By Mike Crismundo
SURIGAO CITY – At least 500 youth leaders from the different sectors in Caraga region are participating in 2018 Summer Youth Camp Leadership Skills Training.
The objective of the series of skills training is to build the youth in good and proper leadership and advocacy skills, specifically on adolescent sexuality and reproductive health, said Regional Director Alexander A. Makinano, in an exclusive interview with the Manila Bulletin on Thursday.
The agency, together with the Provincial/City Population Officers, designed the camp as most of the students are idle during the remaining summer vacation, thus it will serve as venue for advocacy activities.
The youth camp has been regularly organized as the health and well-being of adolescents and youth remain a key development concern, as they continue to be threatened by various issues and challenges that impede their full growth and development, he said.
The three-day youth camp skills training in Surigao City/Surigao del Norte started on Wednesday(May 23-25) and in Dinagat Islands province also slated on May 28-29, also this year, he said.
Last week (May 15-18), the youth camp skills training also took place in Surigao del Sur.
Some of the discussion during the said trainings are the critical issues faced by the youth, such as high incidence of teenage pregnancies, early sexual involvement, early marriages, and other reproductive health problems like sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDS, among others, Director Makinano said.
He said the discussions will center also on the key findings of the Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Survey (YAFS4).
In Caraga region alone, more than three in five youth feel invincible to AIDS, such that they think there is no chance of them getting AIDS, disclosed the region’s POPCOM chief.
However, he said based on the HIV reported cases of the Department of Health- Caraga of the 456 cases from 1995 to 2017, 155 belong to age group 15 – 24 while 2 belong to below 15 years of age.
Director Makinano stressed that a mechanism to address these pressing youth-related issues is the conduct of various AHD Initiatives at the local level such as the interactive sessions on U4U/Parent-Teen Trail, Summer Youth Camp and Responsible Sexuality Symposium and many more.
With the support of different program partners in the implementation of the Adolescent Health and Development initiatives at the local level, Director Makinano hoped that the youth will gain a variety of experiences and develop different life skills that will help them grow into a healthy adolescents and productive adults.
“That’s why these series of youth camp trainings that we are undertaking are very vital to our youth leaders and they are the one to spread in their respective home communities on what they learned here,” added the Caraga region POPCOM chief.