Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs Cynthia Forde (second from left) chatting with (from left) Rev. Hughson Inniss, Deputy Director of the National Assistance Board Colleen Walcott and Rev. Clayton Springer. (GP)

Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, Cynthia Forde, has said new sources of funding are needed to expand HIV education in the community.   

Speaking at an HIV workshop for men this morning, Minister Forde said that she was disturbed when HIV funding was removed from all agencies except the Ministry for which she now has responsibility.

The loss of World Bank funding and the subsequent removal of budgets from Ministries such as Education, Youth Affairs and Transport and Works left a void in the information dissemination process, she said.

She added that it was therefore vital that new sources of funding be explored, and pledged that once the local economy improved she would recommend that funding be restored to all agencies.

Ms. Forde told the men attending the training session, who were drawn from non-governmental and faith-based organizations, community-based groups and the public sector, that they needed to reach out beyond their groups.

“I encourage you to move outside of the environs of your meeting places and to connect with and engage other men and boys, including those on the blocks, who may not be part of your group.”

The Minister said the difference in the socialization of boys today and boys in the past was that the present generation was not receiving the necessary mentoring from men in the community.

Too many men, she said, were abdicating their responsibility and leaving it to women to socialize boys in environments such as the Cub Scout movement, the 4-H movement, the church and the classroom.            

“I am therefore challenging all of you to hold on to somebody’s boy child and guide him along the right path.  Volunteer.  Form community groups where the membership is only boys and where they can be encouraged, embraced and feel accepted.  Unless we address these challenges, we will not get our boys to develop into strong men,” she stated.

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