The Child Care and Protection Agency (CCPA) recently launched its Pregnancy Prevention and Empowerment Programme in collaboration with the Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association (GRPA) in D”Urban Backlands to help children make better choices when it comes to this decision.Director of the Agency Ann Greene told Guyana Times in an interview on Tuesday that this programme has been ongoing for the past two years; however, the Department took the project to the area after calls were made by the young people there for the initiative.A session being conducted with youths in the community (CCPA photo)During this six-week programme, which will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays until July 4, young people between the ages of 12 and 17 years old will benefit from discussions on substance abuse, risky behaviours and self-development.They will also be schooled on condom use and its benefits. The Director of the Childcare Agency noted that some young people cannot resist the urge of being sexually involved. Against this backdrop, she noted that they will be informed on how condoms can prevent Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and pregnancy.Moreover, the youths will be involved in sessions geared at career building, which will hopefully help them to become more organized and set goals in this regard.Greene underscored the importance of this project as she reiterated that many parents are still uncomfortable with having these discussions with their children; who, out of curiosity, may try to learn more about sex on their own, which in turn ends with teenage pregnancies.This project will target 30 youths in the community. CCPA intends to have this project taken to other Regions in the country to help empower young people in making wise decisions.Most recently, the initiative was conducted in Region Nine (Upper Takutu – Upper Essequibo), according to Greene.A recent report on the practices of adolescents revealed the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in the country were recorded in Regions One, Seven, and Nine, according to Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence.“Our situation is critical … some of the contributory factors are lack of access to contraceptives and comprehensive sexual education, risky sexual behaviour and early sex, and there is also another overriding factor that many times we overlook and that is the cultural differences. And that is something, that in everything we do, we must take into account, whether it is in Region One, Region Seven or in Region Nine, we will find that as we move from one tribe to the other, their cultural differences stand out,” the Minister said.As such, the India-United Nations Development Partnership Fund three-year Project can be seen as a timely intervention, since the issue of teenage pregnancy continues to be a thorn in the side of the Guyanese populace, she noted.“Our adolescent fertility rate is above average, especially among our Indigenous girls. Seventy-four out of every 1000 in Regions One, Seven and Nine between the age group of 15 to 19 years old,” Lawrence said.