Since January 2013, World Renew has been implementing a Canadian government-funded, four-year project in Senegal and Nigeria. The project aims to protect young people from sexual exploitation, equip them to make healthier decisions, and teach skills to help them start a business.
It involves training young people with lessons about their bodies, their rights, and the risks they face when they make certain decisions. These young people then teach these lessons to a group of their peers who are between 15 and 25 years old.
“This program is very important,” said Pastor Sene of St. Louis, Senegal. “There are so many problems in the neighborhoods of our city and in our villages.”
Groups of young people use skits, song, and dance to address difficult subjects, formerly considered taboo, with their parents and other adults.
“I am always quite shy,” one female participant in Senegal said. “But during the lessons, we did a lot of skits and songs so that when it was time to perform for our village, I knew what to say and do.”
Parents report that as a result of the program, they are now having healthy conversations with their children and young people are making better choices. Several instances of exploitation and abuse have been prevented.
Angela Ukpanukpong, a female participant in Nigeria, said that through the program she has made a commitment to maintain good values and avoid risky behaviors. She is confident that God will continue growing her leadership abilities so she can contribute to her home and country.
About the Author
Kristen deRoo VanderBerg was part of the World Renew Communications team from 1999-2016. She now serves as director of Communications & Marketing for the Christian Reformed Church.