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close this bookMezzo: For Young People by Young People (IPPF, 1997, 52 p.)
close this folderPERSONAL
View the documentFOCUS ON: sexual abuse. No means no
View the documentShazia's dilemma. Who chooses your marriage partner
View the documentDear Pramilla. Mezzo's problem page
View the documentPregnant. Consider your options with a little help from mezzo
View the documentViewpoint. UNFPA essa competition winners
View the documentPrivate and confidential. The essential qualities to look for in a family planning clinic
View the documentWhat if...? Do any of these situations sound familiar?

Viewpoint. UNFPA essa competition winners



HISTORY demonstrates that the imposition of extremely strict taboos on sexual relations yields no effective results. On the contrary, various benighted interpretations of the sex act emerge which have a pernicious effect on young people. Heavy-handedness, "brainwashing" and moralizing will not stop the young from engaging in sexual activity.
Elmira Gilmudinova, 17, Kazakhstan

ON the one hand, society places a protective veil over the realm of sex, preventing young people from getting the knowledge they need; on the other, young people's senses are excited... Young people thus remain ignorant of sexual knowledge while being subjected to sensory stimulation that excites their desires, so how can teenage pregnancy be prevented under such conditions? I believe that the fundamental solution is to provide sex education to young people.
Zhou Quan, 18, China

THE misconception is that sex education teaches people how to have sex, whereas it actually teaches young people about the development of their body- reproductive health, sexually transmitted diseases and contraceptives. Because adults do not like to discuss sex, adolescents gel most of their information about sex from their friends and from the media. Most of the time friends do not have all the information that a teenager should be given, or worse, the information is not correct... I think sex education should be taught in schools, but the parents must be responsible for this too, because schools may take a narrow view of what informations is to be given.
Nadia Blaja, 16, Moldova

I MET this girl in my village the other week. She was pregnant with her seventh child getting married at the age of 14 to a 17 year old boy of her own caste. Being of a low caste with no education, she didn't have any control over her own life... If Mona had been given the opportunity of education, to make her own money, and awareness of her body she would not become the slave of the tradition and the society. This would cause greater independence and higher quality of her life.
Hari Ghimire, 20, Nepal

THINK before you act. Sex has more disadvantages than advantages at our age. It won't kill you to wall. Your pals are not the ones who might end up out of school, without a job, pregnant. You are. Let your boyfriend understand. If his brain is actually above his belt, he'll comprehend your reasons for not rushing into that as yet. It you decide to take the plunge, be absolutely sure it's what you want and make sure you're well-protected. A mistake could be costly.
Melissa Johnson, 14, Jamaica

A WOMAN gives birth and the first question she must answer to her friends is what sex the baby is. When it's a boy, everyone is very happy and there is the famous expression "se gan gallina" which is roughly the same as saying, "you won the lottery", yet when It's a girl, people say - with satisfaction but less fanfare - "now your home's little servant has been born". This shows that In society women serve only for houseworks... People must be educated not to disapprove when a woman carries out activities which only men can allegedly perform, such as working as a gas pump attendant, fixing cars, running a business, and all the other activities we are capable of, and also not to disapprove of men who help out at home or in some other activities which until now have only been done by women.
Carolina Leonor Ruiz Herrera, 18, Guatemala

I THINK the media must play a role in this raising of awareness, as must schools and clubs and youth organizations. They must try to learn young people's opinions, particularly with regard to subjects relating to population and development. In order that in future, every person is able to enjoy all his rights and freedoms, including the rights to education and health, without discrimination on the grounds of sex, language, ethnic origin or religion.
Saad Al-Din Mahmud Zaidan, 19, Egypt

Excerpts from some of the winning entries of the UNFPA International Youth Essay Contest 1996: "Promoting Responsible Reproductive Behaviour".