As a parent would you subscribe to sitting and talking with your adolescent or young son or daughter about his or her contraceptive options? This question came up while in a meeting organized by the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Initiative (NURHI) to do a Net Mapping of Adolescent and youth (15-24years) family planning situation in Oyo State.
Hmmmn…it is one thing to have sexuality/sexual education talks with your growing child but another to actually now give him or her the option that seems to encourage engaging in sex. Being a mother I would want my children to abstain from sex until they are in a committed relationship (Marriage). My church mind believes in celibacy/chastity until marriage. And since I was successful at waiting until I tied the knot with the love of my life and😍 I would love to encourage my children to do same. Why would I want them to take the option of abstinence? Having sex means taking responsibility for the emotional complications and other things that could come up such as sexually transmitted diseases; becoming a young mother or father as a result of unplanned pregnancy and having to hold on from achieving their dreams should this happen.
However,the world is more complex than our own growing up years. Children are exposed to all kinds of sexual choices. As tough as it might seem, if a child becomes actively involved in sex in spite of all the abstinence preaching then it might be wise as a parent to educate your son/daughter about contraceptive options that will enable them to protect themselves against some of the consequences such as unplanned pregnancies and Swiss. As for the emotional issues that can occur, I don’t have a solution to for now.
When it comes to unplanned pregnancy many teenage girls and adolescent are at the receiving end.Young people are often experimental and therefore engage in sexual activities. Often when a girl has a baby growing in her womb she is still in school with her future still ahead of her. The baby becomes a threat to her achieving her dreams and goals and soon she and the father of the baby if he even accepts responsibility for the pregnancy decide to get rid of the baby through abortion.
We may need to change our stereotype minds and educate young people about their contraceptives options while also preaching abstinence and its benefits. This will help our adolescents to make informed choices and hopefully, they will make the right choices that will not hurt them and their future.
Amongst Facilitators were: Stella Akinso – State Team Lead NURHI, Oyo State Mallam Kabir Abdullahi – State Team Lead NURHI, Kaduna State Barr. Oris Ikkideh
Adebisi Adetunji (C) BusyBee Media for Social Change & Development Phone: +(234)-07083403146, E-mail – email@example.com.
Vasectomy, now this sounds like a big word that people often wonder what it means? It is simply a male permanent contraceptive. Usually, a minor surgical procedure is carried out which prevents sperms that can fertilize a female’s egg from getting across during sexual intercourse in simple terms. It is a contraceptive method used by couples who do not want to have any more children.
This is one family planning method that men are afraid of taking up especially in our African setting. This is because they are afraid that it might affect their libido and ability to enjoy sex with their spouses/partners. Even my fellow women clan refuse to support their men in taking this option 😀😀. Rest easy performing a vasectomy does no harm to a man’s libido or sexual performance. Many men worry about the risks involved in doing a vasectomy so learn more about it to make an informed choice.
Vasectomy is simply a shared responsibility in a couple’s family planning efforts know more about your contraceptive options as a couple.
Back to my question would you be willing to try the option of Vasectomy? Share your thoughts.
BusyBee Media for Social Change & Development
While waiting to board the bus en route to my destination (Calabar) on an official assignment this young lady, Amara(not real name) who sat beside me suddenly sighed out loud. Unknowingly she voiced out her thoughts, “How long will I continue to do this”, she mumbled. I was sited beside her and since we had been chatting earlier on about life in general, I took the liberty to ask her what the matter was in a concerned tone. Amara said she wish a man would come and whisk her off in marriage. She was tired of selling in a shop at the bus station. Enquiring further about how long she had been there, Amara said 7 years.
It has been 7 long years for her working at her uncle’s wife’s shopwithout getting paid. Amara was simply tired of this life that made her future look bleak. In her mind’s eye, the ticket to her freedom was getting married. Her hope is to have a man set her up for a business. I listened to her talk about her life and frustration then I gently told her that marriage is not the answer to the kind of freedom she dreamed of.
I shared with her the importance of having a job or some kind of trade of her own. Something to empower and give her financial freedom. Our discussions further revealed that she had finished her secondary school education and also has acquired skills in fashion designing(sewing clothes). I then encouraged her to pursue this business while waiting for the right man to come. It seemed to me that she had no choice but to live with her uncle’ wife who by the way had died. The widow housing her is probably doing her best to feed and cloth Amara including her own children.
After my attempt to inspire Amara to pursue her dreams she had this to say…”Some girls are lucky; they get married and their husband sets them up in a business. Why can’t my own be like that?”. I kept quiet and thought to myself … “you may never understand the reality of her world”. Soon Amara stood up trying to chat with some men and bus drivers who work at the station. As I boarded my bus on the way to my destination, I hoped that things will turn out well for Amara; I hoped that she will not fall into the hands of men who will take advantage of her.
I wished that I lived in her town to possibly still keep in touch and help link her to opportunities and resources but all I had were my few words of counsel. Many young girls are out there just hoping for a brighter future like Amara. Perhaps if she had a higher education maybe her life might be easier in getting a paying job.
A lot of girls out there who come from a humble and economically struggling background as I have observed believe that finding a husband who will provide for them is the answer to their financial troubles. Maybe a few girls get lucky but often these girls find themselves in tougher situations when the man cannot provide as they had hoped.
