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In the full circle by Oghenewoke Atariata

Adolescent health is of immense importance to the general population. The level of health education amongst this age demography ranging from 10 – 18 is crucial to having safe and satisfactory sexual health. So that brings us to the question, what are the sources of health education for adolescents?

As technology and information dissemination improved over the years, the media has become an essential part of our lives. And with just a click of a button, some random person can put up information that can be consumed, without any form of fact check or verification of author credibility. If the news appeals to your better nature and is trendy, it becomes the news. But it is time we rethink how we use these powerful tools at our disposal. There is the need to let the experts do their job in their area of expertise.

Media is a major source of information to young people; studies show that the same is true for adolescents. But there are ramifications to our actions, and this is a call to self-consciousness to examine what we put out there, because like it or not, we are all stakeholders in adolescents’ health education. Regardless of what part we play, we may have positively or negatively, passively or actively played a role in adolescent health. Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp status, Instagram, etc., are some of the popular social media networks through which adolescents get their information, and this increases the danger of misinformation.

Some common myths around sexual and reproductive health include: sex cures dysmenorrhea, sexual activity helps enhance body shape and beauty, pregnancy cannot occur during menstruation, lack of sexual activity affect sperm production, lack of sexual activity results in waist and back pain, no one gets pregnant the first time they have sex, only vaginal sex is sex, etc. These are some of the lies told to coarse gullible adolescents into sexual activities that may result in unintended pregnancy and contracting STIs. In other instances, these myths can affect; personal hygiene, psychological health, and physical health with long-term morbidity effects such as infertility, adopted risky sexual behavior, and in worst cases, death.

Ignorance can indeed prove costly to the ignorant. And we do not have enough conversation around the damages that can occur through incomplete or misconstrued information. The effect is like a cascade that will continue to spiral till we eventually forget how it came about to begin. Whichever way you look at it, knowledge is still power; there will always be some impact. And to this end, it is imperative: to verify the information and the credentials of the author before we spread them, support the works of well-meaning community-based organizations to provide accurate information for adolescents, and scrutinize the contents we like, share, or upload on our social media handles. You are possibly educating someone passively or actively.

You just never know.



Violence against women and children has become one of the most pervasive as well as concerning issues in the world. In order to eliminate this plague of violence, individuals and organizations need to work together with the world. Are you wondering how you can contribute to this cause? Here are 16 ways!

