By Maria Kandjungu
FOUR youth in the digital media industry have taken the initiative to spearhead conversations on social media around teenage pregnancy and youth empowerment.
The quartet,Victoria Kambala (22), Graciano Kapesi (22), Michael Patrick (28) and Ashton Dube (31), are the driving force behind the Youth Power social media page. The page is aimed at stimulating conversation to address the prevention of teenage pregnancies in Namibia. It is part of the Youth Power Namibia integrated Digital Campaign, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Social Services.
The social media-based open discussion platform interrogates issues and changes certain mindsets that are prevalent among the youth today.
Speaking to Confidente, Dube said the Youth Power Namibia Integrated Digital Campaign was born out of the public outcry on the high rate of teenage pregnancies in the country, adding that there was a need to speak about it. “The power of social media is that we are able to have a conversation with young people who are always Online so we are reaching them at their place of comfort, a place where they are always present and vocal. It also allows this to be a two way conversation and open discussion where information is not forced down young peoples’ throats,” he said.
The social media platform, according to Dube, also allows young people to share experiences and encourage each other. “We have a lot of people talking about their experience with teenage pregnancy, telling us how they turned the situation around for themselves and where they are today, and we are hoping to profile some of these people,” he explained. The social media platform also deals with the issue of empowering the teenage girl-child. “Young girls are victimised and they are vulnerable, but there is also a certain empowerment that they can take up to say, I respect my body, self and value and I am not going to give it up just because someone offered me a little bit of money,” Dube said. “Youth Power is a safe platform where young people open up on discussions, talk about real issues and offer advice to each other. Discussions at a community of same minds and with people and situations they can relate to. It is a public outreach where even people who were unaware are expressing their concern and giving advice on what they think should be done to address the issue,” he said.
The youth also do private engagements, via private SMS or email, and where need be or when the matter at hand is beyond the four youths’ ability, they pass it on to professionals at the health ministry.
“We are getting a lot of positive feedback from people thanking us for the platform and how such conversations have helped them deal with their issues,” said Dube.
Although the campaign, which started early in March, is supposed to run for 12 months, Dube said the conversation needs to be continued as the issues it addresses are ongoing.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015