Igede-Ekiti, Nigeria – On Monday, April 3, 109 students at #Ekiti Baptist High School attended the Adolescents Interactive Seminar put on by Sephamid Bridge Foundation (SBF), which focused on properly educating and equipping students with knowledge on sexual and reproductive health and rights.
The topic of sexual and reproductive health should not to be shielded away from but tackled head on. The age of adolescents is 13 to 19, a vulnerable and influential time in their lives. SBF seeks to educate and help guide adolescents to better understand their bodies.
Four main guest speakers were in attendance at Monday’s seminar, each addressing issues surrounding sexual and reproductive health and all provided the students with tools to lead a safer life.
Esther Ene Onoja, a linguist, started the seminar off. Onoja spoke on self-esteem, the beliefs and values one places on oneself. She explained to the students the difference between negative and positive self-esteem. To live a positive life students should try not comparing oneself to others, engage in exercises, always try their best, and focus on what makes them happy.
Namas Sarah Stephen, a microbiologist, addressed initiation of sexual activity. Stephen stressed to students the need to delay sexual activity and practice abstinence until one is ready to marry. The consequences of sexual activity during adolescents can lead to sexually transmitted infections (STIs), sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and HIV/AIDS an incurable and life threatening disease.
Adesina Toyin, a biologist, discussed unwanted pregnancy and unsafe induced abortion and the penalties of both. An unwanted pregnancy leads to the unfortunate reality of school authorities not allowing a student to stay in school, effecting the educational outlook for the student. Toyin explained how unsafe induced abortions come with severe health implications, such as, death, inability to conceive or bear a child later in life.
Jolasinmi Olalekan, an educationist, concluded the speakers list and spoke of substance abuse, sexual violence and total abstinence. Olalekan detailed the effects of substance abuse and encouraged the students not to engage in any drug use. He went on to state the importance for adolescent men to never abuse any female sexually because it is against the law of God and man. Olalekan encouraged students to report to a trusted elder, parent or school counselor if anyone tires to sexually harass them.
The students of Ekiti Baptist High School asked some insightful and pointed questions that are worth mentioning. Momoh Precious, in SS2, asked, “What is the first step a girl who is raped should take?” School counselors Mr. Odewale and Mrs. Obaye answered by stating that a visit to hospital needs to happen immediately along with informing the incident to parents and later to law enforcement.
“If parents are the one encouraging their children into bad actions, what should such a child do?” asked by SSI student, Alagbe Joseph. Mrs. Adewemimo, a representative from the Ministry of Health said that a student should approach a trusted spiritual leader for counsel, which Mr. Odewale adding that the student should stand and do what is right.