In a remarkable achievement over the past eight years, the Family Empowerment and Youth Reorientation Path Initiative (FEYReP) successfully conducted the “Girls Uphold Your Dignity” advocacy program for teenage girls in Akwa Ibom State.
The sensitization campaign in Akwa Ibom secondary schools focused on educating teenage girls about the dangers and consequences of premarital sex. The program, reaching approximately 100 schools across the state’s three senatorial districts, predominantly targeted rural communities.
During the initial phase in 2016/18, the FEYReP team identified factors such as poverty, peer pressure, lack of educational materials, and ignorance of the consequences of premarital sex as contributors to the girl child’s vulnerability. In response, providing educational materials and sanitary pads became an integral part of the subsequent sensitization and advocacy sessions.
Dr Idorenyin Ekanem, the coordinator of FEYReP, emphasized the message of complete abstinence from premarital sex during the school visits. “This is known to lead to unwanted pregnancy, genital injuries – VVF, STDs, and a number of social consequences. ‘Girls Uphold Your Dignity’ is a comprehensive reorientation package for the girl child, aiming to improve their lives as they progress through life,” she stated.
Mrs Emmanuella Friday, the Principal of Community Secondary School, Ikot Inyang, praised FEYReP’s efforts, emphasizing the importance of sustaining such sensitization campaigns for the future of the girl child. She believed that these efforts would bring about a paradigm shift in the fortunes of girls who are still vulnerable and endangered in the 21st century.
The Founder of FEYReP, Dr. Martha Udom Emmanuel, actively participated in the sensitization sessions, including one at her Alma Mater, Conellia Connelly College. She reiterated the need for the girl child to abstain from premarital sexual relationships, expressing concern about the worrisome prevalence of teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases among teenage girls in the state.
In one of the interactive sessions on the consequences of premarital sex, Dr. Martha Emmanuel had advised the students against engaging in early sexual behaviors. She cautioned them against unruly actions that could be detrimental to their future, emphasizing the importance of self-control.
Dr. Martha Emmanuel encouraged the female students to be vigilant, avoid sex predators, report any abuse to authorities, and stay focused on their studies as prerequisites for a successful life. This commitment by FEYReP reflects its dedication to the holistic empowerment and well-being of teenage girls in Akwa Ibom State over the past eight years.
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