Young people, especially girls and young women faced significant barriers in accessing sexual reproductive health information and services before the COVID-19 crisis.
Now, due to the pandemic, there is a risk that young people accessing this life-saving information will move even further from their reach.
To address this risk, a one-day Community Forum for adolescent girls and young women was organised by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Youth Participatory Platform (YPP) in collaboration with the Lagos State Ministry of Youth in Abesan Youth Center, Alimosho, Lagos.
At the event, the CDC Secretary, Mosan Okunola LCDA, Mr. Olufemo Ojo, said “We must continue to provide young girls with information that empowers them to make informed decisions regarding their health and wellbeing.
“We need to ensure the rate of teenage pregnancy drops in the community. This program helps do that and we welcome more of such programs in the community.”
The UNFPA Youth Participatory Platform Coordinator, Elizabeth Williams, said that “Young people have the ability to contribute to society only when they are able to fulfil their true potential.
“When girls and young women have information on their sexual reproductive health, they would be able to protect themselves from unplanned pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections including HIV.
“It is our responsibility as a country to continue to provide this knowledge to girls wherever they are even in marginalised communities”.
At the event, she explained that 100 adolescent girls and young women were reached from different wards in Alimosho Local Government Area, adding that the programme was divided into two sessions.
The first session focused on preventive messaging on COVID19 where the girls were taught ways to prevent the spread and contracting of the COVID-19.
The second session was an interactive session where the girls were given a talk on prevention of pregnancy. They were taught the different contraceptive options available including abstinence while dispelling the myths and misconceptions on contraceptive use.
Also, dignity kits consisting of sanitary items such as menstrual pads and hand sanitsers were distributed to all the girls.
Also speaking, Dr. Amaka Haruna, explained that the choice of Alimosho for the programme was because it is the largest local government in Lagos with not many interventions implemented.
Dr. Amaka said the programme aims to empower every participant with life-saving information in order to enable them achieve their full potential in line with the UNFPA mandate.
The UNFPA Youth Participatory Platform is the UNFPA youth group of young person’s promoting the organisation’s mandate in South-Western Nigeria.
It serves as an interface between UNFPA and young people. The Youth Platform was established in 2015 to liaise with the State Programme Office to develop programmes that tackle the identified concerns of communities as well as to support the UNFPA Office with consultations and drafting implementation reports.
Over the years, UNFPA YPP has continuously advocated and educated local youth about the UNFPA mandate.