“Gone are the days where policy makers tell you want is right for you, you should tell us what is right for you,” Neo Masisi, First Lady of the Republic of Botswana, encouraged at the second annual First Lady’s Girls Summit in Tutume.

The UNFPA-supported event brought together over 200 adolescent girls and boys from 15 schools in the subdistrict. Hosted under the theme #BreakingBarriers, the summit created a safe space for young girls to dialogue and be provided correct information on sexual and reproductive health issues, as well as discuss normally taboo topics like teenage pregnancy, sexual abuse and exploitation, and HIV prevention.

The annual Girls Summit, initiated in 2018, is part of Ms. Masisi’s continued efforts to connect with as many girls as possible around Botswana to understand the challenges they face, while inspiring and empowering a generation of life champions.

Botswana suffers one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world, and is the only country in Southern Africa where new HIV infections are rising and teenage pregnancy remains high for a middle-income country.

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