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At Annual Conference, Youth in Africa Urged to Practice Chastity “at individual level”

Poster announcing the Youth Chastity Conference

The need for young people in Africa to practice chastity at “individual level” was emphasized at the annual conference that brought together youth from various African counties to share their respective experiences of living chaste lives amid COVID-19

“Many young people speak about chastity but they do not practice it,” the National Coordinator of the Uganda Young Christian Students (UYCS), Sedruack Enzama said during the Saturday, February 13 event.

He urged the youth in Africa to live chaste lives saying, “Ensure that you practice chastity at individual levels.”

“The true character of a person is told by what they do when they are alone,” he underscored.

Enzama who is a student at the Kampala-based Makerere University observed, “It is as if many youths are forced to be chaste when they are in High Schools. When they go to universities, they stop it and start engaging in other activities for their own pleasure.”

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He went on to encourage youth in High Schools to be guided by principles and carry on with their chaste lives into the universities and beyond. 

“For those in High School, think ahead. Keep up the morality that you have when you go to colleges and Universities,” Enzama said and added, “Chastity is to be followed in our entire lives.”

Organized annually on the Saturday closest to Valentine’s Day, February 14, the Youth Chastity Conference is an initiative that seeks to insist on the value of a “chaste Valentine” amid hype about the celebration.

“We see that Valentine, whose intention might have been good from the onset, has been corrupted. There will be hype in the media about Valentine,” Sr. Rose Macharia, the convener of this year’s conference told ACI Africa February 11

The Kenyan-born Nun added that by living chaste lives, young people can “confidently become role models as opposed to what the media is trying to tell us.” 

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“We believe that once a young person has this upright life, they are going to make decisions and be at peace with themselves and God,” said Sr. Macharia who is at the helm of Mercy Education Office, the entity that spearheaded the conference.

This year’s edition of the Conference was held under the theme “Living Chastity During COVID-19.”

During the two-hour February 13 session, selected students from High Schools sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy in Kenya made presentations on a variety of topics, including the role of peers in promoting chastity among the youth, the role of parents in promoting chastity among the youth, and threats to living chastity during COVID-19. 

In a presentation of the role of parents in promoting chastity among the youth, a student from Our Lady of Mercy Secondary School, Shauri Moyo, within the Archdiocese of Nairobi said, “Parents need to educate their children on matters of chastity.”

The student suggested that while educating their children, parents also share their own respective experiences and how they were able to overcome some challenges during their youthful days.

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Parents need to “teach about assertiveness and that assertiveness does not mean to become disrespectful but to share views while respecting other people,” the student further said, adding that parents need to support their children morally and financially.

During the conference, the Director of the Mercy Education Office, Sr. Macharia, urged the youth to lead by example, living chaste lives. 

“Your dignity has effects on other people. Be role models,” Sr. Macharia said, adding that young people should not engage in sex before marriage because “true love waits for marriage.”

“Chastity is not only for the old,” Sr. Macharia underscored.

Mercy Education Office organized the February 13 virtual conference in collaboration with Family Watch International, World Youth Alliance, Laudato Si’ Generation, and Human Life International.