MWAPE MWENYA, Lusaka
ABOUT 300 youths in Justine Kabwe ward in Mandevu Constituency in Lusaka have undergone training in sexuality and reproductive health in an attempt to improve women’s health and curb sexually transmitted infections (STIs) at community level.
Ward councillor Teddy Mwaba said in an interview that the awareness campaign is expected to reduce STIs and adolescent pregnancies.
Adolescents are said to be common victims of maternal deaths and complications caused by unsafe abortions.
Mr Mwaba said the training was conducted by DREAMS, a non- governmental organisation that is championing the social wellbeing of adolescent girls and young women.
“Access to information on sexual and reproductive health is vital for the youths as it deters them from engaging in illicit activities that are detrimental to their well-being,” Mr Mwaba said.
He said SAVE the Children and Southern African AIDS Information and Dissemination Service (SAFAIDS) have partnered with DREAMS in implementing the reproductive health programme in Mandevu.
The DREAMS which stands for – Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored and Safe – is an organisation that aims to reduce HIV infection among adolescent girls and young women in HIV prone areas within Zambia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
All the 10 DREAMS countries contributed almost half of the new HIV infections that occurred among adolescent girls and young women globally in 2014.
Meanwhile, Mr Mwaba has embarked on a fundraising campaign in a bid to empower 100 vulnerable women with entrepreneurial skills.
“I intend to raise K7,500 to buy 10kg flour and cooking oil for the women. I have managed to raise K2,000 towards the programme. I want the women to learn how to make samosa for their livelihoods,” he said.
He said the women in his ward also need training on how to manage small businesses to enable them make good use of their incomes.
Mr Mwaba said women and youths of Mandevu need to take advantage of income generating activities at micro level to create their own jobs.