Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. CVC and FAMPLAN have teamed up to anchor the SAIL-SRHR program for the Canadians, but what does that mean for us?
Centered on the concept of sexual and reproductive health and rights and targeting young girls, this initiative looks, walks and smells like what the Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) piloted in our children’s homes in 2014 with… oh it’s almost the same people too: Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC) and FAMPLAN (The Jamaica Family Planning Association) as outlined on CVC’s website.
Lest we forget
For those who may have forgotten, 2014 saw a dramatic media frenzy surrounding a JFJ led intervention titled “Realising Sexual and Reproductive Health Responsibly” which targeted children’s homes. In a facebook post by JFJ on June 5, 2014, just prior to the media uproar they noted “Jamaicans for Justice in partnership with the Jamaica Family Planning Association (FAMPLAN) and with the kind support of Caribbean Vulnerable Communities (CVC) and Centro de Orientación e Investigación Integral (COIN) have combined resources to foster healthy sexual growth and development in marginalised youth in children’s homes.” So if there was ever any doubt of FAMPLAN’s centrality to project perversion in our children’s homes, doubt no more. They got away seemingly unscathed in 2014 pointing the finger at CVC for all questionable content. But alas, they have returned to partner with CVC again, certainly hoping that Jamaicans will forget the 2014 saga.
Let me emphatically state that SAIL: SRHR and the quartet-led children’s homes project are evil twins only separated by years. The similarities are obvious: two of the previous four entities are involved in the SAIL-SRHR project. They have a shared target audience: adolescents and youth, but according to CVC’s twitter page “SAIL-SRHR is expected to reach over 110k adolescents in Jamaica with inclusive health services, peer led SRHR education & social media campaigns”. For comparison JFJ’s programme was delivered to 135 children. So SAIL-SRHR is what happened in 2014 on steroids! The aims are also extremely similar. SAIL-SRHR stands for Strengthening Access Inclusion and Leadership for sexual and reproductive health rights and the second edition of JFJ’s Reform Matters newsletter in 2014 stated that their aim was to “Provide marginalised youth in children’s homes with rights-based information on sexual and reproductive rights to allow for their empowerment”. The people at the helm are the same, the target audience is the same and the goals are the same!
What was the uproar all about?
I know memories fade, so let me remind you what the pursuit of SRHR for adolescents looked like in 2014. According to the Gleaner article titled Indecent exposure – Oral, anal sex acceptance sneaked into JFJ course in children’s homes published on June 14, 2014 noted that the course material contained statements such as“ vaginal sex, anal sex and oral sex are forms of sexual penetration”, with no immediate reference to the fact that anal sex remains illegal in Jamaica.“ It also noted “Anal and oral sex have traditionally been frowned upon, but with time, these practices are becoming more accepted,” outlined the course manual as it urged the children to “use a condom and lubricant during anal sex”, to protect against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).“ This to adolescents! Grossly inappropriate. The case had to be referred to the attorney general to investigate and determine if anyone could be prosecuted; with the Child Development Agency determining that the project breached Section 15(1) and 15(2) of the Child Care and Protection Act. (For the Interim Summary Report of the Investigation of the Child Development Agency into the JFJ programme click here).
We call upon the Minister of Education and Youth, the Attorney General and the Child Development Agency to take a pre-emptive look into this matter. What happened in 2014 should not be allowed to happen again. They say they are targeting adolescent girls and members of vulnerable communities… adolescent girls from where? Will our children’s homes be targeted as well? With no parents to protect them they are most vulnerable. We are putting children’s homes on alert, parents, caregivers, concerned citizens, teachers, health professionals, and gatekeepers all. If you see CVC or FAMPLAN seeking your permission to train our young people, tell them NO. When you see them in your communities, churches and schools, do not embrace them with open arms. If history teaches anything, it is that CVC and FAMPLAN cannot be trusted with our nation’s youth, they are not fit to sail our children anywhere. Don’t be tricked and don’t let your guard down, they think they mean well but are seeking to lead our youth to deeper darkness and perversion. Last time we didn’t know, but now we know. This cannot be allowed to happen again!
Daniel Thomas is a medical doctor and president of the Love March Movement, a youth Christian NGO for sexual purity and the family in Jamaica.