  1. Raise Awareness: This is one of the most important and powerful tools needed to fight for a cause. Your voice added to the millions of voices fighting against violence can make a change. Whether you engage in an online or on-site advocacy, it does not matter. All that really matters is that you are working hard to ensure violence against women and children is brought to an end. Your social media pages are a good tool and if you go onsite, your circle and community is a good place to start. Whichever way, become an advocate for the good of women and girls around the world.
  2. Educate yourself on Violence: While you make contributions to ending violence amongst women and children in the society, it would help to educate yourself more on violence. Invest time and resources in learning about violence and it’s forms, what you can do to make better contributions and how to go about advocacy. You could also attend seminars and conferences related to violence, girl child and women’s rights. These conferences are aimed at sensitizing and educating the public on violence, it’s effects on victims and how to render help to survivors. These steps would help you become a better advocate and volunteer as well as equip you for challenges you could face.
  3. Encourage and Educate young girls and Women: Education and learning improves people. When given proper education on violence, women and girls would be able to detect when they are being abused or violated. It is important to note that some victims do not realize that they are in fact victims of abuse and violence . So when they are abused, they tend to brush it off and think it is a “norm”. Therefore providing information and education on violence, it’s forms and effects would contribute to encouraging those who have experienced or still experience violence to speak up and seek help.
  4. Kick against sexual violence: Sexual violence has spread its wings so wide and is covering the world. It is our duty to clip those wings and kick it out of our society. When we hear of sexual violence cases, it is our duty to discourage and condemn the act and create awareness in our local communities. The more we speak up about against sexual violence, the more results we would achieve. Do not condone it, do not be a rape apologist, fight against sexual violence!
  5. Discourage harmful practices and traditions: Every culture has its unique practices and traditions. However, there are some traditions which are harmful to the health of those involved. Such practices violate the rights of women and girls which may result in infections, low self esteem or even death. It is important to discourage these practices in local communities, ensure people in these areas know that these practices are harmful and can affect them in different ways.
  6. Enlighten men and boys on the consequence of violence : Most times when we talk about ending violence, we are focused on the girls and forget men or boys who could be the harassers. Thus, it is relevant to educate men and boys on the effects of the action, as well as teach them to say something when they see something. Teach them not to stand with or for rapists or harassers, and that the lives of women and girls matter too. This way, it would make it easier to curb and eventually eliminate violence of all forms in the society.
  7. Volunteer with related organizations: Volunteering is another key aspect of advocacy. It allows you to be connected with your community as you make great impacts on the people and environment. When you are passionate about ending violence in your community, one of the best ways to get involved in the action is volunteering. This may be with skills such as interpersonal, communication, digital and other skills that you possess. Many anti-violence organizations and NGOs are always looking for volunteers to aid their fight. You can volunteer in any capacity, as long as it is aimed at ending violence. Become a volunteer today!
  8. Speak up on domestic violence: All around us women and girls suffer domestic violence. They always feel alone and so, are scared to speak up and find justice. The job here for you is to speak up when you see cases of domestic violence or any violence at all. If you see something, say something. Also, encourage the victim to report to the right authorities and take legal actions. This will help expose the harasser and curb violence.
  9. Sensitize your community on the effects of child marriage: Child marriage is a form of gender based violence. It is an act of formal or informal marriage before the age of 18. This robs the child of their education and childhood experience. It also puts the life and health of the child at risk. As an advocate, discourage child marriage and sensitize communities on the effects it has on the child and the society.
  10. Encourage female education in your community: educating the female population is very crucial to the growth of a community. Therefore educate parents, especially in rural communities, on the advantages of educating the girl child and encourage them to allow their female children to go to school.
  11. Believe and support survivors: People experience violence but instead of speaking up, they prefer to stay quiet. This is in order to avoid being blamed or shamed. It is also because they think nobody would believe their story, so they remain traumatized. When we hear stories of survivors, it is vital to believe them and give them all the support that we can. This would help other victims and survivors speak up about their experiences.
  12. Fund organizations for women: Advocacy is not the easiest job, it also incurs expenses. In this regard, organizations targeted at ending violence against women and children usually require funds to run effectively. You can be a part of advocacy by funding these groups. Make donations or help generate donations through fundraisers and so on.
  13. Treat women and girls with respect: Eliminating violence against women and girls is crucial to achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment all around the world. In this regard, it is important to address the multiple forms of discrimination women and girls face daily. It is also important for women and girls to understand the need to be empowered in order to maintain respect in the society.
  14. Encourage and publicize laws against violence: The government and laws play an important role in eliminating violence in the society. As you create awareness against violence, suggest and publicize laws that can help this cause. Also, when laws related to violence are passed, encourage them and spread the word.
  15. Encourage individuals to join the fight: No voice is too small or low to join the fight. Every voice that is anti-violence is very much important. Therefore, as you try to raise awareness, convince other individuals to participate in awareness and walks against violence. You could also encourage them to speak up wherever they are against violence.
  16. Discourage Female or sexual objectification: Female objectification is the act of treating women like commodities or objects of pleasure. It also entails treating women with no regard and viewing them as instruments for sex. This is a very wrong mindset that we should discourage. It is our duty to condemn this act and speak on the capabilities of women.

Stop and Frown at every act of stigmatization

Stigma happens when a person defines someone by their illness or situation rather than who they are as an individual.

Stigma has made survivor recovery really difficult.

Some of the effects of stigma include:



Gender-based violence, sexism, harassment, and disrespect towards women can be difficult to bring up in conversation, especially in relationships, communities and settings where attitudes and beliefs about traditional gender roles may be strongly held. 

GBV guidelines shared a priceless pocket guide on how to support survivors.

DO reassure the child/adolescent that it is OK s/he told you what happened. 

DO respect the child’s opinion, beliefs and thoughts. 

DO use comforting statements appropriate to the cultural context… examples include:

DO NOT make promises you cannot keep such as saying “everything will be OK” when it is not within your control to assure a child’s well-being. 

DO NOT force the child/adolescent to continue talking with you if s/he does not want to.

DO ask if there is someone that the child/adolescent trusts, and if s/he wants help in reaching out to this person, or accompaniment to find this person. 

DO stay with the child/adolescent until s/he feels safe or are in the care of someone who s/he identifies as safe and trusted. 

DO provide the child/adolescent and adult s/he trusts with accurate, relevant information on services that are available and how to access them 

DO say what you know and what you do not know. Say “I do not know” or “I do not have that information” if you do not have the information requested

DO NOT force a child/adolescent to have their caregiver or any other person with them when s/he talks to you as these individuals may have perpetrated the violence, or the child/adolescent may not want to share their experience with them. 

DO NOT leave a child/adolescent unattended while s/he is in distress (for example, crying, angry or in shock). 

DO NOT try to solve the situation yourself, make a plan or make decisions for the child/adolescent.

Ge a copy of the pocket guide here




Every time a woman makes an accusation of abuse or harassment, there is an alarming number of people who immediately question her motives. Why?

