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Youth and COVID-19 Diaries:Empowering other young people with SRHR and COVID information

Gaborone: 23 year old Trevor Oahile’s lockdown diary
Date of diary: 8 May 2020

We are currently on day 36 of the extended lockdown. I must say though the lockdown has brought in a lot of changes in our lives, it has proven to be an effective way of slowing the spread on COVID-19 as the numbers are showing that we are registering low numbers of positive cases.
 

I want to commend our government for putting all these measures in place well in time; they are doing their best to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Life under lockdown is very challenging as we are all trying to adapt to new ways of doing things. As a university student, the lockdown has halted my studies so I am trying to use this time to do more research and catch up on subjects which I have been struggling with. I am getting more tutorials through free online courses and youtube videos. Of course this is quite expensive because data here is very costly, especially for us students who live on allowance.

We haven't experienced many health challenges in line with accessing sexual and reproductive health services,  but many young people have stopped going to the health facilities to access these services because due to measures introduced, it takes a very long time to get service and we are impatient to stay in lines all day. Other factors that have been inhibiting young people from accessing SRH services are the closure of the youth friendly service centres, scarcity of transport due to the lockdown, and also because of the current general fear of going to the hospitals.

Empowering other young people with SRHR and COVID information

Through the UNFPA supported radio show called Don't Get it Twisted which I co-host every Wednesday on Yarona FM, a youthful radio station, I share information with other young people on how they can protect themselves, protect others and contribute to the fight against COVID-19.

I also sensitize them on sexual reproductive health issues like the importance of continuing to use contraception during the lockdown to avert transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV and unintended pregnancies, where to access SRHR commodities, and how to take care of their mental health during this challenging times. 

Since Botswana registered quite a big increase in gender based violence cases during the lockdown, we have also been sharing information on where to report GBV, women shelters to call in case a survivor wants a safe space, numbers to call for psychosocial support and information to sensitize men and boys on fighting against GBV.

My advice to other young people is to continue accessing SRH services and using contraception to avoid the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases or unintended pregnancies. I also urge young people to take the corona virus seriously and to continue observing the lockdown protocols and follow the health regulations.

About the #YouthAndCOVID19 Series

The UNFPA East and Southern Africa Regional Office through its flagship programme for youth, the Safeguard Young People programme, has been engaging with young people in the region to find out how they are coping with the current COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of the project is to share best practices among the youth and to expose them to the many interventions and responses to COVID-19 that UNFPA and its partners have put in place during this time.

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