COVID-19: YEDI empowers adolescents with life skills

By Chioma Obinna

As the 2022 Youth Development and Empowerment Imitative, YEDI, ‘SKILLZ Holiday Camps’ comes to an end weekend, not less than 100,000 adolescents have been reached with various life skills with a call to government at all levels to create safe spaces for adolescents in order to cater for their peculiar needs.

The SKILLZ Holiday Camp is a weeklong, intensive, non-residential community-based behavioural change health camps, aimed at offering life coping skills to adolescents across communities in Lagos, Ogun, Akwa Ibom States, and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

The programme which held simultaneously in the states focused on knowledge and skills on Sexual and Reproductive Health, HIV and Malaria prevention.

Speaking to Vanguard during an event to mark the end of the programme in the Bariga area of Lagos, the Programme Manager, Usen Asanga disclosed that YEDI has been collaborating with partners to organise the SHC every year since 2015, during the long holidays in August, explained that the camp has helped many adolescents develop skills and gain support to deal with vices such as drug abuse, domestic and gender-based violence, as well as build their self-esteem.

He said creating safe spaces for adolescents was necessary to cater for the peculiar needs of people at that stage in life, and should not be left to parents alone.

“Most parents are not available or have the skills to support adolescent development needs all by themselves. By safe space, I mean well-equipped facilities and trained service providers who are able to tactfully engage the young people, gain their trust and not be judgmental.

“Currently, we are grappling with the challenges of adolescent pregnancies, with adolescents making up a significant portion of Nigeria’s very high maternal mortality rate, the effects of drug abuse, sexual violence, HIV, etc on our society.

“The entry point to addressing these challenges is getting it right with adolescent development; equipping them with the right knowledge and skills to make informed decisions as they transform to adulthood.”

Speaking, the Communications and External Relations Manager, Titilayo Igbalajobi recounted that in the country currently stereotypes about adolescent sexual and reproductive health, sexual abuse, and gender-based violence are prevalent in underserved communities and over time, they have proven to be threats to the transition from adolescent to adulthood.

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