Growing up is an inevitable process characterised by different stages. Adolescence is a stage in the development of an individual and is the stage before adulthood. It is a period when a child experiences a sense of identity and uniqueness. The importance of this stage cannot be overemphasised because of its attendant challenges. Adolescents constitute about 1.8 billion of the world population. Of this, about 721 million are between the ages of 12 and 17 and 850 million are aged between 18 and 24. In Nigeria, there are about 30 million adolescents. Thus, their knowledge and access to reproductive health rights at this sensitive period is germane for a healthy nation. Pre-marital sex, sexually transmitted infections, unplanned pregnancies and abortion occur mostly at this stage because a lot of experimenting goes on by the young adolescents. This in turn would have adverse consequences on the reproductive health and status of the adolescents. This article therefore examines the level of awareness of reproductive health rights and access to justice for adolescents being a major part of the growing population. In doing this, the researchers employ the use of in-depth interviews to elicit information from the affected group in order to determine their knowledge and access. The findings reveal that much of what is known is gathered from unreliable sources. Street Law is a practical approach to teaching law to ordinary audiences via interactive teaching methods. This approach could create an avenue to educate adolescents about the availability of their rights and health services to prevent unwanted pregnancies and challenges. This article therefore recommends that the teaching of reproductive health rights should be included in the curriculum of secondary schools to impact knowledge in order to create access. Community sensitisation campaigns through Street Law can also be employed to increase the level of awareness of reproductive health rights.
African Journal of International and Comparative Law – Edinburgh University Press
Published: Aug 1, 2020