BOFWA YOUTH CENTRES / YOUTH PROGRAMME
Since its inception in 1988, BOFWA has and continues to be committed towards providing information and education to young people aged between 10 - 29 on adolescent maturity and sexuality.
Emphasis has been placed on empowering young people, both male and female, on how to make informed and non hazardous decisions about their sexual lives. Provision has also been provided to assist young people on how to deal and cope with the physical and emotional sexual transition from childhood to adulthood. This is done primarily through individual and group counselling.
Through the years the Association has moved towards a more comprehensive approach in assisting young people become more aware and responsible of their sexual lives.
The formation of Youth Centres marked the beginning of the Association's comprehensive approach. The first centre was established in 1990 in Gaborone. The provision of information and education, which was predominantly done through field seminars/workshops and field talks, begun to be coupled with the provision of activities and services on site at the Association's physical locations, through the establishment of BOFWA Youth Centres.
To date the Association has five Youth Centres, and these are:
The Youth Centres provide similar services. The following are central activities carried at the centres:
FLE talks are provided to the youth who visit the Centre on a one on one basis or on a group basis. Talks are also presented outside the Centre in Schools and at out of school clubs. These are provided by the Youth Officers/Counsellors and BOFWA trained Peer Educators including trained BOFWA Youth Community Based Distributors (CBDs).
Young people visiting the Centres are given information on HIV/AIDS. Information provided includes the meaning of HIV/AIDS; modes of prevention (abstainence or condom use); modes of transmission; the implications of HIV/AIDS to an individual, their family, and their community at large. It also includes how to live with HIV/AIDS. A programme on Peer AIDS Prevention Educators (PAPE's) has been initiated in 1999 with emphasis on primary school children
BOFWA staff manning the Youth Centres are trained counsellors. They provide counselling to young people on any social or health related problem they may be experiencing. Peer Counselling is also provided by the Associations trained Youth counsellors particularly in the area of how to deal with the emotional and psychological demands of adolescent sexuality.Counseling is usually provided at the Centre sites, however where necessary home visits may be made especially in cases where the client cannot come to the office. Trained youth in peer education and counselling also take part in this activity.
The Association has recently trained its Youth Volunteer members from all the five Centres on Community Based Service Provision (CBSP). The Training provided the Youth with knowledge on Family Planning methods and Family Planning counselling as well as dealing with the community at grassroots level.
Beginning 1999 the trained youth will be engaged in Family Planning distribution (condoms, vaginal jells, pill) and counselling through the Associations youth CBD programme, in Gaborone, Lobatse, Kanye, Mochudi and Maun.The CBS providers are also to recruit clients for BOFWA clinic, distribute IEC material, work closely with other social welfare community groups and furnish the offices with their service provision statistics.
Motivational talks on survival skills, self esteem, and self confidence are provided to the Youth who visit the Centre. These are also provided during field trips to schools and out of school clubs. The talks are provided to help the young people to be more confident about themselves, so that they can make firm and positive decisions about their sexual lives.
Income generating activities are provided at the Lobatse and Mochudi Youth Centres. These include sewing and gardening. The activities are provided to equip the youth with income generating skills, they also assist youth, particularly out of school youth to pass their time positively rather than being vulnerable to social or sexual problems.
The Centres provide recreational activities in the form of in door and out door games. The centres also have audio visual equipment and stock some educational and leisure reading materials. As a result of the recreational activities some of the youth have formed table tennis and soccer teams, where on annual basis one centre team, either table tennis or soccer, challenges another centre team.
Youth Officers/Counselors are in regular charge of the office with the assistance of the Programmes Manager and Youth Centre volunteers/members including Tirelo Sechaba Pratcipants. The Youth Volunteers/Members assist the Centre staff in the planning.implementation, evaluation, and resources identification of their Programmes through efforts coordinated by Youth Centre committees consisting of the youth elected by the youth.
BOFWA has recently embarked on a Youth Sexual and Reproduction Health Clinic programme attached to the Youth Centres. This has been realised through the establishment of a Youth Clinic in Gaborone in August 1997. It is envisaged that before the end of 1999 all Youth Centre will have Youth Clinics attached to them.
The services of the Youth Clinics will be strengthened by trained Youth Community Based service providers. The first batch of Youth Community Based Service Providers took place in Kanye from the 3rd to the 13th November 1998. The ultimate objective of the training is to increase BOFWA's institutional capacity of service provision in the community by equipping youth with SRH skills that they can use to better serve their peers.
This objective was met by:
The trained Community Based Sevice Providers are expected to work in the communities they have been assigned to provide Family Planning counselling and Family Planning commodities such as the Oral Pill, and Condoms. This they will do under the supervision of the Youth counsellors and where necessary referals will be made either to BOFWA clinics or Government clinics.
The Youth Centres have audio-visual equipment and also stocks some reading materials. Currently, over 50 youth visit the centres daily to avail themselves of the opportunity of updating their knowledge of family life issues.
Collaboration with National Family Life Education Committee (NFLE) is being promoted to reduce duplication of efforts. NFLE comprises Government Departments and NGOs involved with Health and Education of youth, i.e. Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs, BOFWA, Young Women Christian Association, Red Cross and the University of Botswana.j
CLINIC EXTENSION TO THE PRIVATE SECTOR
The problem posed by HIV/AIDS on the working community continues to be a concern for the employers. to this end a number of private sector companies have acted on the HIV/AIDS policy and are striving to offer services to their employees in partership with other organisation like BOFWA. The Association services about two of such companies.
BOFWA offers refresher courses for its volunteers, women, teachers and the youth, to provide them with skills in Sexual and reproductive Health including family planning couselling.
If you are aged between 10 29 and would like to become a BOFWA youth member you may collect registration forms from the BOFWA youth Centre closest to you. Membership fee for the youth in school is P2.00 and P10 for the working youth, however this is under review.
Being a BOFWA youth member would mean that you would help contribute towards the Association commitment in empowering young people both male and female to make informed and non-harzadous decisions about their sexual lives. As indicated this is done through education and entertainment.
Being an International Organisation BOFWA youth members benefit from collaboration activities with the youth of other organizations having similar objectives Regionally and Internationally
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