D-Ability MentorTeens Project was initiated to help address the many challenges the teenagers are facing. There are many issues affecting teenagers especially in developing countries. These include reproductive health, HIV prevention and care, psychoactive substance abuse, and many others. Reproductive health education is a key strategy for promoting sexual safety among teenagers. The challenge is that there are millions of teens who are uninformed. Many become victims of sexual exploitation and suffer the attendant consequences.
Substance abuse, on the other hand, refers to the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances, including alcohol and illicit drug. The rate of psychoactive substance abuse among teenagers in and out of high school in Nigeria is alarming. It can only be understood through direct interaction with the teens by trusted mentors. It is now a major Public Health challenge all over the world, particularly in developing countries. Complications of substance abuse by young people are grave including increased odds of engaging in risky sexual behaviour, personality disorders, sexual violence, criminal tendencies, and drug dependence among others. Many factors have been identified to be responsible for drug abuse among young people, these include experimental curiosity, peer pressure, poor socioeconomic condition at home, and the need for extra energy for daily activities among others. While many studies have been conducted in Nigeria on substance abuse, the menace of this social anomaly has remained unabated, particularly among the youths.
The burden of substance abuse is still high among students who had not received any formal teaching on the subject. Awareness campaigns on the dangers associated with substance abuse should be intensified in various secondary schools in Nigeria. It is necessary that social media and other channels of communication could be positively engaged in reaching the youths on this subject.
Launched in 2018, this Project has been changing the future of hundreds of teens for the better. It has been leading them on the path to greatness in areas such as reproductive health education; HIV/AIDS prevention and care; psychoactive substance abuse; and many more. It is also designed to equip teens to become mentors to their peers, spreading the word and saving lives. We have established small hubs known as D-Ability MentorTeens’ Club in 5 secondary/high schools, reaching over 1050 teens in Rivers State, Nigeria. We are catching them young!