Knowing Series is an Adolescent Reproductive Health program -refered to as “OFOFO” in Yoruba- aimed at equipping young people with knowledge and skills on their Sexual and Reproductive Health to assist them in making informed decisions about their lives.
The Knowing Series for the month of June was held on 28th June in celebration of the birthday of one of K&TRC’s volunteers, Maosi Henon, a lady with passion to see young people achieve their full potentials.
The program started at exactly 11:20am and was anchored by a volunteer, Iyanuoluwa with a total number of 50 participants consisting of 40 females and 10 males.
An opening prayer was said by one of the In-School young persons present. The facilitators, the school’s representative -Mr. Bode and the celebrant were invited to the high table and thereafter the celebrant, Maosi Henon was called upon to give a short charge and welcoming of the participants. She started by asking the boys to stand up to take a chastity pledge which encouraged them not to sexually exploit girls but to see them as their sisters.
The girls were also called upon to take their own chastity pledge and an affirmation speech stating their worth and promotion of keeping themselves chaste; she encouraged them not to look down on themselves no matter their backgrounds, past or mistakes but looking ahead and drawing inspirations from role models and those who were already successful. She closed by calling out a birthday mate and a dear friend to the high table by name Saudiq. He spoke about people not speaking out on things that matters and also encouraged the participants to always speak up about things that concern them.
Deinde Becky, K&TRC’s program assistant was called upon to give an overview of Adolescent and Reproductive Health of young people. She started by getting feedback from the young people on the meaning of an adolescent. She outlined the expectations parents and societies have on adolescent which sometimes could put a lot of pressure coupled with the conflict of personal identification. She talked about physical and emotional changes which if not well monitored by parents and guidance provided, could make young people open to certain social vices and violence such as sexual abuse, drug abuse, rape etc. because of the behavior they had adopted from peers or other sources. She emphasized on the dangers of such behaviors and the consequences such as getting infected with HIV and other STIs, unplanned and unsafe abortion etc.
She concluded by doing a recap of the overview of Adolescent SRH, sexual abuse and domestic violence situation in Nigeria in Yoruba language to drive the message home.
Afterward, Miss Roseline, another volunteer of K&TRC took the session on Introduction to Life Building Skills to curb issues of sexual abuse. She started with an energizer and asked a student her opinion on what Life Building Skill is. Roseline said that there are categories of Life Building Skills which are critical thinking, assertiveness, relationship building, etc
According to her, Critical thinking helps young people to consume information in a better way. She gave examples of women who had overcome their past and doing well today e.g Funke Akindele and Linda Ikeji.
Assertiveness is a much needed skill to help one stand firm, speak firmly but politely. She also talked about when building relationship which requires one to be selective with whom to pass information to.
K&TRC’s Director, Programs, Folashade Bamigboye was invited to the podium to speak on “How to conduct Advocacy”. She started by appreciating the school authority for providing the platform and the celebrant for using the Knowing Series to celebrate her birthday in a very impactful way. She mentioned teachers as stakeholders for creating change for adolescents. She asked for five volunteers among the students to give their opinion on the advocacy tips presented; what the young people said centered around need for security consciousness, how to be good advocates for change on young people’s issues, how a young person’s voice can be heard and how to speak for young people who had been raped.
Folashade responded by encouraging the young people to start small by being sensitive to issues around their environment and walking up to relevant stakeholders such as teachers, religious and traditional leaders, government, etc to advocate for a change.
Finally, Mrs. Oloruntoba, a teacher from the school was invited to the podium to give the vote of thanks. In her speech she said that the teachers are not keeping quiet, they will make sure they put more efforts to make sure the students get informed about their sexual and reproductive health regularly.
Group photographs were taken, gifts and Sanitary pads were given to the students and other participants presents. everyone departed with a song for the celebrant.