YOUTH - Sexuality education can break teen pregnancy scourge

2021-04-14

AT the age of 18, most girls are thinking about studies, fancy clothes or parties. But for Rauha Sanders, the scourge of an unplanned teenage pregnancy snatched all that from her – and she’s now raising her two-year-old son.

Sanders (20), says hers was a bumpy journey, although she completed matriculation.
She is now an ardent advocate of Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) to empower and protect the girl child.
The second of four siblings, she told The Quake the tribulations of her teen life journey.
Sanders is a coordinator at the Adolescents and Youth Health plus Centre in Ondangwa. It was established by the Society for Family Health in Namibia with the Ministry of Health, to provide comprehensive sexuality education to young people.
This gives pupils the knowledge, attitudes, skills, and values to make appropriate and healthy choices about their sexual lives.
“Being a teenage mother was the hardest time of my life. There is no glam in having a baby when you are fresh out of high school,” she advises.
“Had it not been for my family’s support, who knows what other statistic I would have been as I was physically and emotionally drained by that experience.”
Namibia faces a huge challenge of teenage pregnancies. The Ministry of Education says 3 323 schoolgirls fell pregnant during the March-July 2020 Covid-19 lockdown.
This, she says, proves that young people need guidance on matters of sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health. This would deter them from blindly experimenting with sex as some experiments would backfire on them.
Sanders said teenage pregnancy requires one to be emotionally and psychologically strong, because it involves one child giving birth to another child.
“Pregnancy comes with many expectations, as one must become mature the instant they fall pregnant, regardless of their
age,” Sanders said adding that teenage pregnancy also comes with stigma.
“People hurled insults at me for falling pregnant while I was improving on my subjects,” she said.
She draws strength from her experiences to teach youths, especially girls, to take their well-being and education seriously
and to abstain from sex until after school.
“CSE teaches pupils the dangers of engaging in teenage sex. Boys are taught to delay becoming sexually active, be responsible, respectful and caring partners when they get into relationships as this would reduce gender-based violence cases in society,” she said.
Health minister Kalumbi Shangula said tackling the health issues for youths requires well-coordinated multi-layered
approaches.
He said while the education ministry is commended for letting girls who fall pregnant attend class until four weeks before delivery, and to return after giving birth, society must support teenage mothers more.
Sanders plans going to university and tackling myths on women’s sexuality.

By: TUYEIMO HAIDULA (tuyeimoivawa@gmail.com)

Download the full The Quake insert here