As part of activities to mark the 2021 International Youth Day with the theme “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health” Josémaria Escriva Foundation (JOSEF) a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) focused on Education and Health in Conjunction with The Challenge Initiative (TCI), Connected Advocacy and Edo State Ministry of Health organized series of outreaches on Reproductive health and sexuality amongst young persons in Edo state. The activities took place in Ekpoma, Auchi and Igueben Local Government Areas, Edo State.
Addressing some young person’s at Ekpoma, Esan West LGA, the Chief Responsibility Officer of JOSEF Comrade Dr. Obasanmi Jude said that the theme for the 2021 International Youth Day was apt in the sense that it has now been recognized globally that for there to be a transformation in the Food system, the youths must be involved. He recalled the Malthusian theory where the world’s population was increasing at a geometric rate while the food supply was increasing at an arithmetic rate despite the increasing innovations in the sector. He further stated that if youths are mindful with their reproductive health, they stand a better chance of regulating the world’s population and also food supplies. He concluded by saying that no meaningful transformation can be conducted without the active participation of young persons. He called on government, development actors (CSOs. NGOs, FBOs and CBOs) and individuals to support systems that engages and rewards young people who venture into agriculture and other endeavours of life.
On his part, the Demand Generation Officer of TCI Mr. Arome Andrew said that TCI was very much interested in the reproductive health of adolescents and youths and called on all to embrace the various life planning services that are available in the communities. If this is done, the youths have a possibility of having a fulfilled reproductive life. He commended JOSEF and Connected Advocacy for championing the course of Adolescents and Reproductive Health in the state.
Highlights of the events at the three centres were talks on Life Planning delivered by the Health Educator, Esan West, Etsako West and Igueben LGAs Mrs. Blessing Inegbenebor, Mr. Goodluck Uwenuyi, Benedicta Ukpoma respectively. The Reproductive Officer Esan West Mrs Otobore Philomena spoke on the need for young persons to obtain reproductive and clinical health care from government accredited health centers rather than patronizing quarks, to guide against sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancy and reduce unsafe abortion in their LGAs as there are trained nurses to render counseling and other services that the youths might which to uptake.
In their separate remarks, two Life Planning Ambassadors for Youths and Adolescents Miss. Racheal Abhulimen and Mr. Iyanuoluwa Damilare, urged young persons to be mindful of their relationships and work towards a better future. According to them, when young persons know themselves, they know where they are going to. There would be no future without youths as no healthy future without healthy youths. In other words, a healthy youth population would boost food production in the state.
Those present at the various centres had counseling on reproductive health other reproductive health services amongst others.
The Chairman, Edo State Technical Working Group for Adolescent and Youth Health Development (TWGAYHD), Dr. Bright Oniovokukor in his message to those that marked the day outside Benin City, appreciated the efforts of JOSEF, Connected Advocacy , TCI and the various Reproductive Health Offices for taking the commemoration of the International Youths Day 2021 beyond the Benin City to other Local Government. He expressed satisfaction that at least the three Senatorial Districts of Edo State were reached and efforts would be in place to ensure that no adolescent and youth in the state would be left out in subsequent events as it relates to adolescent and youths. He therefore called on all stakeholders to be ready and be responsive to calls and concern that affects the adolescent and young people as there should conscious efforts to prepare them from now on to take charge of the future.
Mr. Williams Okhueleigbe
M & E, Josémaria Escriva Foundation