AUSTRALIAN ambassador to Zimbabwe, Bronte Mousles has urged parents to have Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) conversations with their kids so as to avoid mistakes and untold stories of the past.
By Patricia Mashiri
Speaking during the International Day of the girl child Sexual Reproductive Health symposium which was hed under the theme, “Digital Generation, Our Generation,” Ambassador Mousles said times have changed and parents need to step up take part.
If we don’t talk about these issues or be part of them, a gap will be left which will be hard to clear. We all know that our grandmothers didn’t talk about these issues, their families didn’t talk about them, their communities, then their daughters our mothers didn’t talk, our aunts and if we don’t talk, our daughters are not going to talk about this.
“We have an ongoing issue of not talking about these issues, you cant ask questions. I think its one of the biggest challenges with generations around the world today. When people don’t talk about SRHR, the cycle goes on and on. We need just to try to give space for these conversations, give more opportunities to talk with families and communities,” said Ambassador Mousles.
She added that parents and children should find safe spaces where they can have open and free conversations around SRH issues so as to keep the conversations going.
Shamwari Yemwanasikana Dirctor, Ekenia Chifamba said the girl child has been struggling to access SRHR services and information during the COVID-19 induced lockdown as well as information.
“We are focusing on issues girls face in the families regarding SRHR, the barriers that are there for them to have these conversations, looking into the component of intergenerational gaps. I strongly feel that there is more which needs to be done regarding SRHR issues these includes menstrual hygiene, personal hygiene, issues around backyard abortions that are ever taking place teen pregnancies among others.
“We also need the males to come on board by changing their perspectives around those issues and the traditional leaders as well. We need also to take these conversations to the churches and various government ministries. I also feel that component of sexuality education to be fully implemented in schools and communities to take ownership and also the girls to take the lead,” said Chifamba.
Meanwhile, Ruvimbo Mapfumo, a girl child Chitungwiza representative said more still needs to be done at a policy level to improve access to SRHR services for girls.
“Long ago, families prioritized paying fees for the boy child over the girl child. I’m happy that there are laws which lobby for the girl child to speak out and have the right to education and jobs of our choice. We have been facing menstrual health challenges since most of the girls can not afford sanitary wear.
“This leads to the abuse of girls by older men because they will be financing their sanitary wear. Some girls end up with infections because of the cloths they use when they are on their period. This goes inline with the reusable pads some of use. We live in communities where there is shortage of water supply washing of reusable sanitary wear becomes a big challenge,” she said.