Close to 60 students convened at the 4th Bloggers’ Summit were upskilled in comprehensive sexuality education in line with digitalization.
Proud to have learned how to express openly in public on sexual and reproductive health issues and to fight for her rights as an adolescent, Hadia Kassim, 17, a female student from “lycée de la cite-verte” in Yaounde, Cameroon, praised the multiple sensitization campaigns launched by Plan International in several high schools and colleges nationwide.
Hadia Kassim was one of the 60 students empowered by Plan International Cameroon during the capacity-building session on sexual and reproductive health and rights that took place on Wednesday 28th of June 2023 at the 4th Bloggers’ Summit holding in Yaounde.
Thanks to her fluent intervention during the capacity-building session, Hadia Kassim was brought on stage to share knowledge with her peers. She was opportune to share the skills acquired so far in the course of the numerous educative and sensitization talks coupled with the digital advocacy competition organized in some high schools in May 2022, by Plan International Cameroon.
“I thank Plan Cameroon for this other session that has helped me to express myself. I pray their activities go a long way because thanks to this organization I can openly talk, I have a good number of skills acquired with them which could help me in my projects. I can also describe myself today as an agent of change, someone ready to empower others. I am a girl with rights, I am a girl who knows her rights.” said Hadia Kassim.
Empowering young girls & boys
Other students from the three public secondary schools which emerged winners of the digital advocacy contest, that is: “lycée de la cite-verte” in Yaounde II, the government bilingual high school of Emana in Yaounde I, and the government high school of Nkolmesseng in Yaounde V, were quizzed on key topics related to sexual and reproductive health and rights.
The session animated for close to three hours by the staff of Plan International Cameroon was aimed at encouraging the young participants to be actively involved as agents of change for youths’ rights online and gender equality and enlist them as ambassadors for the “Girls Get Equal campaign”.
Jacqueline Nkongla, sexual and reproductive health and rights lead alongside Doris Akungha Yong, gender equality and inclusion specialist upskilled and exchanged with these young boys and girls on issues such as puberty, menstrual periods, gender equality, unintended pregnancies, online abuse and harassment and how to advocate for their rights.
As underscored by the two female experts of Plan International Cameroon, many adolescents lack the knowledge required to make responsible decisions and are exposed to sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancy.
Talking of the role of young people as agents of change, Plan International’s communication and influencing specialist, Dr Eddy Patrick Donkeng highlighted the students on three main aspects to be taken into account. He talked of the 3H being: the heart, the head, and the hands which are indispensable in making things change positively.
At the end of the session, Dr. Donkeng said it was another opportunity seized by Plan International Cameroon, as media men are enablers of change just like young people who are equally agents of change. He outlined that, such an activity where all these actors are gathered brings more grease to their missions and vision.
“For us, it was a great opportunity to share knowledge, not only for them to understand and believe that they are true agents of change but secondly, we had to continue what we started a few weeks ago with the Ministry of youth affairs and civic education, on how to further engage young people against hate speech and other social ills…” Dr. Eddy Patrick Donkeng said.
Dr. Donkeng believes the informative session organized by Plan International Cameroon will further boost upcoming activities, as it was realized that there is a lot of potential among these young people.
“We are thinking on how to further involve them and create a platform where they can discuss and share issues concerning them…” He narrated.
Advocating for young people’s rights
The capacity-building session that took place as part of educative activities initiated by Plan International and its partner, the Cameroon bloggers association, appeared as a room of exchanges for young people to protect and advocate for their health, well-being, and dignity by providing them with a necessary toolkit of knowledge, attitudes, and skills.
As indicated by Plan International Cameroon, the organization aspires to be at the forefront of promoting and protecting all children’s rights, especially those of young girls, adolescents, and young women. In its Influencing strategy, Plan International recognizes that it must partner with and influence a wide range of players to catalyze sustainable, transformative change at scale, from local to global levels via effectively contributing to the realization of its theory of change: change in attitudes, norms and behaviors, change in policy, legal framework and budgets, and lastly, enhance social and economic resources and safety nets.