About 19 percent of the sexually active students at surveyed primary and secondary schools in the country are reported to have had sexual intercourse before they turned 13.
The Manager of the Education, Communications and Advocacy Division at the National AIDS Coordinating Agency (NACA), Joseph Kefas, disclosed the startling stat during his speech at the re-launch of the ‘Wise Up’ campaign in Francistown last Friday.
“22.3 per cent of students aged between 13 and 19 years are sexually active. This was revealed in surveys conducted in 2010 and 2016,” said Kefas to the deafening silence of the listening parents and students who attended the campaign at Galo Mall.
The crowd’s astonishment grew as Kefas went into greater detail of the surveys’ worrying findings.
“19.1 per cent of the 22.3 are reported to have had sexual intercourse before the age of 13. What a shocking revelation,” continued Kefas, adding that the surveys were conducted by the then Ministry of Education and Skills Development.
Kefas advised parents to openly discuss sex-related issues with their children, stressing that it was important the youngsters fully understood the possible consequences of their actions.
Originally launched in 2011, the ‘Wise Up’ initiative was set up by NACA to increase the younger generation’s understanding and awareness of HIV and AIDS.
The initial project came to an end in 2015, fading quietly into obscurity until its revival in the second city last week.
This time round, NACA will team up with ACHAP to run the campaign.
ACHAP chief executive officer Dr. Jerome Mafeni believes ‘Wise Up’ has ‘great potential’ for the youth of Botswana, stressing that his organisation had endeavoured to address most of the issues that led to the stalling of the first effort.