Young People love sex – Mwesigye Patrick

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It’s been over 19 years, In 1994 at the International Conference on Population and Development, 179 governments pledged to provide information to help young people and make informed decisions about their sexuality but was the pledge implemented or not?

In this 21st century, it is time to implement what they had pledged, let them give young people right information and safe platforms they need, let the safe spaces allow them to openly talk about sex

Panelists discussing on how has ICPD put human Rights at the center of sustainable dev’t, recognized reproductive Rights and positioned young people as Right holders in regard to their SRHR

The Executive Director, Uganda Youth and Adolescents Health Forum, Mwesigye Patrick speaking at the International Conference on Population and Development 25 Youth Satellite Event that happened at Imperial Royal Hotel on Wednesday said; young People love sex, they want to have pleasurable safe sex, they want condoms, they are fighting together to end child marriages, they are fighting together to end HIV, they are also working hard to end stigma, and young people are tired, he says

The International Conference on Population and Development program of action emphasizes that the full enjoyment of reproductive health implies that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life, Mwesigye Patrick, Executive Directive, Uganda Youth and Adolescents Health Forum added

The International Conference on Population and Development program of Action reinforced a holistic understanding of individuals’ sexual and reproductive wellbeing, accounting not only for the right to be free from abuse or violations, but the right to experience one’s sexuality in a fulfilling, satisfying, and in turn pleasurable way

Abstinence from sex is a choice, but how we use it matters and having sex should not only supposed to be for giving birth but it should also be for pleasure, Mwesigye Patrick said during the satellite event

I have conducted some sessions in communities, schools and all students/pupils couldn’t wait for the sex education sessions. In the early’s, young people are curious as they are clueless about sexuality education

Instead of receiving right answers to pressing questions about their bodies, relationships, sexuality, they are just simply shuttered, and sometimes they are told to read particular topics, and adolescents are left to figure out things on their own

The majority of the population in Uganda are young people and I’m sure, they are having the same experiences with other countries

Participants, Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Advocates, Bloggers posing for the photo.

It would be irresponsible to give a kid a toy gun without teaching him/her on how it works and it is also dangerously negligent to allow young people’s bodies to develop faster than their understanding sexuality

Lack of reliable information increases the risk of sexually transmitted infections, HIV/AIDS, unwanted pregnancy, Maternal mortality which can not only cost the life of the young people but also perpetuates the poverty of the country

Like for those who are not sexually active, understanding the changes happening to their bodies is also important to protect their health and well-being

In Uganda, some girls begin menstruating like at 9 years without even knowing what’s happening and leaves them unprepared to protect their health and hygiene

This lack of sexuality framework in place together with the absence of clean sanitary pads for them to use often leads girls and young women to miss school while menstruating

Young people can’t be blamed for making uninformed decisions if the elders are refusing them to access the right information and it is young people who suffer the consequences of those decisions

Why the Ministry of Education and the so called religious leaders failing to offer comprehensive sexuality education even after stating all the need? The answer is that they fear that such education encourages young people to have sex and which not the case, giving young people information doesn’t mean they are going to engage in sex intercourse; it helps them to make the informed decisions and resulting in lower HIV contraction and pregnancy rates

Enabling young people to make informed choices about their bodies and sexuality requires delivering comprehensive sex education to all, in a youth-friendly way that respects their autonomy. This means creating safe spaces, where they can access contraceptives and ask questions, without fear that the family and friends are going to judge them.

“Like to reaffirm UNFPA commitment to helping young people realize their full potential in life and early this month, we unveiled new strategy My Body, My Life, My World! it places the needs of young people at the the core of our work ” – Ms Mareledi Segotso, UNFPA representative echoed during the satellite youth event

Ms Mareledi Segotso, UNFPA representative speaking at the International Conference on Population and Development 25 Youth Satellite Event

“Its also critical that young people have access to age appropriate information and serves required to adequately protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy, HIV. we need to encourage young people to seek this info & make use of available youth friendly services” – Mareledi Segotso adds

It is time for Government to get serious about ensuring that young people everywhere are empowered to make informed choices about their bodies, their lives, and their futures

At the closure of the event, some of the strong Advocates/young leaders were awarded and recognized by Uganda Youth and Adolescents Health Forum for their outstanding contribution to the Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights agenda in Uganda

Olgah Daphyn Namukuza, Youth Country Co-coordinator SRHR Alliance Uganda receiving an award
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Frank Byaruhanga is a human rights activist with years of experience in community dialogues, digital communication, advocacy and digital campaigns. He specializes in Media Relation Work, Management and Training with sufficient knowledge in Governance, Accountability, Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, Youth-led research, Content developer, Creative Activism, Social Media Management and documentary photography.

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