In June 2006, Lesedi-Lechabile Primary Care expanded to include a youth-friendly service called; “Lesedi-Lechabile Youth Programme”
Rationale for the programme
Until June 2006, Lesedi-Lechabile Primary Care had been mainly a reproductive health service for adults and youth. Of the more than 8000 STI patients enrolled on the programme since 1996 until 2006, more than 50% of the clients/patients known to be involved in risky sexual behaviour, were found to be youth by age definition.
Initially the Youth Progarmme focused mainly on STI/HIV and AIDS prevention using the IEC (information, education and communication) and SCC (Social change communication) strategies. It has however become evident that the abuse of alcohol and other substances, gender power politics and gender- based violence renders young people vulnerable to risky sexual behaviors. Studies have identified associations between gender-based violence (GBV), the abuse of alcohol and high-risk sexual behavior. Other studies have also found that men and women who combined alcohol use with sexual encounters were generally less likely to use condoms during intercourse.
The youth programme operates from Thabong in a house donated by USAID and through a roving mobile clinic. Services offered include life skills programme as an investment in the future of the youth of the District of Matjhabeng. Lesedi-Lechabile believes that young people should be empowered with factually correct information to enable them to think for themselves and take responsibility for their future. Anecdotally, during focus group meetings held between young people and the Youth Centre staff, most young people in or out of school have verbalized that adults including policy makers, parents, and Government, take decisions about them and not with them.
- Youth in primary schools between the ages of 10 and 12
- Youth in high schools between the ages of 13 and 19
- Youth in institutions of higher learning e.g. FET colleges and Universities
- Youth out of school up to the age of 30