‘We need more safe spaces’



The provision of more safe spaces will enable young people to have the confidence and privacy needed to discuss issue related to their sexual reproductive health, teen pregnancy and early marriage.

The young people made the appeal for more safe spaces, especially in high density areas, where the mixed cosmopolitan nature of society renders them exposed to a myriad of situations such as the proliferation of unregulated services such as drinking places.

The youths were speaking during the Chitetezo national dialogue meeting in Lusaka.

The dialogue meeting had representatives from Lusaka, Western and Eastern provinces who comprised youths, district heads, guidance and counselling teachers as well as adolescent health and focal point personnel.

During the dialogue meeting, the young people expressed a desire to have deeper conversation with the parents and guardians on issues surrounding sexual reproductive health, child marriage and early pregnancies and how they can protect themselves from teen pregnancies and harmful practices.

“We would love to see more youth friendly spaces, in high density areas like Chawama, because they are a lot of young people who are seeking these services,” a presentation under Lusaka province read.

In response to the young people’s plea,  permanent secretary in the ministry of community development and social services Angela Kawandami said child marriages, teen pregnancies and harmful practices are intertwined challenges that demand a multi-faceted and collaborative approach.

“These challenges continue to afflict our communities, robbing our adolescents off their rightful opportunities and potential. Child marriage in particular, is a grave violation of human rights and a significant barrier to social and economic development,” she said, in a speech read by Director Social Services,

The permanent secretary said the ministry will continue to implement policies and programmes aimed at preventing child marriage and teen pregnancy while also providing support to those affected.

Restless Development received commendation for their commitment to education the youth, while the youth were urged to transfer the knowledge gained through to other youths in their respective communities.

The permanent secretary said the ministry is guided by the Children’s Code Act, and pledged to ensure that all relevant offices are capacited with resources to understand the children’s code thoroughly.

The Chitetezo project is supported by UNICEF and implemented by Restless Development in collaboration with the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services.