Dispatch

‘We choose to avoid early sexual debut’

11 July 2016
Sebolelo Tumahole, 13: “We talked about early marriage, which could lead to early pregnancies and early child birth, resulting in serious consequences." © UNFPA Lesotho

Young people at Bobete gearing up for World Population Day on 11 July.
© UNFPA / Violet Maraisane

BOBETE, Thaba-Tseka, Lesotho, 9 July – Young people gathered here for an awareness-raising session on this year’s World Population Day, on Investing in Teenage Girls.

One of them, Sebolelo Tumahole, 13, shared what she had learnt: “We have talked about early marriage, which could lead to early pregnancies and early child birth, resulting in serious consequences such as hemorrhaging and obstetric fistula. What I learnt today will help me be independent and resist boys’ sexual advances. I am going to advise my peers to avoid the repercussions brought (about) by early marriage and early sexual debut.”

I am going to advise my peers to avoid the repercussions brought (about) by early marriage and early sexual debut. - Sebolelo Tumahole, 13

Learning about how to avoid HIV infection and early sexual debut: Khang Lepekola, 21, and Mohato Lekanyane, 20. © UNFPA / Violet Maraisane

Two young men who attended the session, Khang Lepekola, 21, and Mohato Lekanyane, 20, said they had learnt to protect themselves and to avoid indulging in sex at an early age. “We understood this advice perfectly and liked it.”

The session was facilitated by representatives of the Lesotho Child and Gender Protection Unit and the Ministry of Home Affairs. The teenaged participants shared their appreciation for the information they received to help empower them.

Today, on World Population Day, Lesotho joined countries around the world in marking the event. The commemoration at Bobete featured a community dialogue, traditional song and dance, and artistic and innovative portrayal of the theme as understood by teenage girls in this community.

World Population Day was first commemorated globally in 1987 to raise awareness of important population and development issues.

By Violet Maraisane