Foundation advocates platform for youths on reproductive health



Education as a Vaccine (EVA) has advocated a platform called ‘MyQuestion’ to help young adolescents to know the challenges Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) poses to them as they grow. The platform allows young people to ask questions via text message, email and Internet through their mobile phones.

My Question is a component of Learning about Living (LaL) Nigeria, a cross-media and life skills programme developed by OneWorld UK and Butterfly (Netherlands) that enables and encourages young Nigerians to engage in sexual and reproductive health issues.

Speaking at the launch of the initiative which had ‘Myths and Misinformation: An Analysis of Text Messages Sent By Adolescents and Young People on the MyQuestion Platform’, as theme, the Executive Director of Education as a Vaccine, Fadekemi Agarawu, said the research look out for information that young people have provided to the organization since 2007 to date, adding that the findings revealed that they want to know the misconceptions and myths that young people have and what are the things they were confused about especially as it relates to issues of their body, health and their rights. Her words: “We are really more focused in trying to understand what kind of questions young people have about their sexual and reproductive health. What are the ways they were asking the questions, where are the places they want to go and access those services.”

She explained that the information is good for the foundation and also good for people doing programmes around Nigeria in other to reduce the spread of HIV, to reduce the spread of unplanned pregnancy and improving the health of young people in the country, stressing that they did not want to keep the information or research to themselves but they want other people that work in their field as well as to improve their own programmes and making sure that we have an impact for the better of young people.

Director MacArthur Foundation, Dr. Kole Shettima said the results of the question and answer tell some of the characteristics of young people in terms of their behaviour, noting that there is a lot of myth and a lot of mistakes that our young people make owing to the fact that they did not have adequate information about some of the things they should have information about Shettima noted that the findings would give them the opportunity to develop programmes, projects that would respond to some of the questions they (adolescents) always ask about by providing them with correct information, stressing that this findings would also give parents the opportunity to guide and provide information at the early age so that they wont experiment things that would make them nuisance in our society.

Director, HIV and AIDS/Acting Country Director, Population Council (PC), Dr. Sylvia Adebajo said the young adolescence and young people in Nigeria have a lot of questions, challenges and issues that they would want answered by people most especially their parents but they find it very hard to get information from them, noting that this is one avenue where one can at least vouch for correct information which is an intervention that is very important.

She further stated that part of what PC is doing is to organize training, educate them and building capacity of some members of the community to be better advocates, adding that there is no point in adults advocating for the youths but they are the ones that would advocates for their needs and be able to interpret the data themselves. Global Programme Director, OneWorld, UK, Uju Ofomata-Aderemi noted that the youths are the leaders of tomorrow and reproductive health whereby people don’t go around using the term ‘sex’, noting that if their reproductive health is affected and its going to affect every areas of their lives.

Aderemi said that the findings is crucial by making sure that facilities are there to support youth reproductive health, meeting their needs and ensuring that they are accessible, stating that they need to publicise and have an integrated approach whereby everybody would not be replicating things. Education as a Vaccine (EVA) is being collaborated by OneWorld UK and Population Council sponsored by MacArthur Foundation.

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