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Ministries of Education and Health launch peer workshop

Ministries of Education and Health launch peer workshop

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Teenagers often tend to seek advice from their peers rather than their parents. And it is with this in mind that the Ministry of Health, in partnership with the Ministry of Education,{{more}} launched a three-day workshop yesterday, July 1, at the Methodist Church Hall.

The objective of the workshop is to train secondary school students to be better prepared to influence their peers more positively on issues relating to the spread of HIV/AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).

Luis deShong, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, while speaking at the opening ceremony, said good parents often make sacrifices during the first 18 years of the life of their offspring.

“So that when those 18 years come to an end, their children can lead prosperous lives,” he said.

But during the adolescent phase, the children begin to think differently and often ask questions that previously would not have been on their mind, deShong said.

“And they choose not to rely on their parents for answers to these questions, given their new stage of mental independence,” the Permanent Secretary said.

Another challenge that many teens face, according to deShong, was the need to fit in or to be popular.

“For some teenagers, their friends become their teachers or role models and some are willing to take the risk to become popular without thinking about the circumstances.”

There are a number of other areas in which teens influence their peers negatively, including the use of alcohol, drugs and cigarettes.

However, in the same way that teens influence their peers negatively, they can influence them positively as well.

“We can establish today that teenagers seek advice from their friends, rather than adults when faced with a problem, and it is with this in mind that we crafted the fundamental goal of this workshop, which was to make sure that you, as peers, are equipped with the correct knowledge and skill to positively influence your friends,” he said.

According to the ministry official, the cycle of underage sex can end, but it needed to begin with the nation’s youth.

He said the three-day workshop was not a one-off event, but explained that the facilitators at the workshop will be assisting students across the country to implement activities to teach other what they learnt at the workshop.(DD)

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