Adama, Ethiopia – Renowned South Africa musician, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, on Tuesday hailed the efforts of an Ethiopian family planning body, the Family Guidance Association of Ethiopia (FGAE), for championing the cause of sexual and reproductive health as well as providing access to family planning tools to a large number of people.
Chaka Chaka made the commendation after a field trip to three community-based projects at Adama, Oromyia region, located in the eastern part of the country, some 120 km from the capital, Addis Ababa.
The projects are the Adama Clinic, Central Area Office Sex Workers Clinic and Nazareth Youth Centre. The three projects are being operated by FGAE, a member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).
“I am actually very happy that in this Youth Centre, there are many boys and girls. When girls get pregnant, when girls fall sick, it is not their making; it’s girls and boys, so it is important that we have all of them coming here.
“I think this youth centre needs to be replicated everywhere so that they would be working together as boys and girls protecting each other, knowing about their bodies and knowing what is right and what is wrong. I think this, for me, is something that is commendable and should be replicated elsewhere,” the song star told journalists in an interview.
Over 200 joyous youths, who have benefited from the various services provided by the centre, welcomed Chaka Chaka with songs and dance.
The centre provides free internet services, information on sexual and reproductive health, library services, Information Education and Communication (IEC) training in ICT, emergency contraceptives, counselling, diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, HIV and medical services to the youth in the community.
“This centre is an asset to the community particularly the youths. We learn several things about reproductive health, which has helped us a lot,” 20-year-old Ayaikebet Kassaiye, told PANA in an exclusive interview.
” I feel very happy that Chaka Chaka is visiting us…She has been participating in education of Africa’s youth. I have heard so much about her, I am very happy to meet her today,” said Kassaiye, who also led the Youth Musical Club, one of the several other clubs at the centre.
The FGAE Central Area Office Sex Workers Clinic was set up in 2011. It provides services on prevention of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, treatment, HIV testing and counselling.
It also promotes the use of condoms and their distribution, provides family planning services on short and long term methods and referral services. Commercial sex workers are also encouraged to learn a trade that will make them self employed.
Twenty-year-old Firaot Degega, a former sex worker, who left the work after two years, said: ”I left because I realised that it was not a good job. Basically the counselling I received here also helped me to decide to learn a trade. Today I am a caterer; I operate my own catering services. Let me just advice those still engaged in sex work to leave and acquire necessary skills that will make them independent.”
FGAE Head of Office and Central Area Office Advisory Board Chairperson, Dr. Lemi Guta, said the association over the last 40 years had been providing dedicated, quality and a broad range of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services in Ethiopia.
Family Guidance Association of Ethiopia is an autonomous non-profit indigenous Non-Governmental Organisation. It has been working to promote sexual reproductive health and family planning rights and services.