The Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Workshop

656526-27 July 2012

The Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (ASRHR) workshop, hosted by the Department of Social Development of the government of South Africa in Pretoria, was a principal gathering for individuals, organizations and bilateral institutions working in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The meeting being a joint initiative by government, NGOs and UN Agencies aimed at strengthening inter-sectorial and interdepartmental collaboration on ASRHR following the United Nations Commission on Population and Development (UNCPD) earlier this year. The meeting was also held at the backdrop of the world commemoration of Population Day (11th July, 2012) which focused on Demographic Dividends and the South African Youth Lekgotla (Summit) held on 27th June, 2012.

The ASRHR workshop presented new scientific and non-scientific knowledge on ASRHR in South Africa and offered participants an opportunity for dialogue on the major factors affecting ASRHR in the country. Key presentations at the meeting included; the South African Youth Population context, Teenage Pregnancy in South Africa, the campaign on the status of ASRHR in South Africa, the status of maternal and child health, and the role of families in ensuring Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Rights were met.

With this background, the meeting participants were able to identify “gaps” in ASRHRs in South Africa and drafted board frameworks drawn from their experience in the country and beyond. These gaps were broadly classified under the following categories:

  1. Bio-medical interventions (cancer screening, HPV)
  2. Socio-cultural dynamics and community development, gender stereotyping, social norms, youth focus programming, male involvement, community dialogue
  3. Policy and Legislative (National and International), Rule and Law Enforcement.
  4. Service delivery (Access to services and public awareness on ASRHR)
  5. Teenage mentoring and economic empowerment
  6. Sexual rights (LGBT)

Chief among the identified gaps was the lack of synergy among government departments and civil society in achieving outlined goals around ASRHR. It was agreed that synergy would allow for better coordination and implementation of global and national goals toward ASRHR. AAI took advantage of this meeting to remind participants of the importance for national government leaders and civil society in being accountable to international and national policies that contribute to the attainment of ASRHRs.