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BOFWA trains young advocates on SRHR

Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) is an object that affects young people's lives in a similar or even higher manner as their adult counterparts. The phenomenon can no longer afford to be ignored or given a blind eye more especially among the young people who are widely seen as the sexually active.

By Mothusi Jowawa

Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) is an object that affects young people's lives in a similar or even higher manner as their adult counterparts. The phenomenon can no longer afford to be ignored or given a blind eye more especially among the young people who are widely seen as the sexually active. In a global feat to curb the scourge among the youth, nations agreed during the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) of which Botswana was among the countries which signed the treaty held in 1994 in Cairo. As a way of bringing young people on board to know more about their rights as far as sexual reproduction and health are concerned, a campaign which has been simply dubbed the 15 and Counting is ongoing under the theme Count me in.

"It has been 15 years since our country agreed at international level to commit to address issues of SRH &R as well as provide user friendly services to the young people of this country. However, most of you will agree with me that a lot has not been achieved as a far as these issues are concerned and it is among you as the young people to take the government to task", said Botswana Family Welfare Association (BOFWA) Chief Executive Officer Mma Cally Ramalefo. The programme of action to address these factors include exploring among other things, areas of international migration, international cooperation, composition, structure, role and right of the family, population growth, structure, development and education, gender equality, equity and empowerment of women as well as reproductive rights and health. The governments have the role coming up with policies aimed at addressing these areas and as such it has proven to be lacking when it comes to implementation hence the need to involve the Non Governmental Organisations or the civil society to assist with implementation.

The UNFPA Assistant Representative Sarah Masale provided that the ICPD Programme of Action as adopted put people at the centre of development. The programme calls for the collection and analysis of population data to guide equitable policy decisions and positions reproductive health, including family planning and the healthy relationships and well being of individuals as a human right.

In spite of being signed in 1994, the achievement of the ICPD goals in consistent with the success of the 2000 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It therefore becomes imperative to successfully implement the ICPD action plan in order for the MDGs to be realized.

Some of the presenters at the highly educative and interactive 2-day workshop included the BOFWA Youth Action Movement President Goitseone Pampiri, who presented on the Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, officials from the Ministry of Health as well as BOFWA Special Projects Coordinator Diana Opolot who gave a whole day presentation on advocacy. (Mmegi, Mynews)