As few as one in five victims report their sexual assault, so they often don’t get the help they need and without a report, law enforcement misses the chance to identify perpetrators in their community, repeat offenders go undetected, and more people are victimized. (

Speaking up is not easy. Doing so means allowing people to pick apart how “perfect” a victim you are.

It’s not always easy to know what to say when someone tells you they’ve been sexually assaulted, especially if they are a friend or family member. 

For a survivor, disclosing to someone they care about can be very difficult, so we encourage you to be as supportive and non-judgemental as possible.

@rainn recently shared steps to support survivors of domestic violence

  • Remind them; you are not alone
  • Ask about their current safety
  • Respect their decisions
  • Help with safety planning
  • Have resources handy

Other Articles/Resources you should read




The international community has become aware of the need to achieve equality between the sexes and of the fact that an equitable society cannot be attained if the fundamental human rights of half of human society, i.e. women, continue to be denied and violated.

 However, the bleak reality is that harmful traditional practices have been performed for male benefit. Female sexual control by men, and the economic and political subordination of women, perpetuate the inferior status of women and inhibit structural and attitudinal changes necessary to eliminate gender inequality. 

Despite the apparent slowness of action to challenge and eliminate harmful traditional practices, the activities of human rights bodies in this field have, in recent years, resulting in noticeable progress.

Join communities all over the world and raise awareness on practices such as

FGM, Early marriage, Female infanticide, nutritional taboos, breast ironing etc.

Tell your own story,

Join global campaigns

Participate in interventions

Volunteer your skills

Do all you can to put an end to barbaric acts society has termed normal.

Credits: Fact Sheet No.23, Harmful Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children 


The Nexus between Cross-generational Sex and Rape

Cross-generational sex is defined as a sexual relationship between an adolescent girl and a partner who is older, usually by 10 or more years.

Reports in Nigeria and other sub-Saharan African countries shows that young women aged 15-19 are involved in cross-generational sexual relationship.

Studies indicate that relationships between young women and older men are common in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa and are significantly related to unsafe sexual behaviour.

Similar studies reveal that such relationships are largely premised upon material gains, Studies from Cameron, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana, Swaziland and Uganda among others find that young women engage in sexual relationship with older partners for economic survival;

funds to cover education-related expenses; enhanced status and connections in social networks;

improved life opportunities the greater the economic asymmetries between partners makes it very convenient for the men to use their financial status to get them gifts, services, or money which are exchanged for sex from younger women and such women are dependent on these older man for financial support.

A girl ultimately has little power to negotiate for anything better for her life and if she does she’s exposed to a lot of dangers which includes rape and where a young woman does assert herself, she may face sexual and physical violence.

 A study conducted in Swaziland among girls 14 years and older reported that 20 per cent of the girls were sexually active because of financial reasons (McLean, 1995).

Another study in rural Tanzania found that 52 per cent of female primary school students and 10 per cent of female secondary school students reported that the reason for having sex was for money or presents (Matasha, et. al., 1998).

In addition, in a study in rural Ghana, the majority of both in-school and drop-out girls admitted that the most important reason for having boyfriends was financial, and a further one-third said the reason was for the purchase of clothing and other goods.  

According to a 17-year-old out of school Ugandan young woman who was 15 years younger than her partner:

‘He would pick me from home secretly and take me for film shows in town. I would always lie to my mother that I had gone to my Auntie’s place and would spend nights with him.

( Moore and Biddlecom 2007). 

At the end of it all, he asked me to show him that I loved him by having sex with him and I complied. I could not refuse because I was ashamed of all the things he had done for me.

Many girls are just like her because of the feeling of being indebted to the acts of “kindness” by their partners for financial assistance provided.

They also feel they should endure any inhumane behaviour that their partners put them through as they believe they don’t have a choice.

So there comes the question: Coercion or Consent?

Sexual coercion is unwanted sexual activity that happens when you are pressured, tricked, threatened, or forced in a nonphysical way. Coercion can make you think you owe sex to someone. It might be from someone who has power over you, like a teacher, landlord, or boss.

No person is ever required to have sex with someone else and many girls are not aware of that fact.  

Many authors when writing about cross-generational sex describe a continuum of behaviours from situations in which the younger partner participates voluntarily in situations of coercion using violence and threats.

However, the complexities associated with “voluntary” behaviours are difficult to decipher.

Even with the apparent agency in their actions, young women and girls may be vulnerable to exploitation in cross-generational relationships given the lack of choices facing those living in poverty or the need to pay school fees and purchase uniforms and school books.

The Constructs of gender that encourage female passivity and male aggression and propensities to violence increase the imbalance of power in sexual partnerships between young females and older males.

There is consensus that perceptions of gender particularly of masculinity and what it means to be a “real man” impact males propensity for violence against women and girls, and too often females’ acceptance of violence from spouses, boyfriends, sexual partners, and others.



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