LESOTHO, Maseru – The adolescents and young people from the rural Nazareta Ha Nkhema accessed youth-friendly health services over the weekend and also commemorated Menstrual Hygiene Day.
The event was held at Lelala Primary School through the facilitation of Sesotho Media and Development.
These young people were given comprehensive sexuality education through watching a film and an information session with peer educators.
They also received sanitary towels in commemoration of Menstrual Hygiene Day, HIV testing and counselling services and family planning services.
Sesotho Media and Development Youth Lead Facilitator Likhetho Rabolinyane said the purpose of the event was to provide safe space for the youth to access Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) services and information since that community is very far from such services.
Furthermore, Rabolinyane explained that Sesotho Media and Development has been working with Ha Nkhema community for 2 years, under the Amplify Change Project which aims to strengthen uptake and linkage of SRHR services amongst the youth.
That Sesotho Media and Development believes every girl deserves to have access to sanitary towels and health services freely. Thus, they commemorated Menstrual Hygiene Day by distributing sanitary towels with support from Dear Bella Lesotho and on-site health services such as HIV testing and contraceptives by Baylor College of Medicine Children’s Foundation Lesotho.
One adolescent girl (18) from Ha Nkhema expressed gratitude to Sesotho Media and Development for affording them an opportunity to have sanitary napkins as they struggle to have monthly supplies due to financial constraints, that the packs they received will go a long way in relieving them.
An adolescent boy (19) from Sekhutlong also commended the importance of them accessing sexual and reproductive health and rights information they received. He assured that the condoms they received will help them to avoid sexually transmitted diseases, early and unintended pregnancies. He advised other adolescents to access these services without fear.
A young mother (19) from Ha Nkhema said having a child at a young age taught her the importance of accessing family planning services and she is thankful that she accessed contraceptives this day.
Lelala Primary School Principal ‘Mafani Mokhele highly praised the impact brought about by the presence of Sesotho Media and Development in their community. Stating that early and unintended pregnancy was a challenge before, but now that they are providing services and education to the youth, they see a huge improvement.
She said this organization started working with the youth in their area in 2021. At Lelala Primary, they used to register about 4 pregnancies per year but after Sesotho Media sensitized and provided services, the numbers of early and unintended pregnancies in their school fluctuated.
Menstrual Hygiene Day is an annual awareness day held on May 28 to highlight the importance of good menstrual hygiene management at a global level.
Sesotho Media and Development is an organization based in Lesotho that addresses issues of stigma and discrimination and marginalization through facilitated film screenings in Lesotho’s communities, such as: sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in all forms, sexuality and health with focus on HIV and AIDS and early and unintended pregnancy, gender identity and sexual orientation (LGBTQIA+), youth inclusion in decision-making and rehabilitation of ex-inmates.