The youth have a right to access basic education on Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health (ASRH) to avoid early pregnancies, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
This call was made by different officials on Saturday in Rubavu District during an open day on ASRH organised by Imbuto Foundation.
The event attended by primary and secondary school students, parents, guardians as well as local leaders was also an opportunity for over 250 young people to test for HIV/Aids.
John Ntigengwa, the head of health unit at Imbuto Foundation said the organisation has embarked on a campaign to help youth between 10 and 24 years access basic knowledge on ASRH.
“Children miss basic education on sexual reproductive health and risk facing serious consequences. We want them to understand that it is their right and encourage them to visit nearby health centres to get such information,” he said.
He said parents are reluctant to talk to their children about sex and challenged them to defy odds and discuss the topic so as to avoid the consequences.
During the event, Kenia, 19, shared her experience of how she was duped by a ‘boy-friend’ who impregnated her forcing her to drop out of school.
“He impregnated me because I lacked basic knowledge on sexual reproductive health. I am the one who faced the consequences. It is therefore good that my peers acquire this knowledge,” she said.
Josepha Ingabire, 18 and a student at G.S Saint Kizito Busoro said parents rarely share with their children information about sexual reproductive health.
“Parents and teachers need to develop the culture of talking to us. I hope this will enable us become good parents in future,” Ingabire said.
Rachel Nyirasafari Rusine, the vice-mayor in charge of social affairs pledged to work closely with parents, educators and health centres to educate the youth about sexual reproductive health.
She urged young people to be on the look out for people who may deceive them and lure them into early sexual intercourse. He advised them to wait until they are adults, old enough to have dependable partners.
The programme was launched in February 2012 and is being implemented in 27 health centres located in six districts with more than 13,000 beneficiaries.