The Government of the Virgin Islands is announcing that all young people will now have access to the Sexual and Reproductive Health workbooks that were locally designed and created by the National AIDS Programme.
The workbooks titled ‘Respect and Understanding’ will encourage and teach young people how to respect themselves and their peers.
National AIDS Programme (NAP) Coordinator Mrs. Noelene Levons-Clarke said, “The workbooks were designed based on our observations that students seemed to learn more and were responsive to games and activities instead of brochures when we visited schools.”
It will also assist youth in the development of life skills and decision making that will lead to healthier, happier and more productive lives.
The workbooks provide enriching activities such as games, discussions and opportunities for youth to express how they feel and think about life changing issues that affect them personally on a daily basis.
Mrs. Clarke explained, “The decision was then made a year ago based on limited financing of the programme to create locally made workbooks instead of having them ordered.”
The workbooks were piloted during the last quarter of 2012 with a sample of young people in the Territory who provided feedback on what activities worked and did not work, before they were officially launched on World AIDS Day in 2012.
Book One of the 3-book series is a coloring and activity book that is targeted at children ages 4 to 6 years and contains pictures and activities that promote self-esteem and self-love, love of and respect for others, kindness and courtesy.
Book Two is for pre-teens, ages seven to 11 years with photos of local children on the cover and consists of activities, pictures, puzzles and games on topics such as personal hygiene, respect for others, childhood sexual abuse, physical changes of the body before and during adolescence and information on HIV/AIDS.
Book Three which is specifically for teenagers, ages 12 to 16 years contains activities, puzzles, and games that highlight self-esteem, building healthy relationships, gender roles, childhood sexual abuse, adolescence, abstinence, assertive communication, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) including HIV prevention, teenage pregnancy and abortion.
Mrs. Clarke also commended her colleague at the NAP, Ms. Kenya Jeffers who designed the covers for all the books and the content for Book One. Mrs. Clarke provided the content for Book Three and they both created the content for Book Two.
The National AIDS Programme in the Ministry of Health and Social Development functions as the HIV/AIDS focal point for the Virgin Islands and collaborates with local, regional and international agencies to mitigate the socio-economic impacts of HIV/AIDS.