UNFPA calls for intensified peer education
Solwezi, June 10, 2013, ZANIS– United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) reproductive health programme authorities in Solwezi have called for intensified peer education in schools.
The UNFPA says this in order to reduce the incidences of HIV infections and pregnancies among pupils.
UNFPA supported reproductive health programme officer Clara Mwala made the call after visiting some schools in Chavuma, Zambezi west bank and Zambezi east were the agency is sponsoring peer education activities.
Ms Mwala said peer education activities are part of government policy aimed at reducing HIV infections and unplanned pregnancies through awareness creation.
She said UNFPA in the north western province is supporting peer education activities in selected schools which had shown high incidences of pregnancies among pupils.
She said the peer education activities are targeting young people in school and those out of school so that they can make informed choices to prevent HIV infections and other consequences that could interfere with their school such as early marriages and unplanned pregnancies.
Ms Mwala said peer education provides life skills that help pupils to become assertive to make responsible choices about their lives.
“The peer education programme exists for the benefit of young people. If we ignore targeting them with important information to prevent HIV infections and unplanned pregnancies, when we talk about development, we should not even think about it because the country will have a huge developmental problem in future,” she said.
Ms Mwala said that it was for this reason that school managers, public health officers and District Aids Coordination Advisers (DACAs) get involved in ensuring that the peer education activities are effective and sustained.
“When such programmes are coming through government to schools, take them seriously because we are trying to secure the future of young people. Find a way to keep the programmes alive and stop looking at them as unnecessary extra school work,” she said.
She was apparently reacting to Lingelengenda primary school senior teacher Godfrey Musamba who told her that peer education activities had stopped at the school because teachers think it was an extra burden on their normal school work.
Ms Mwala urged teachers to realise that their effort to educate children will be in vain if pupils are denied the right information resulting in unplanned pregnancies, HIV infections or end up in early marriages.