By Musa Bulama Kures
Government Girls’ College Damaturu is a learning center that has been grooming young girls from around the country toward self-discovery and purpose. The students have a strong enthusiasm to learn and make positive changes that will make them great. The academic environment has made efforts, though it still lacked the capacity to fully educate the students about how to make healthy lifestyle decisions as it relates to their sexual and reproductive life. As a result of this identified gap, a health club was introduced by the SFH Lafiya ASRH project in collaboration with the state relevant Ministries Department and Agencies (MDAs), such as State Ministry of Health (SMOH), State Ministries of Education (SMOE) and State Primary Health Care Boards (SPCHB). The club was inaugurated to promote the students’ health and well-being by educating them on how to prevent specific diseases and prepare them for a brighter future through timely mentorship and awareness programme. The creation of this club led to the transformation of a 16-year-old female named Fatima Saleh who joined the club.
Prior to this intervention, Fatima lacked self-esteem and had poor interpersonal and communication skills. The decision to join the health club established by SFH became her turning point to an exciting journey of improved self-confidence and a better interpersonal and communication skill, one she never had before.
“Actually, before the commencement of this programme I wasn’t like this. Now I am able to think positively and make the right decisions about my life” (Fatima said).
This intervention changed Fatima’s perception and that of her colleagues towards healthy lifestyle, appropriate decision making, and helped boost their self-confidence. Before the school health club was established, Fatima had issues with understanding her self-worth, but now she believes she can achieve her dream of becoming a medical doctor as a result of the mentoring on self-esteem, goal setting, decision making, leadership, and communication which she received from the school health club.
The Lafiya ASRH Project played a vital role in impacting positive behavioural change that promoted the students’ health and gave them insight on how to make a prosperous future.
Previously, students were not well informed about adolescent sexual reproductive health issues, how to promote and maintain good health, make informed decisions, possessing self-esteem and how to communicate and listen effectively. Now, the students’ knowledge has tremendously improved on Sexually transmitted infections/Urinary tract infections (STI/UTI) prevention, menstrual/personal hygiene, nutrition, goal setting and decision making which were the resultant effect of the SFH Lafiya (ASRH) school health club programme.
In the words of the trained mentor, “there has been a change in the way Fatima relate with people now, she has good listening and communication skills and she’s now confident on doing what she thinks is right.” Lawan Salisu (peer mentor).