’take Youth On Board’

| May 13, 2015

The ministries of education and skills development as well as health hosted an Eastern and South African (ESA) country dialogue to reflect on the success and challenges of the ESA commitment to Adolescents and Young People’s Needs and Rights.

The purpose of the dialogue was to inform and update leaders and policy makers on the rationale behind ESA Ministerial Commitment, reflect on country progress on milestones achieved in the implementation of the ESA Commitment since affirmation in 2013, share 2015 draft plans with a g monitoring and evaluation emphasis that are in line with the targets in the commitment and agree on the establishment of a High Level Reference Committee for the National Coordination.

In her address on the commitment of her ministry to the ESA Ministerial Commitment, the Minister of Education and Skills Development, Dr Unity Dow emphasised the importance of engaging youth when dealing with issues that affect them.

Dr Dow said it was very important that the feedback, challenges, concerns as well as suggestions that young people have in terms of re-shaping issues of sexuality education and sexual reproductive health (SRH) were noted and addressed.

By doing so, she said the youth would find all initiatives that government came up appealing, useful and begin to make use of them.

The Minister of Health, Ms Dorcas Makgato shared the sentiments, saying it was important that sexuality education and SRH services were made as youth friendly as possible to ensure that young people also had access to quality and comprehensive sexuality education.

The youth, she said had their own needs and their own way of doing things adding it was very critical that “we hear their voice and views and learn their language for us to service them well.”

“The most important thing is to ensure that all initiatives that we come up with are tangible, relevant and effective, because at the end of the day we will only say we have achieved only if they have the desired impact in the lives of the youth as they are intended for them,” she added.

Giving a background of the ESA Commitment and the ESA Ministerial Commitment, MoESD’s deputy permanent secretary (Support Services), Mr Leonard Mutheto said child upbringing was a collective responsibility.

He said the 21 countries had agreed to collectively engage one another by ensuring that there were supportive legal frameworks, policy provisions and pronouncements, programmes, projects and activities, in place, to facilitate the achievement and realisation of the ESA Commitment objectives.

Therefore, as a country, Mr Mutheto said, Botswana could do two critical things to be in the forefront of driving the ESA agenda and to bring on board all other stakeholders.

The first one, he said was ensuring access to comprehensive sexuality education, such as teaching young people about methods of preventing HIVAIDS, early and unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and providing and developing in them skills to explore their own values, goals and options.

“The second critical thing that we can do, as a nation, is to ensure adequate youth friendly SRH services and these include high quality widely available health care that offers affordable, convenient and standardised services,” he added.

Twenty-one countries in ESA affirmed a commitment to better comprehend sexuality education and sexual reproductive health for young people.

These countries, are Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Human Rights

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