We need to educate our girls/women; we need to empower them. It starts with each family, don’t just allow your girl/daughter to only sell for you in your shop, ensure that she is truly empowered for the future. Marrying her off is not the answer to your economic and financial problems.You may soon have to care for her and her babies if the man is irresponsible. This will become a big burden. You can also share this wisdom with people who think like this as they come your way in the marketplace, bus station, taxi or wherever.
Educate a Girl, Give her a better future To empower a woman is to empower a family and nation.
The campaign to end female genital mutilation and cutting (FGMC) has been on for many years, yet it is still been practiced by many people and communities across the world. Statistics show that FGMC is practiced in about 28 countries across the world. It is said that 3million girls are at risk of being cut per year. This then is a serious problem.
Why all the hulabulah about ending FGMC or female circumcision as some people say, after all boys are also circumcised? Itis different in the sense that this practice is a violation of the human/sexual rights of the girl child and women on many levels.
A girl is primarily cut in the vagina because society does not want her to be promiscuous; it is a right of passage to womanhood; a guarantee to be able to get married in the community. Cutting her clitoris or other parts of her vagina is meant to deaden any sexual urge that could make her look for a man to sleep with. No wonder then that after she gets married, she cannot achieve sexual satisfaction. This becomes a problem in the relationship as the man becomes also dissatisfied and looks for sexual enjoyment from other women.
A story in point: A man got married to a woman, not from his tribe where girls are circumcised. At first, this wasn’t an issue for him as he simply loved her and wanted to marry her. Many years later after they have both had children he suddenly wakes up one day to say that he wanted her to get circumcised. What changed? His family put pressure on him that it was their custom to cut their girls and women therefore since she is married to their son, she had to go through it. In order to save her marriage, this woman went ahead to be circumcised. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain she went through at such an adult age. Soon afterward the couple began to have issues with their sex life. As I write this the marriage collapsed as the man went in search of sexual satisfaction elsewhere. This woman was whole why cut her and create problems?
Why Behavioral Change is difficult: Points of discussion in the Workshop
Behavioral or attitudinal change takes time because it has to do witha belief system which would probably have been in practice for a long time. People do not change easily but with continuous dialogue and sensitization then a change is possible.
There is need to also understand why people or communities practice FGMC.Contrary to beliefs it is not intended to harm the girl but to celebrate her womanhood in many communities. Unfortunately, the adverse effects on the life of women, girls, and families are enormous. This include birth complications.
Engaging in dialogue andcontinuous intervention programs with practitioners will help to convince and change stereotype minds.
Medicalization of the practice of female genital mutilation and cutting : it has been discovered that some health workers in some communities encourage this practice. This is because they also come from such background and believe in upholding this culture. Messages targeted at making it clear it is unethical was designed to reach this group.
To achieve Behavioral change on any issue or practice there is need to create effective messages in appropriate formats in order to reach the target audience.
It is necessary to make an assessment from time to time the progress made in bringing about the attitudinal change.
At the workshop on Advocacy & behavioral Change messages to accelerate the abandonment of FGMCparticipants’ drawn from various groups, professions from different parts of Nigeria assessed old messages to know whether they are appropriate and effective as new ones were developed.
If the practice of killing of twins and tribal marks could be abandoned then it is possible to end FGMC
Benjamin C. Mbakwem,
FGM/C Consultant for Ebonyi & Imo State
UNICEF Enugu Field Office
Toyin Afachung, Communication for Development Consultant
Recently while talking to Mariam(not real name) who was delivered of her baby girl a few months ago, she revealed something that surprised me and I was touched. We were simply talking about certain cultural practices that are harmful to the wellbeing of our children. After she had her baby, a discussion between her mother-in-law and some older women took place. There was a plan to circumcise Mariam’s little girl but there was, however, a stumbling block. Mariam’s mother-in-law knew that she was stubborn and wondered what to do about ensuring that the old custom is upheld in the interest of her granddaughter or so it seems. One day this mother-in-law finally presented the matter to Mariam who stood her ground in refusing to have her daughter cut in the vagina. An argument ensued but Mariam prevailed. She points blank told her mother-in-law that she would not allow anyone to cut her little girl! And I must also commend Mariam’s husband here who supported the decision not to allow their daughter to be cut. I mean he could have sanctioned the plan to do this in the name of not wanting to offend his family.
I was surprised that this practice of mutilating girls in their vagina was still been practiced amongst the educated elites.Often we think that some harmful practices that we try to create awareness about with the intention of ending it, is simply a problem common among the uneducated rural. This is not the case many times.
So dear woman,do not sit on the fence thinking that there is nothing you can do about ending any form of abuse or practice that can be harmful to your child. Yes, a lot of times, particularly in our strong African cultural heritage men, decide something’s but this is not to say you should not speak up when it is a matter of what could harm you or your child.
Speaking up and saying NO, is the first step in protecting our girls from child marriage, female genital mutilation and cutting(FGMC) and other forms of harmful practices.
This post was inspired by discussions from a workshop on Advocacy & behavior Change Messages Development to abandonment of FGMC that I am participating in. It is put together by Civil Source Development & Documentation Cenre(CIRDDOC) Nigeria in partnership with UNFPA