There’s a point in every growing child’s life when they start getting certain urges, certain emotions that they cannot explain. We have all been there, at least at a certain stage in our early teenage years we experienced something it and it is just sad that for most Uganda children growing up, sex was a taboo so we were ashamed of such things and could not talk about it to anyone. Imagine telling your Mother that you were having feelings for a boy in your class? how dare you even? There will be slaps and a long lecture about so many things minus an explanation about what you are feeling or why you seem to find wet substances in your panties and feel like you might explode when a boy holds your hand for long. When our teachers spoke about sex, it was more about the male and female organs and not what actually happens with these organs or why the males were acting funny when they saw a girl with breasts.
This November and December, the Straight Talk Foundation is carrying out a campaign that is directly aimed at educating our nation and helping reduce the number of teenage pregnancies all over Uganda by involving parents/guardians and health workers or any stake holders involved in the sexual health of our youths. This campaign is under the Youth Enterprise Model and for the next few weeks, I am going to be among the many people on social media talking about it to help spread the word about what is affecting our youth, sharing stories about those who have been affected, advice from counselors and many more.
The Youth Enterprise Model (YEM) delves more into the options that we are ignoring in society to help educate our teens while they are young enough about sex and not shaming them about. From the archaic way we were told about sex to helping them understand why it is important to better safe than sorry about rushing into something you cannot handle at such an early age. There is a focus on how money, education, advocating for information on family planning methods and youth friendly services in our health centers that young people can go to without being stigmatized by health workers.
Under YEM, the Straight Talk Foundation also aims to train Health workers and any other service providers, the media including Youths to extend youth friendly services all over the country. Even further, the foundation is collaborating with Banks by equipping them with sexual reproductive health information that can be provided to the youths during financial training. These banks include DFCU, FINCA and Stanbic. A survey has been done all through the country under the model with certain districts and the numbers of teenage pregnancies and the lack of sexual information to youths is quite alarming.
Sexual reproductive health is a big deal for any growing teen, we pretend and look away. Switch off X-rated movies, block certain websites and pray our children are not exposed to anything offensive, but we forget that they have to go out their in the world, where they will need to be well equipped to be ready for whatever situation that arises.How do we expect our children to learn, if we do not teach them? If we do not tell them but let them go out into the world and be flooded with all sorts of information even what they do not need to know. For more information about what I am going to be posting in these next few weeks or if you know someone whose’s story we should share get in touch with the Straight Talk Foundation.
Twitter; @STFUganda, Facebook; https://web.facebook.com/Straight-Talk-Foundation-117172584961667/?fref=ts Email; firstname.lastname@example.org, and http://www.straighttalkfoundation.org