help address the neglect, abuse, exploitation, and violence affecting young people. Notwithstanding the gains, there is still work to be done on the National Adolescent Health Policy.

Unemployment, poverty, sexual abuse, early sexual initiation are all drivers of adolescent pregnancy in St. Lucia. Our program aims to address these drivers by working to increasing access to sexual and reproductive health services to adolescents and young adults; through education on human rights and availability of services and advocacy training for mothers.

Please visit our website for more information and links to our social media sites.

Geralda Bray        

Executive Director

St. Lucia Planned Parenthood Association