Health

DEVELOP ASSERTIVE SKILLFULNESS FOR IN EFFECT COMMUNICATION AND IMPLEMENTATION ON COMPREHENSIVE SEXUAL EDUCATION

BY TENDAI SAUTA

SAFAIDS in conjunction with UNESCO brought together the media fraternity at local hotel for a sensitization meeting on best way forward on developing assertive skillfulness for on effect communication on comprehensive sexual education in schools and the community at large. The meeting which had a live and virtual interaction under ‘Secure the Future’ project, was meant to collaborate with Civil Society and Youth Organizations in the SADC region to increase support for the renewed Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) Ministerial Commitment on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services for adolescents and young people that 21 SADC and East African countries made in 2021.
SAFAIDS Head of Country Programmes and Strategic Evidence, Chrispin Chomba who communicated through phone with the media said that the most critical thing is to spearhead an effective response in communicating with school going children and youth on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights is to provide a comprehensive curriculum for capacitating teachers, communicators and the children.
In response to a question that was brought forward by Gwen Mugauri of Star FM Chomba said that Comprehensive Sexual Education is lifelong learning that is provided to learners in an appropriate manner and it should be scientifically proven.
“Africa and Zimbabwe included, face a lot of challenges such as high prevalence of teenage pregnancies, illegal abortions, Sexual Transmitted Diseases and HIV AIDS. A lack of access to comprehensive knowledge on sexuality leads to children experimenting with their own knowledge.”

SAFAIDS Programmes Manager, Ashley Ngwenya who provided a baseline information to the demand for Comprehensive Sexual Education through a PowerPoint presentation which revealed that limited resources, gender inequality, stock outs, distance to health service points, misinformation in communities, harmful cultural traditions, legislative legal barriers and opportunity costs and far more were the main impediments to effective provisions of Sexual and reproductive Health Rights Services and Comprehensive Sexuality Education.
“The renewed ESA Commitment is anticipated to increase political will and engagement on SRHR related to adolescents and youth at the country level and has contributed to formulations of new laws and policies or review of laws and policies around child marriage and education rights of pregnant learners. Additionally, the renewed Commitment is expected to foster and sustain design and roll-out of new CSE interventions and programmes for prevention of early and unintended pregnancy.”
“At regional level the ESA commitment will also sustain legitimacy and pressure for the achievement of targets by the Member States, among other key initiatives, and close significant gaps and address several barriers to realization of the ESA Commitment targets.” Said Ngwenya.
Ngwenya also revealed that the ESA Commitment Roadmap drawn for April to December 2021 had objectives such as to Uplift an Effective Media Campaign, Scale up participation and consultation of Civil Society and several cross cutting issues such as tracking and monitoring the ESA taskforce which include but not limited to organizations like Roots, SAFAIDS, WAG, Katswe Sisterhood, GALZ, ARC, SAYWHAT, Rosaria Mermaid Trust, Deaf Women, ZNFPC and ZIMNEDAO.
The meeting which was very interactive revealed several concerns from parents on engaging children to open up their feelings and knowledge on sexuality. One speaker revealed that several reports on girls and boys who escape from their homes in the evening for see me times have been brought forward to councilors. In addition was the general concern that parents lack sufficient knowledge on information technology for them to control access and age appropriate information for their children.
“Parents should do the walk and commit themselves to talk to their children.”
“There is inadequate structures to support commitment to accountability to SRHR services.”
“4000 grade seven students do not go to form one because they are pregnant.”
“Train Staff and provide youth friendly services.”
“Education, justice, gender and health activists and policy makers should come together and build up a contextually relevant approach to SRHR services and Education.”
“Engage the media right at the beginning to avoid concerptionalised oppositions.” Are some of the concerns that popped up from the media practitioners including a shocking observation from veteran Muchaneta Chimuka on a thirteen year girl who delivered through operation at a local hospital. The girl was dumped by her partner and faces several challenges which include lack and ill health.
The house resolved on governments to allow media to do its role in communication freely on issues on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights whilst driving implementation focused approaches rooted in the Abuja declaration which urged governments to allocate 15% of their budgets towards health gains.
“There is a need for trained health officers. What’s lacking in Zimbabwean Curriculum is a lack of implementation of Comprehensive Sexual education.”
“Every time conversations on CSE are centered on implementation. The Abuja Pronouncement states that 15% should go to health. Implementation requires financial resources.”

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