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Youth Partner

Name: Darren Forsythe
Age: 24
Nationality: Jamaican
Affiliated Organization:

T eacher of Computing and Information Tech
Jamaica AIDS Support
Jamaica Network for the Global Summit for Youth

Darren Forsythe is a secondary school teacher of Computing and Information Technology. He also works as a volunteer with the Jamaican AIDS Support (JAS) where he was trained in programme planning and documenting/reporting.

With his most recent training he will be assisting as a presenter in public workshops.

Darren is currently part of a working group developing a programme focused on providing and enhancing employment opportunities for youth, especially those affected by HIV and AIDS. Darren enjoys walking, talking and working on computers. He also likes hiking.


Name: Damian Garth Brown
Age: 24
Nationality: Jamaican
Affiliated Organization: Children First

Damian G. Brown worked for the National HIV/STI Control Program for four years starting at age 17, specifically with PLWHA. Presently he works with Children First, a unique community action organisation providing life-changing programs for children at risk in varying circumstances. Damian benefited from the organization’s services as a child and now works to help others like himself. He currently works with the Youth Wellness Center of Children First, which focuses on HIV/AIDS issues.

His dream is to become an actor, but he also understands the important role education will play in his personal and professional development. As a result, he started the process of becoming a social worker at the university. He wants to be an actor because he believes that public figures can influence great change in society. If he achieves his dream of becoming an actor, he says he will use his popularity to advocate for change as it relates to HIV/AIDS and any other issue affecting young people.

His role models are the director of his organisation, Mrs. Claudette Richardson-Pious, and Mr. Nelson Mandela because they have taught him the real meaning of determination and will to fight for what one believes.


UNFPA in Jamaica

The Government of Jamaica has a comprehensive population policy. The current population growth rate is compatible with the National Population Policy’s targets of a growth rate below 0.8 per cent and a projected population size under 3.0 million by the year 2020 (though some projections are higher). There has been a decline in the absolute numbers of registered births, which is reflected in a local 2001 estimate of the crude birth rate: 21.2 births per 1,000 population. The general fertility rate was calculated in 2001 at 79.4 births per 1,000 women aged 15-49 years, up from 78.2 in 2000. The total fertility rate (TFR) has decreased to below the 2.8 children per woman estimated in 1997, down from 3 in 1993. The National Family Planning Board’s projections for 2005 indicated an expected TFR of 2.5 – a number some suggest may have already been reached.

In its response to a recent United Nations inquiry, the Government indicated that it viewed both its population growth rate and its fertility rate as too high. Another area of major concern is the continued high adolescent fertility rate. The National Family Planning Board of Jamaica places special emphasis on adolescent reproductive and sexual health. Jamaica recently set up an Adolescent Policy working group within the Government to better address such problems as the high prevalence of HIV and abortion among teenagers.

More than half of all Jamaicans under the age of 20 live in poverty. More than 20% do not live with either parent, as fathers are often uninvolved in child rearing. Many mothers must migrate for work, leaving children with other family members, neighbors or on their own. Approximately 90% of young people in Jamaica have heard of HIV/AIDS, but the fear of stigma and discrimination keep them from becoming better-informed and adopting preventive behaviors, such as using condoms.

A UNFPA Country Programme is being developed to include advocacy and communications, including for the reduction of the prices of antiretroviral therapy; training of health and medical personnel; sexuality education in curriculum development; and focus on reproductive health rights as a human rights issue. UNFPA has organized HIV/AIDS sensitivity training for other UN agencies with the help of people living with HIV.


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