By: Bukola Oyinloye, Women Deliver 100 Young Leader from Senegal
This blog is part of a series, edited by Women Deliver, in partnership with Impatient Optimists, on youth perspectives to celebrate World Contraception Day. Share your thoughts in comments and join the conversation at #WCD2012. For more stories and to get involved further visit No Controversy.
Dear Young African Woman,
Imagine yourself at the point of intimacy with your partner when you ask, “Do you have protection?” Your partner responds, “No, I really don’t like using condoms because I don’t feel anything and it’s too much of a hassle! Can we just…not use anything?”
At this moment, it’s important to remember the phrase: “No Pro, No Go,” which means that if you don’t have protection, you’re not going to have sex. “No Pro, No Go” is about safety, common sense and making sure you protect yourself from unintended pregnancy and STDs, including HIV.
This same scenario applies to you, dear Young Africa Man! “No Pro, No Go” means that you are taking responsibility for your future, for being informed about using contraception and respecting the expectations of your partner.
According to the 2010-2011 Senegal Demographic Health Survey, one in five young women ages 15-19 has already begun childbearing. Sixteen percent are already mothers and an additional 3 percent are pregnant with their first child. This means that many young people are having sex, and many might have preferred to prevent pregnancy but didn’t have the information they needed or access to contraception to do so.
It is important for young people to be armed with information so that they can make the best decision for their bodies and their lives. There are a number of contraceptive methods available to young people today. Some of these include birth control pills, condoms, intrauterine devices (IUDs), implants, the ring, shots or patches. All of these come with risks and rates of effectiveness, and it’s always important to consult a health professional to get all the facts. Your choice will depend on your own specific situation.
Getting more information with your partner about any of these contraceptive options and others that might be available is a great way to start an honest conversation about your expectations, plans and limits. It’s important for you both to communicate about unintended pregnancies, any history with STDs and getting tested. Some of these also incur a cost which must be factored into your decisions.
No method of contraception is 100 percent effective, and saying no is always an option. If you do not feel ready, WAIT. And if you cannot afford to pay for it, WAIT. Nothing is as safe as abstinence.
The consequences from making the decision to have sex when you aren’t ready shouldn’t be taken lightly, and will have an impact on you for the rest of your life.
Dear Young African Men and Women, “No Pro, No Go” is about you and the rest of your life.
A Young African Woman.
Bukola Oyinloye is presently an intern on the Youth Learning team at the MasterCard Foundation where she works on the Foundation’s youth education, employment and entrepreneurship portfolios. Prior to this, she worked at the Africa Governance Institute in Dakar, Senegal where she helped coordinate the Institute’s policy advocacy programs, conducted research and managed an online information database. Bukola has a Masters’ degree in International Development and Management and has project management and research experience from Bolivia, Peru and Colombia. She speaks Yoruba, English fluently and has working abilities in Spanish and French. Bukola is passionate about anything Africa.