BAYA Social Enterprise is braving the security challenges in Bamenda, North West Cameroon to continue to provide pertinent sexual education and prevention services to girls.
“Let parents call a spade, a spade when it comes to providing sex and STI prevention education to adolescents at home. Let parents educate their kids about sex and the consequences of risky sexual activity so they can make informed choices,” says Mme Acha Zita of the North West Delegation of Social Affairs during the Nyanga Health Dialogue session with girl leaders, organized by BAYA Social Enterprise at the Cameroon Baptist Convention Nkwen, Bamenda on the 30th of January 2019.
The session served as a platform for these girl leaders to discuss their sexuality in an environment where they were made to feel at ease. The ice breakers and the down to earth nature of the presentations worked so well that you could feel the girls itching to discuss a topic normally considered taboo.
The Dialogue Session permitted the girls to understand the importance of sexual and reproductive health education and increase their awareness on sexual violence. It helped them to understand how the female reproductive system works and how it develops as they grow into adults.
“During puberty you can expect a lot of changes to your body. Your genitals will get bigger. In girls the breasts will grow and your vagina, uterus and fallopian tubes will develop… including hair growing around your genitals, under your arms and on your legs and arms…’’
“Parents need to create a safe space for dialogue with their kids so they can understand how to protect their bodies. Teach them according to their ages so they don’t get carried away so as to avoid causing more harm than good. Sex is a natural part of life, and it happens with or without sex education.” says Acha Zita
“Adolescents especially girls are vulnerable and more at risk of contracting HIV. The rate of unwanted pregnancy among young girls is now a global concern, reason why BAYA Social Enterprise through Nyanga Health with motto “let’s talk sex at home”, educates girl leaders to serve as peer educators and inspire their peers to make healthy decisions related to sex that does not expose them to the risks of STIs, HIV and unwanted pregnancies.’’ Rita Ngabir Yenjong Buriya, Director of BAYA Social Enterprise.
“BAYA focuses on creating safe spaces for parents and adolescent girls so they can freely discuss sex education. Senior sisters can discuss sex with younger ones because if we don’t discuss with them, the internet will do or their peers may give them wrong information” says Rita Ngabir Yenjong Buriya, Director of BAYA Social Enterprise.
“Back in the days, discussing about sex at home was a taboo which caused many girls to suffer in silence. Menstruating at an early age was considered as an abomination. I gained maturity at a very early stage in my life compared to my peers. My breasts developed when I was in primary five and many thought I was sexually active, and due to that, when my menses started, I hid it from my parents and managed the situation for a year; I used to bleed heavily. The day I will never forget is when I bled so heavily in class that they had to rush me to the hospital. The doctors and nurses assumed I had committed an abortion whereas that was not the case. A medication was given to me that stopped the bleeding immediately. For years, I took that same medication whenever I was bleeding. The unfortunate thing is that, it affected my marriage because I had miscarriages three times. This wouldn’t have happened if I had a right space to discuss my situation with my parents and if it I had the right information at the beginning,” added Rita Ngabir
Launched in June 2018, Nyanga Health for Every Woman also works to reduce HIV/AIDS prevalence among adolescent girls in Bamenda. On the sidelines of the Dialogue session, a free HIV screening session was organized for participants to know their status.
Maikem Emmanuela Manzie