Say ‘no’ to sugar mummies, daddies

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THERE are tales in the metropolis of young men driving big expensive cars with the help of the ‘generous older female friend’.
The reality of sugar mummies and daddies has been in society for a long time and sadly it is becoming trendy to have an ‘older provider’.
One commuter omnibus owner plying the Harare to Gweru route confided to this reporter that it is the older married men that are becoming prey to the young who want an older man to provide trendy comforts like the latest cellular phones and fashionable clothes.
The omnibus operator explained that some young ladies will give sexual favours in exchange for free rides to school or college as well as extra pocket money which the parents might not be able to spare.
SAFAIDS under their programme ‘Young for Real’, have launched a new campaign Madhara kwete: Less sugar more life.
Young for Real programme was launched in 2010 in partnership with HIV and Aids organisations like Women Action Group (WAG), Padare Men’s Forum on Gender and Students and Youth Working on Reproductive Health Action Team (SAYWHAT).
According to the senior programme officer for SAFAIDS Renias Mundingi, the aim of promoting access to sexual and reproductive health and rights among the youth (SRHR).
“The overall programme’s objective was to advocate SRHR policy development and implementation, and awareness raising on SRHR issues faced by young people,” Mundingi said.
The programme was launched in 2010 with the mandate of advocating behaviour change among the youth targeting the women who are said to be at a higher risk of infection.
According to the Zimbabwe Demographic Health Su
rvey (ZDHS, 2010-2011) on average women and men in Zimbabwe have their first sexual encounter before marriage.
According to the survey this also means that women have their first sexual encounter between 18 and 19 while for the males it is between the age of 20 -21.
“Under this campaign Madhara kwete: Less sugar more life, any relationship between two people with an age difference of 10 years or more is an intergenerational relationship and under the survey it was revealed that 15 percent of young women aged 15-19 had sex with a man ten or more years older,” said Mundingi.
He said the survey also revealed that young women are more at risk of having a relationship with a sexually active older man who in most cases will be married.
“One of the factors that drive intergenerational relationships is youth not being content with who they are and what their parents provide for them hence these relationships become a source of material possessions,” he said.
Mundingi went on to add that this was not the primary reason for such relationships existing.
“There are other numerous factors that range from emotional needs, abuse particularly sexual abuse and poverty among other factors that are unique to individuals,” he said.
The programme advocacy platforms will be characterised by drama performances, music competitions, and dance and television series.
According to the organisers the message of the campaign will be to address the dangers of intergenerational relationships which include the life changing increased vulnerability to HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.
The programme also highlights the power dynamics that exist in intergenerational relationships which leave the younger partner vulnerable in terms of negotiating safe sex practices.
“There is power imbalance that exists in the dependency of the young person on the older person which leads to the youthful individual unable to make decisions such as how the relationship unfolds or when to end the affair,” said Mundingi.
Among the tenets of the World AIDS theme Getting to Zero new infections the Madhara kwete: Less sugar more life campaign become relevant in fighting the epidemic.

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