Magunje Youth Centre
Magunje Youth Centre an ideal youth friendly facility
Magunje youth centre is a model youth facility that offers effective adolescent sexual reproductive health service delivery. Located in Mashonaland West at Magunje Growth Point, the youth centre has a large catchment area that includes the growth point, surrounding schools and the rural areas. The centre offers clinical services, recreational facilities, library and reading room as well as adolescent sexual reproductive health information and education. Speaking to Mrs Angela Mutede the Youth Health Advisor at the centre, Straight Talk managed to get an insight into the one stop shop in sexual reproductive health for young people.
The youth centre is manned by five people that include the Youth Health Advisor, qualified youth friendly Nurse Counsellor, Receptionist Clerk, Librarian and Janitor. The youth centre also has peer educators, these are fellow youths trained in ASRH who offer advice to their peers and moderate health related group discussions. The target clients for this facility are youths both in and out of school. The centre opens at 0800 to 1630 hours during the day.
Under the clinical services the youth centre possesses a spacious consultation room that is well equipped and stocked with medication for various ailments including Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). The facility has a counselling room that offers privacy and confidential counselling services for young people. Voluntary Counselling and Testing for HIV is performed at this facility as well.
“A lot of youths both in and out of school come to access clinical services at the youth centre. Due to the convenience and youth friendly personnel at the centre young people feel free to visit the clinic and get treatment” said Mrs. Mutede.
Magunje youth centre provides recreational facilities that is indoor and outdoor games. These include ball games, darts, chess and table tennis among other sporting disciplines. Youths come to occupy their leisure time playing sport and thus refrain from drug abuse, sexual activities and committing crimes. Young people form teams which compete against one another in sport thereby improving their physical well being through sports.
For informative and educational facilities, the youth centre has an entertainment room that is equipped with a television and a Digital Video Disk (DVD) player. Youths come to watch adolescent sexual reproductive health related videos that teach them abstinence, being assertive, resisting peer pressure among other topics. On the other hand youths get time to watch other television programmes that inform them about life, science, arts and culture. Peer educators moderate these group discussions.
“During these television programmes young people undertake group discussions on the messages being communicated by the videos and advise each other on following good moral values” said Mrs Mutede.
Youths take part in dramas that convey messages to empower youths to abstain from sexual activities. Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials that include posters and pamphlets are disseminated to youths to read more on sexual reproductive health and their rights as young people. Furthermore the youth centre is equipped with a well stocked library with a wide range of academic books for secondary and tertiary education. Thus youths come to borrow the books for free and return after they finish reading. The library facility supplements the books in schools.
With a staff complement of five and a good number of peer educators, Magunje Youth Centre undertakes outreach services visiting surrounding schools, churches and communities to raise awareness and sensitize young people to visit the centre to access these services.
Mrs. Mutede reiterated that, “We work closely with the Ministry of Education to seek authority to visit schools often and offer adolescent sexual reproductive health educational talks. The topics we discuss with youths include highlighting the negative consequences of school drop-out, teenage pregnancy and drug abuse.”