Healthy Caribbean Youth launch series about matters affecting regional children and youth.
An increasingly warming globe? A global pandemic? Violence and bullying?
Today’s children and youth are definitely going through it. Yes, every generation surely has had its own challenges, but one cannot deny the massive burden on our young people today.
The Honourable Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, recently echoed this sentiment, stating that “Our children locally and globally are the ones who have had to make perhaps the biggest long-term adjustments” when speaking of life since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic comes alongside and has even exacerbated the multitude of other issues affecting youth today such as climate change, violence and mental health challenges.
It should be noted, however, that our region’s young people are not sitting idly by, but are in fact, standing up and letting their voices be heard about these various issues that affect them. From organisations such as the Caribbean Regional Youth Council to 12-year-old Barbadian climate activist Maria Marshall, Caribbean youth are at the forefront of regional and global advocacy and activism.
Healthy Caribbean Youth, the youth arm of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition, is a diverse, trans-regional group of young enterprising health advocates passionate about promoting good health and supportive environments for children and youth like themselves. These Healthy Caribbean Youth will be presenting a series of articles titled The Future Talks: A future for our Caribbean’s children? over the next 4 months in which dynamic, regional young voices will present dialogue about the health and well-being of the region’s children and young people with a focus on non-communicable diseases and their determinants.
The inspiration from this series draws from a 2020 global report ‘A Future for the World’s Children?’ by the World Health Organization (WHO)-UNICEF-Lancet Commission made up of leading global child experts. This report centred on child health in the context of varied and prevalent threats inclusive of climate change and the commercial determinants of health, whilst suggesting ways these can be combated and calling for urgent action to mitigate these threats.
With approximately one-third of the Caribbean’s population being children and a further 15% young adults (under 30), we as a Caribbean population must ask ourselves, what future environment are we leaving them? Is it one that allows their optimal health and wellbeing? One that allows them to survive, thrive and transform?
In a similar vein to the WHO-UNICEF-Lancet report, The Future Talks: A Future for our Caribbean’s children? aims to call attention to issues threatening optimal health and well-being of the region’s young people and to place the health, well-being and ideals of regional children and youth at the centre of the Sustainable Development Goals and other local, regional and global development agendas. It will particularly emphasise the need for meaningful participation of young people in making these agendas a reality through whole-of-society action.
We, the members of Healthy Caribbean Youth invite you over the next four months to read our thoughts and suggestions on these concerns via The Future Talks series on the Healthy Caribbean Coalition website and media channels, as well as digital and print media across the region. The series will explore topics such as climate change, mental health and food systems, centring Caribbean youth, youth like us, in the discussions.
We hope that by sharing our voices we inspire greater conversation among regional youth and youth allies and that our experiences and passion shared in this series may inspire dialogue and actionable movement in the matters that we hold dear to their hearts. Join us in our efforts to make our beloved region, a healthier Caribbean.
On behalf of Healthy Caribbean Youth
Look out for the series The Future Talks: A future for our Caribbean’s children? which amplifies regional youth voices on concerns of the health and well-being of our region’s children and youth on the Healthy Caribbean Coalition website and media channels, as well as digital and print media across the region. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media coverage: Barbados today: Healthy Caribbean Youth Launch Series About Matters Affecting Children and Youth
Photo: Yensa Worth