UNESCO Facilitates Media Online Training on Early and Unintended Pregnancy

Media practitioners participated in a two-day Capacity Building Online Workshop for Print and Broadcast Media on Early and Unintended Pregnancy (EUP) from 19 to 20 August 2020 in Juba. Four women were among the eleven journalists and news producers who were drawn from Juba, Nimule, Pochalla and Torit towns of South Sudan. The training was also attended by UNESCO and UNFPA resource persons.

During the training, key objectives, which were realised, were mainly to equip media personnel with knowledge and skills on EUP reportage, promote its reportage onto the media agenda and establish a EUP media group.

Reference to the 2013 BBC Media Action study, majority of the population in South Sudan state that radio is most trusted source of information which is easily accessible. Media, as a crucial partner, can facilitate strategic audiences such as policy makers, parents, young people, health care service providers as well as community leaders to identify doable actions to prevent and manage EUP. The discussions will be cognisant of the drivers of EUP which include poverty, lack of information and access to reproductive health services, cultural norms, peer pressure and sexual abuse.

The training coincides with the poignant time when schools were closed since April and alarming reports of teenage pregnancies are consistently being broadcasted across the media. Reports of early and teenage pregnancies during long school holidays are quite common. Regarding the long term school closures related to the COVID-19 pandemic, education and health stakeholders are greatly concerned that the numbers are expected to rise if nothing is done to address the problem.

According to the 2010 South Sudan Health Household Survey, about 300 out of 1000 pregnancies are among girls aged 15-19 years. The relevant basic social services are either non-existent, poor quality or inaccessible in many areas. The ongoing conflict is one of the factors that has exacerbated limited access to and quality of these services which contribute to prevention and management of EUP among vulnerable girls.

The capacity building workshop is one of the activities designed by the UNESCO Regional Office in Harare, Zimbabwe, to support country offices to roll out the EUP campaign in eastern and southern African countries. The “Let’s Talk” campaign is founded on three pillars mainly education, health and rights. Education ensures adolescents have the right to access correct knowledge to make informed life choices and delay pregnancy. While the health dimension intends to increase access to non-judgemental and non-discriminatory sexual reproductive health services. The rights dimension ensures that all adolescents know their rights and are empowered to make decisions regarding sexuality, health and education that will allow them to reach their full potential.

Addressing EUP directly contributes to realising the Eastern and Southern Africa Ministerial Commitment and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of 2015, particularly Goal 3: Good Health and Well Being, Goal 4: Quality Education as well as Goal 5: Gender Equality.

UNESCO is a UN specialized agency mandated to support the education sector to respond to HIV prevention and sexual reproductive health. This is done by integrating comprehensive sexuality education into all education curricula and policies. Parents and community systems, as well media, are also supported to realise policy relevant targets.

 

This programme is made possible with generous support from Norad towards the Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future Programme.

Media practitioners participated in a two-day Capacity Building Online Workshop for Print and Broadcast Media on Early and Unintended Pregnancy (EUP) from 19 to 20 August 2020 in Juba. Four women were among the eleven journalists and news producers who were drawn from Juba, Nimule, Pochalla and Torit towns of South Sudan. The training was also attended by UNESCO and UNFPA resource persons.

During the training, key objectives, which were realised, were mainly to equip media personnel with knowledge and skills on EUP reportage, promote its reportage onto the media agenda and establish a EUP media group.

Reference to the 2013 BBC Media Action study, majority of the population in South Sudan state that radio is most trusted source of information which is easily accessible. Media, as a crucial partner, can facilitate strategic audiences such as policy makers, parents, young people, health care service providers as well as community leaders to identify doable actions to prevent and manage EUP. The discussions will be cognisant of the drivers of EUP which include poverty, lack of information and access to reproductive health services, cultural norms, peer pressure and sexual abuse.

The training coincides with the poignant time when schools were closed since April and alarming reports of teenage pregnancies are consistently being broadcasted across the media. Reports of early and teenage pregnancies during long school holidays are quite common. Regarding the long term school closures related to the COVID-19 pandemic, education and health stakeholders are greatly concerned that the numbers are expected to rise if nothing is done to address the problem.

According to the 2010 South Sudan Health Household Survey, about 300 out of 1000 pregnancies are among girls aged 15-19 years. The relevant basic social services are either non-existent, poor quality or inaccessible in many areas. The ongoing conflict is one of the factors that has exacerbated limited access to and quality of these services which contribute to prevention and management of EUP among vulnerable girls.

The capacity building workshop is one of the activities designed by the UNESCO Regional Office in Harare, Zimbabwe, to support country offices to roll out the EUP campaign in eastern and southern African countries. The “Let’s Talk” campaign is founded on three pillars mainly education, health and rights. Education ensures adolescents have the right to access correct knowledge to make informed life choices and delay pregnancy. While the health dimension intends to increase access to non-judgemental and non-discriminatory sexual reproductive health services. The rights dimension ensures that all adolescents know their rights and are empowered to make decisions regarding sexuality, health and education that will allow them to reach their full potential.

Addressing EUP directly contributes to realising the Eastern and Southern Africa Ministerial Commitment and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of 2015, particularly Goal 3: Good Health and Well Being, Goal 4: Quality Education as well as Goal 5: Gender Equality.

UNESCO is a UN specialized agency mandated to support the education sector to respond to HIV prevention and sexual reproductive health. This is done by integrating comprehensive sexuality education into all education curricula and policies. Parents and community systems, as well media, are also supported to realise policy relevant targets.

This programme is made possible with generous support from Norad towards the Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future Programme.

 

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