Agene AKHERE, Benin
Women’s Health and Action Research Centre (WHARC) organized a capacity building workshop in collaboration with Save the Children for Very Young Adolescents (VYAs) on Puberty and Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) amongst some selected Secondary School Students in Benin City.
The one-day workshop targeted very young adolescents aged 10-14 years to build their capacity with respect to the physical and emotional changes which occur during puberty.
One of the participants at the workshop, Osamudiamen Agbontaen, an 11 year old J.S.S 3 student described man as the stronger vessel and woman as the weaker vessel and also said that, ‘‘parents always keep such knowledge from their children because puberty and SRH information are seen to be culturally and morally wrong to talk about’’.
Miss Toyin Owolabi, who is the Head of Research Unit and facilitator at the workshop said, “puberty is the developmental changes that occur in boys and girls which may begin earlier in girls than in boys’’.
She also stressed that at puberty both sexes have the physical ability to have a baby but it does not mean that the girl is ready to be a mother neither is the boy ready to father a child.
Miss Owolabi encouraged the young adolescents to have self dignity and show mutual respect for both boys and girls to become responsible older adolescents and healthy adults.
She also encouraged them to always share their thoughts and feelings with their parents, older siblings and relatives for proper guidance and to learn from their experiences.
Miss Kelechi Eze a Program Officer and also a facilitator at the workshop said that the students needed to pay attention to their studies, respect their parents and elders.
Some of the other facilitators shared their puberty experiences with the young adolescents and also stressed the need for personal hygiene during puberty.