Church Leaders Worried About Teenage Pregnancy

25 October 2017
The First Lady of Namibia, Madam Monica Geingos.
The First Lady of Namibia, Madam Monica Geingos.

Windhoek, Namibia - Church leaders are uniquely positioned, respected community members who we believe should be engaged in addressing the various challenges young people experience. This prompted the Office of the First Lady to make time to share the work of #BeFree Movement with Church Leaders. Our energetic and dynamic #BeFree Ambassador Bertha Tobias, and the esteemed Pastor Fred Joseph from the River of Life Church, were the MC’s at the platform which served as an interfaith dialogue on the complex issues young people faced.

Our first guest presenter was Ms. Sanet Steenkamp, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture who shared the reasons Namibia has embarked on the implementation of comprehensive sexuality education, as part of a greater HIV/AIDS response. In a detailed presentation the Permanent Secretary eloquently shared the Life Skills Syllabus taught in schools and offered insights into the regional and national review processes of the existing curriculum.
The region specific statistics on teenage pregnancy shocked all participants. According to the Permanent Secretary 4076 learners were recorded to have fallen pregnant and dropped out of school during the 2015-2016 period. This stunned the audience as this meant 4076 babies were born into less than ideal circumstances.

Church Leaders used the opportunity to engage FLON and specifically channeled their concerns about various aspects of the curriculum and emphasized the importance of engaging parents and communities to understand their concerns about what their children were taught at school. This set the tone for a day of constructive dialogue on the eagerness of both the Office of the First Lady and the Ministry of Education to reach out to the church as a partner in reaching young people. One of the strengths of the #BeFree Movement is its ability to leverage relationships and elevate key issues to stakeholders such as agencies and key Ministries who are able to develop and implement practical and relevant interventions which address specific challenges faced by young people.

By Madam Monica Geingos, First Lady of Namibia