The topic of condom distribution in Rwandan Secondary Schools has become a heated debate throughout the country. Those in favor of distributing them argue that; free condom distribution ensures that teenagers practice safe sex and that the rate of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy will decline. While those who are against the campaign claim the move will only encourage sexual activity and foster the idea that premarital sex is acceptable.
This initiative did not only create a pool of mixed reactions from parents and teachers, but also cultural leaders and the elderly who, critically object to the idea of their teenager grandchildren getting a green card to have pre-marital sex.
Aldephonse Rwakayonde, an Octogenarian and the Head of Iwacu Gallery in Kimisagara, says the distribution of condoms in schools would only encourage students to engage in sexual relations and promote immorality.
“We should instead promote morality and advise our children to abstain. The solution to unwanted pregnancies and HIV/AIDS in schools should be focused on educating students about the dangers of engaging in sex before marriage,” said Rwakayonde.
People should know that it takes more than condoms to prevent teenage pregnancy, promiscuity and disease. It takes values that are taught in the home by parents.
According to 89-year-old Mzee Ezra Mpyisi, children should be taught the importance of abstinence so that they concentrate on their academics and not sex.
“To say that condoms be introduced to these young children means we have lost our sense of direction and morals,” Mzee Mpyisi asserted.
Adding that, “We should promote abstinence and emphasize the postponement of sexual activity by encouraging these youth to embrace abstinence. How do I start encouraging my young girls to engage in sexual activity instead of concentrating on their academics?” he asked.
Liberat Muhoracyeye a 64-year-old mother was of the view that people including teenagers, “are going to do what they want in private whether we like it or not and that if there’s anything that can be done to prevent HIV/AIDS, pregnancy or other STDs we’d better take it.”
Muhoracyeye said it is better for parents if their children are educated, safe and protected.
“I would rather have my children educated and safe, than dumb, pregnant or diseased. It is my belief that condom distribution in high schools would make many students feel very comfortable and happy to know that they have some protection available for them.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Let us not bury our heads in the sand and wish for things to get better. We’d have to be foolish to look at any other way,” Muhoracyeye said.
Since its common knowledge that teenagers are at a stage in their growth where body hormones and changes are active, they should be taught how to deal with their situation.
While hormones encourage promiscuity, condoms encourage responsibility and safe sex. It somehow allows teenagers to be more responsible for their actions but, providing young people with condoms should be opted for as a last resort.
Students need to open up and talk to their parents and, let them know what really is going on in their lives. A good parent will advise and help direct you in the right path.
Parents also need to be friends with their children; when teenagers do not receive a clear message concerning the love and support of their parents, often, they seek that love and support in a romantic relationship.
Moreover, when the threat of losing their source of love arises, teenagers (especially) girls will do almost anything, even give up their virginity, to preserve the relationship.