By Aminata Ceesay
Care for Sexual Reproductive Health has recently started a three-day summer camp at Alliance Francaise.
The purpose of the summer camp is to equip young boys and girls with sufficient knowledge tp protect themselves from infections, violence and to have a clear understanding of puberty.
Speaking at the opening, Fatou Sanneh Ceesay highlighted the essence of raising awareness on sexual and reproductive health issues, which she described as crucial to the development and growth of children, most especially the girl child.
“The organization’s main objective is to raise awareness on issues relating to the reproductive health of girls. This includes breaking social, cultural and economic barriers that continue to hinder their smooth transition into adulthood.
“This summer camp is tailored to meet the capacity needs of young boys and girls by equipping them with the requisite skills and information needed in protecting themselves from infections, violence and most importantly avail them the opportunity to have a clear understanding of their menstrual cycle and how they can protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies and make safe and sound sexual choices. We also aim to change perceptions, attitudes and behaviors that condone and justify violence against women and girls most especially regarding early and forced marriages and female genital mutilation, amongst others.
“Ensuring sexual and reproductive health and realizing reproductive rights is an integral part of this summer camp, hence the need to bring in experts who will be dwelling on different thematic areas. As we know, there is a complex link between sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender equality and women’s empowerment.
“We need to strengthen our health systems. We need comprehensive sexuality education. We need gender-responsive and rights-based healthcare. But we also need to improve the legal and justice system, the education system and most importantly, we need to reach out to the young, at an early age and talk about issues of sexual and reproductive health with the younger generation to impact lives.”
Kunle Adeniyi, the country director UNFPA, said: “The health of adolescents is strongly affected by social factors at personal, family, community, and national levels.
“Since health and health behaviors correspond strongly from adolescence into adult life, the way that these social determinants affect adolescent health are crucial to the health of the whole population and the economic development of nations.
“During adolescence, developmental effects related to puberty and brain developmental lead to new sets of behaviors and capacities that enable transitions in family, peer, and educational domains, and in health behaviors.”
Momodou Njie, the director for health promotion, called on the people to advocate and address gender-base violence and other abuses face by women and girls.
He said: “I urged all organizations to continue in advocating for the advancement of the girl child at the grassroots, community, national and international levels.”