SEXUAL & REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND RIGHTS (SRHR) AND MENSTRUAL POVERTY
Ensuring that every girl and boy has access to comprehensive sexuality education (CSE), and that menstrual poverty is decisively and effectively addressed are key requirements to creating an environment in which all children thrive; safely and equally.
Some estimates put it that one in ten girls in Africa miss school every month, because they don’t have access to (adequate) sanitary products, or because there aren’t safe, hygienic and private toilets to use at schools. Others are forced to use unsafe alternatives such as mattresses, clothes and newspapers every month to manage their periods.
Similarly, horrifying reports show that between 2010 and 2022, 160,800 teenage pregnancies were recorded in Namibia. During the last three of those years, pregnancy-related school dropouts have risen, peaking in 2021 at nearly 4,000 learners. All the while, reports from the Ministry of Health and Social Services show that only 24 percent of teens aged 15 to 19 use contraceptives, while 19 percent of girls in that age group had already experienced their first pregnancy.
From this context, it is clear that more needs to be done to champion comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) curricula that are responsive, accurate, appropriate and understandable in Namibian schools, while promoting increased access to dignified menstrual care among young people in the country.
Together with our partners and stakeholders, we are working to (a) reduce unintended and teenage pregnancies, (b) mitigate period poverty and (c) promote responsible sexual behaviour.
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