FAWEZI held its second phase start up workshop on Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) in Harare on the 1st of September. Our aim was to engage teenagers in a discussion around the problems around SRHR and also listen to their proposed solutions so that we could map a way forward in our two year SRHR project to be implemented in Epworth and Chegutu.
The workshop was attended by Junior Parliamentarians who were instrumental in identifying the problems around SRHR for the youths who are in and out of school and also giving suggestions on the possible strategies to solve them. The Junior Parliamentarians confirmed that there is a lack of knowledge in the area of SRHR amongst the youth and also acknowledged that for those who are informed there is a tendency to ignore the information and indulge in pre-marital sex leading to early pregnancies, STI’s and HIV.
Child president, Tinaye Mbavari urged her fellow mates to make contributions so that a way forward could be mapped and lead to the reduction of early indulgence in sex by teens. “SRHR is the in thing, let’s all talk about it, let’s not be shy –speak out and make a difference,” she said. “It is a sensitive topic but let’s be open and fight rape, STI’s and HIV”.
There was a lively discussion between the young parliamentarians and the facilitators with the teens suggesting youth friendly means of packaging and delivering SRHR education. They also indicated that there is need to involve parents in such workshops so that they are also empowered to speak to their children on SRHR. Use of prominent people to educate the youth was also raised as a way of reaching out to the youth.
They said if musicians could be used to spread SRHR message most youths would comply as some tend to listen to their role models and celebrities. Above all the young leaders also said children need support in other abilities besides academic excellence so that those who are good in practical areas can also feel appreciated while in school and therefore reduce the risk of dropping out.
Youth friendly spaces were also applauded but the teens said they need the spaces to be better placed out of hospitals to avoid the stigma that surrounds being seen at a hospital.