The First Lady of the Republic of Chad, Her Excellency Hinda Déby Itno has reaffirmed the importance of providing life skills education to children and adolescents right from a young age. Doing so, she says, will give them a good head start to help them make healthy and informed decisions about their lives and thus creating brighter futures for themselves and their families.
“Young people have great ambitions, hopes and dreams. Imparting them with the information and skills to help them pursue their goals is important.
That’s why offering them life skills education, which includes information on how to prevent teenage pregnancy, prevention of sexually transmitted infections, peer pressure, their access to youth-friendly reproductive health services and staying healthy as they transition from puberty to adulthood is imperative.
In order to achieve our development goals, we must give them this information from an early age. Waiting until they are adults to start doing so will be too late,” she said.
Speaking during a courtesy visit paid to her by a delegation from IPPF Africa Region led by its Regional President Hon. Antonio Niquice, the First Lady also stressed on the need to focus on the empowerment of girls and young women.
“Girls and young women face unique challenges in our society, and we therefore must direct our attention to them. We need to invest in their education, train them and equip them with the relevant knowledge and skills they need to chart their successful futures.
We must support girls and young women by creating safe spaces for them and opening up opportunities for their voices to be heard. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that our young African girls and women are empowered enough to participate meaningfully in society,” she said.
As a member of the Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD), Her Excellency made reference to the African Union’s Agenda 2063, which prioritizes girls and women’s sexual reproductive health and rights. She emphasized on the need for all stakeholders to act now, if this vision to be realized by 2063.
IPPFAR is the leading sexual and reproductive health and rights advocacy voice in the region. IPPFAR works through a network of Member Associations in 37 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. IPPFAR works in Chad through its Member Association, L'Association Tchadienne pour le Bien-Être Familial (ASTBEF).
ASTBEF provides a wide range of quality sexual and reproductive health information and services which include family planning, maternal and child health services, HIV & AIDS counseling, testing and management services, as well as provision of youth-friendly education and services to adolescents and young people both in-and-out of schools.
Her Excellency Hinda Déby Itno serves as ASTBEF’s Honorary President. She encouraged ASTBEF, which is governed and supported by volunteers, to carry on with its good work in the country and lay more emphasis in broadening its partnerships with stakeholders for maximum impact.
“One of ASTBEF’s effective strategies that has been its partnership with stakeholders not only in the health sector, but across other sectors including different levels of government, the private sector and other civil society organizations. Through targeted recruitment of individuals, champions and organizations, it is important for ASTBEF to increase its base of support as this will enable it to grow and become sustainable,” she said.
Her Excellency pledged her commitment of support to the advancement of ASTBEF’s mission and vision. Hon. Niquice thanked her for her commitment to the cause of ASTBEF in Chad.
Other members in the delegation included IPPF’s Global Governing Council Member Clementine Guelmbaye, IPPFAR’s Acting Regional Director Dr. Haingo Rabearimonjy, IPPFAR Executive Committee member Amadou Amadou, and the ASTBEF National President Salomon Mbaitel Berang.
Read this article in French here.
Story by Maryanne W. Waweru, Governance and Compliance Officer, IPPF Africa Region.