At the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, we have acknowledged the fundamental necessity of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. Throughout our multi-layered strategy of research, advocacy, policy development, community engagement, philanthropy and education, we have prioritized women, adolescent girls, and children within our various programs, focusing on maternal and infant health, as well as sexual, reproductive, mental, and social health in order to empower and strengthen girls and women from birth to old age.
In harmony with Wellbeing Foundation Africa’s mission to successfully deliver the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 3, 5, and 6 through education, empowerment, and advocacy for accessible and sustainable health in Africa, the Adolescent Skills and Drills, Personal Social and Health Education program and curriculum was developed specifically for adolescent personal, social, and health education.
The program seeks to educate adolescent girls and boys about their bodies, their relationships, their health, and also on their education. Moreover, the project seeks to build the capacity of the adolescents equipping them with advocacy tools and tips, thus encouraging them to transfer the knowledge attained during our program to their friends, families, and community members. The cohort of children, aged between 9 and 19 years old, are taught the WHO standard of hand washing techniques in addition to further break-out sessions, in line with the commitment of the WBFA to support the attainment of UN Sustainable Development Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
Adolescent PSHE Program in Schools
In the six years since the launch of the Adolescent Personal Social Health Education (PSHE) programme in schools across Kwara, Lagos, Kaduna, Osun states and the FCT, WBFA has turned young girls into campaigners and advocates in their homes and communities as they share the knowledge imparted om them through the programme within their circles.
Using the Wellbeing Foundation Africa Adolescent Skills and Drills PSHE handbook, the program has so far impacted the lives of 8245 adolescents in 30 schools across the aforementioned states and the FCT.
The Adolescent Personal, Social, and Health Education Program and handbook addresses subjects concerning girls’ rights, eating healthy, the importance of physical activity, sleep, the risks of drug use/abuse, WASH in schools, the female body, menstrual hygiene management, female genital mutilation, healthy relationships and STEM.
Adolescent PSHE Program in Communities
According to UNICEF, one out of every five out of school children is Nigerian. Despite primary education being compulsory, Nigeria still has 10.5 million children between the ages of 5-14 not receiving education in a school. The data also shows an even more endemic problem –more than half of the female population in the country, especially in the North are not in school.
This, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic which has forced more girls to take up jobs to support the family poses an even more dangerous threat to the quality of live adolescent girls in Nigeria are forced to grapple with. As the lockdown put in place to stem the rate of infection of the Coronavirus was relaxed, WBFA went to work, establishing the Community-based Adolescent PSHE programme, to reach young girls at the community level with the Personal, Social Health Education the Adolescent programme provides.
The Foundation conducted a baseline assessment in the Dutse Makaranta community in Abuja to understand the needs of the girls and it was no surprise that top of the list was sexual and reproductive health. The assessment also revealed a need for continuous engagement of the girls on issues pertaining sexual and reproductive health as the number of adolescent mothers was high. Also, the assessment revealed that 72% of 60 adolescents present do not have adequate knowledge on hand hygiene. Finally, the assessment revealed that most adolescents present do not have adequate nutritional knowledge as most of them lack knowledge on the use of Iron- Folic Acid supplementation. These results informed the decision of the Foundation in 2021 to expand the coverage of the initial school-based programme and scale-up the project to include other communities in the F.C.T.
So far, 4 groups have been set up in the Dutse-Makaranta community in the Federal Capital Territory consisting of an average of 60 adolescent girls per group with whom a trained midwife meets with bi-weekly to engage them on Personal, Social, Health and Educational trainings.
From inception, the programme has been self-funded by the Foundation. Now, WBFA seeks the support of partners to impact the lives of more adolescent girls quickly and effectively with information on their sexual and reproductive health, adolescent nutrition, relationships and personal hygiene.
We hope to reduce the classes into smaller groups to enable effectiveness. We also need more trained hands to train and educate key figures within the community in order to support the efforts of the young girls when they return to the community.
· Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights and Knowledge for adolescent girls
· Nutritional Knowledge and Iron Folic Acid supplementation for adolescent girls
· WASH for adolescents
· Advocacy against Gender Based Violence and harmful practices against adolescents.