Gaborone Teen Club Tackles Teen Pregnancy!

18 06 2010

*For more information about our 2010 Fundraising Drive, please visit our Donations page.*

The following post is courtesy of Leah Whittaker, WUSC Volunteer at the Botswana-Baylor COE  and Adult Volunteer at Gaborone Teen Club:

Teen pregnancy is an increasingly common phenomenon in Botswana.

Gaborone Teen Club Tackles Teen Pregnancy!

On Saturday, 29th May 2010, as a part of my 6-week placement with Teen Club through the World University Service of Canada (WUSC), I had the privilege of attending the Gaborone Teen Club. Despite the cold weather (even for a Canadian it was cold!), a brief power outage at the museum and afternoon rains, I was hard-pressed to find a teen without a smile on his or her face throughout the entire day.

Shortly after 8am, the teens began to arrive. After some morning icebreakers and energizers led by the Teen Leaders, the teens were ready to start their day. Approximately 100 younger teens (13-15) were split between the Botswana National Library and the National Museum. At the library, the teens received an introduction that covered library hours, rules and the borrowing policy. Afterwards, the teens were given a scavenger hunt activity that helped familiarize them with the Dewey Decimal System. The librarian was thrilled by how attentive and well behaved the teens were! At the museum, the teens were put into groups of three and were given a worksheet to complete that required them to locate answers hidden throughout the displays. Halfway through the morning, the groups at the library and the museum switched so that everyone had the opportunity to complete both activities.

The older teens (16-19) participated in the Life Skills session on teen pregnancy. They began with an educational session on pregnancy and reproductive anatomy taught by a volunteer from BOFWA. Then, the males and females were separated. The females completed a true or false activity to help dispel many of the myths surrounding pregnancy and contraception. Afterwards, they had the opportunity to hear from two teen mothers who came to share their experiences. The males had the chance to speak with a man who became a father while he was still a teen.

At noon, all of the teens gathered in the classroom to hear the results of last month’s Teen Leader elections. The room was filled with smiles and cheers as the winners came up to accept their certificates. The teens also recognized the contribution of the three retiring Teen Leaders, thanking them for all of their dedication and hard work over the past year.

I must admit, prior to the event I was a little bit nervous about having to maintain order amongst a large group of teenagers. However, I was completely blown away by the teamwork and cooperation that goes on at a Teen Club event; it was definitely one of the most respectful and enthusiastic groups of adolescents that I have worked with to date. The Teen Leaders and the adult volunteers did a great job keeping everyone engaged. Everyone worked together to ensure that the morning events and lunch ran smoothly.

I will be leaving Botswana with nothing but positive memories to share. Eagerly, I look forward to keeping up with the Teen Club as its membership continues to grow and as it forges ahead as a leader in adolescent support!

Molepolole Teen Club: A Volunteer Passes the Torch

10 06 2010

*For more information about our 2010 Fundraising Drive, please visit our Donations page.*

The following post is courtesy of Molly Waite, a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and former Adult Volunteer for Molepolole Teen Club:

A Peace Corps Volunteer prepared a cake to celebrate over a year of Molepolole Teen Club events. (Photo courtesy of Lena Muldavin)

Molepolole Teen Club: A Volunteer Passes the Torch

Back in October 2008, when I was working as a new Life Skills Peace Corps Volunteer in Molepolole, Botswana, I joined a group of volunteers to organize a Baylor Teen Club in the village without actually knowing much about what it entailed. But eventually we found Hope World Wide Botswana, a local NGO (non-governmental organization) to sponsor the club. In November 2008, we started holding Teen Club meetings with about five HIV-positive adolescents, referred by doctors and nurses working at the local hospital. By May 2010 we had more than 25 members with the numbers still rising. So as myself and other volunteers prepared to leave, we decided to have a meeting with Hope World Wide as well as the new and old volunteers.

We began by discussing our many accomplishments. Two male and female Teen Leaders were elected and participated in planning and implementing the monthly meetings on the first Saturday of every month between 10:30am and 2:30pm. With the adult facilitators and the Teen Leaders we learned how to work together as a team to meet the needs of the teen members. We planned a day at a swimming pool to teach members to swim. Another time we invited a hip hop artist to teach us to dance. One weekend a year ago, we went to a local game reserve to learn about the animals and to improve teamwork within our club, and planned many life skill activities. We learned about self-awareness by drawing an outline of each teen on the floor, followed by writing and discussing the individual’s personal qualities. Barclays Bank Botswana sent representatives to teach the teens how to handle money through projects involving budgeting. We have had sessions on dating, medication adherence and ARV medication, etc. More recently we have watched and discussed videos in Setswana and English about discrimination against those living with HIV as well as how to live positively with HIV. And in addition to all this we have conducted energizers, sporting activities, lunch and crafts.

So as I left Botswana in June 2010, I felt assured that Molepolole Teen Club will be in capable hands and continue in the near future to address the challenges that our teen members have in terms of living positively and learning how to be future leaders. Both the Teen Leaders and the adults have a passion and commitment to lead the club forward. So I can feel assured that the group we started over a year ago will be in good hands.


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