Nigeria is the most populous country in sub-Saharan Africa, with a very young population; in 2015, 22% of the country’s population was between the ages of 10-19, and as of 2022, this has increased to half of the country’s population. Current evidence highlights that young people have unmet sexual health needs requiring urgent action. Associating sexual health issues with shame propagates secrecy, causing young people to hide information, especially when discussing it with older people.
Adolescence is a critical formative period of development. Therefore, sexual health education during this period is likely to foster positive attitudes and healthy behaviours in adult years. Investing in young people has been shown to yield multigenerational dividends for the present, future and next generation.
Young people are vital to economic and social development, and inaccessibility to sexual health services threatens multisectoral growth by jeopardising their well-being. Poor health generates and sustains poverty, creating a vicious cycle that impedes multisectoral development while depleting resources and degrading the environment.
Young people have poor sexual health literacy levels and little to no access to comprehensive sexual health education and services, making them vulnerable to risky behaviours with grave immediate and future consequences. Also, with the high levels of poverty, young people are at greater risks of engaging in dangerous behaviours in order to make ends meet.
Based on the unmet needs, Jika Adolescent Hub was founded to support young people in Nigeria and globally by maximising their agency and improving access to comprehensive sexual health information and linkage to sexual health services.
Working mainly with youth volunteers and health workers, our Community-Based, My Body, My Future Programme empowers young people at the grassroots with complete knowledge about their sexual health and create safe environments that encourage honest and open conversations.
Furthermore, through our Young Learners Programme, we are empowering young people with life-long employability and entrepreneurial skills that can build their autonomy and provide a source of safe transition to adulthood and future livelihood.
By pairing skills acquisition trainings with our sexual and menstrual health education programmes, we are incentivising young people to engage and learn about their sexual health and skills that could strengthen their future social and economic status in their communities.
Additionally, to expand our reach, through the Sexual Health Education (SHE) Programme, we leverage digital tools to deliver sexual health education to young people and communities and improve literacy levels. We aim to discourage risky sexual behaviours and promote healthy behaviours around relationships.
Our Young Learners Programme is also empowering young leaders who will inspire and raise the next generation of leaders in their various communities.
Overall, our programmes utilise combination approaches to improve progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3, 4, 5, 8 and 17 through progress in specific SDGs targets for young people.