In modern-day times, the issue of sexuality is an aspect of reproductive rights, which is internationally recognized as critical to the advancement and promotion of adolescent human rights. However, under the African culture, open discussions on certain issues on sexuality are regarded as taboo. Cultural norms forbid the teaching about sexual relations and each person is supposed to find out all there is to know by experience.
Ironically, there are some cultural practices having sexual connotations that young adolescent girls are encouraged to become involved in and in which they are tutored from childhood. Such issues relate to the puberty stage of the adolescent girl and are commonly linked with rituals, festivity and celebrations. Closely linked with these cultural practices that have an effect on the sexuality of the adolescent girl are various myths that ensure conformity.
On the other hand, many a time these messages have been sugarcoated in the name protecting cultural and other societal norms, ending up in distortion let alone misinformation.
The Center for Health Human Rights and Development has made tremendous strides in the dissemination of sexual reproductive health rights information to the youth and adolescents in the districts of Manafwa, Kiboga and Kyankwanzi.
This is done through sensitizing and building capacity of selected youth and adolescent representatives, who in turn go down to the communities and spread the word to their peers.
I will borrow the words of a renowned law professor who once said, “We are all products of sex, so we can’t be ashamed to talk about it”. I’m almost certain that we are all agreeable to this fact.
Denial to speak about sex and sexuality is a rather disastrous trend, as it deprives people, particularly youth and adolescents, women and girls, of their right to health information. This has greatly contributed to an increase in complications relating to sexual reproductive health especially in the far-to-reach rural communities.
By Vivian Nakaliika