The AGYW activation was held at Mahlangatja iNkundla on the 13 September 2019. Welcoming remarks were given by iNkhundla Bucopho, Mr Mndzebele, who expressed his gratitude to World Vision and CANGO for having chosen the Mahlangatja iNkhundla in providing relevant services to its youth. He encouraged all young people who were part of the program to change their old habits and old ways and be a positive influence to other young people and the community at large.
On behalf of World Vision Eswatini, Bongekile Nxumalo, appreciated Mahlagatjas AGYW for attending the event and announced that this was a day to celebrate their enrollment and completion of the Stepping Stones program. The Stepping Stones program was made up of sessions that equipped young people to make informed decisions about their lives. She encouraged AGYW to share the information that they had received from Stepping Stones; put what they had learnt into practice and be a positive change in the community. She also mentioned that the project will be ongoing for the next two years and so urged all AGYW who were a part of Stepping Stones to encourage other young people to take part in the program.
CANGOs social media officer also thanked all partners for making the event successful and urged AGYW to take part in the social media program "IGNITE" through engaging on the various social media platforms and pages under the IGNITE program.
Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision- ICAP
Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision services were provided during the activation. Male circumcision was explained as the surgical removal of the foreskin, which is the retractable fold of tissue that covers the head of the penis. Medical male circumcision is said to reduce the risk of female-to-male sexual transmission of HIV by approximately 60%. This is because the inner part of the foreskin is highly susceptible to HIV infections. VMMC is highly recommended as an additional strategy for HIV prevention, particularly amongst Adolescent Boys and Young Men as it provides life-long partial protection against HIV as well as other sexually transmitted infections. However, it should always be used in conjunction with other methods of prevention, such as female and male condoms. VMMC also benefits women over time by decreasing the number of HIV infected men in the population, thereby reducing the probability that women encounter HIV infected sexual partners. Furthermore, VMMC reduces the risk of acquiring several Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), including Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection and cervical cancer among women.
Overview of SODV Act- Royal Eswatini Police
The much talked about Sexual Offences & Domestic Violence (SODV) Bill was also a topic of the day during the activation. A representative of the Royal Eswatini Police was invited to shed information on this Bill. The SODV Bill has been in place since 2009 but it recently received Royal Assent from His Majesty King Mswati III in July 2018. It has now been passed into law known as The Sexual Offences & Domestic Violent Act. The SODV Act protects the innocent whilst punishing the perpetrators sufficiently, it also curbs both sexual and domestic violence within our society. It seeks to restore peace in different family settings taking into account cohabiting spouses. It makes the courts more accessible for victims of domestic violence. It protects both male and female victims of rape and the indecent treatment of children including any sexual behaviour towards children. Such acts can have a lasting negative effect on the mind of a child. In the SODV Bill, no one should be forced to engage in certain acts such as fondling, masturbation or other sexually suggestive acts against their will. The Bill also prevents unsolicited demands or request for sexual favours, or any form of remark which has sexual connotation. It also criminalizes marital rape and other domestic violence offences; makes provision for Specialised Domestic Violence Courts; creates mechanisms and avenues for reporting of offences; and requires medical examination and treatment of victims.
What some Stepping Stones participants had to say..