Iringa bets on reproductive health education to curb teenage pregnancy
This was stated recently during a brainstorming workshop on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and services for peer educators organized by SOS Children’s Villages Tanzania in collaboration with Iringa Municipality.
They said education will help reduce teen pregnancy as well as risky behaviors when high school students engage in sexual activity at an early age.
They said the education they received enabled them to go and teach their peers in schools highlighting the dangers of having sex at an early age.
Faraja Lugenge, a student from Mawelewele Secondary School in Iringa Township, said she came to study for the second time but also came back to give her feedback on what she taught to her classmates about reproductive health education.
“The training was successful in reducing the number of female students becoming pregnant at an early age as well as stopping risky behavior…” she said.
Lugenge said the life skills and reproductive health education provided by SOS in collaboration with the government, gave them the confidence to reduce the risk of bad behavior.
Herman Mjengi, program officer for the Children with Children (CwC) project implemented by SOS Children’s Villages Tanzania in the Iringa region, said the main objective of the project was to promote the well-being of young people. local women and men.
“Today we are in a workshop as a continuation of close cooperation with the government to ensure child welfare and also to assess reproductive health activities in schools,” he said. added.
Mjengi explained that they have already trained students who are peer educators of schools to learn skills on life skills and reproductive health education as well as boss teachers and matrones in schools, so that together , they can have an impact on the knowledge of their peers.
“We believe education can help their peers because they have been able to adapt to build their ability to avoid risky behaviors and have accurate information,” he said.
Correct information includes reproductive health education and the need to educate their peers at school to emphasize SOS’ prevention priority.
“We have two priorities, the first is to prevent and the second is to respond to those who have already been victimized in the community, who have had young children.”
Mjengi explained that it is also necessary to achieve objectives, and recognizing that the institution that brings together the most people is the school.
But the problem will persist if we do not put in place a mechanism to ensure that others do not become victims again.
“We saw that the institution that brings most young people together are schools and saw the need to empower some students to empower their fellow students on the right reproductive health education issues, so they can make the right decisions,” Mjengi said.
Peer educators will be given new materials and will be swept away because in the past they had no knowledge of the reproductive health curriculum in schools.
When we started the project, most people and the community as a whole were unaware of child rights awareness and child protection issues.
“For us as SOS, we have focused on holding public meetings to raise awareness about the rights and welfare of children. “
To a large extent they did, for example, comparing it to the current situation and at the beginning society did not have enough understanding, but now society understands.
But since we started last year in September until now, we have been able to significantly reduce teenage pregnancies, children speak openly and broadly in the context of reproductive health.
We thank the government and other child protection stakeholders for developing the project to achieve more ambitious goals.
Tiniel Mmbaga, Social Welfare Officer at Iringa Council, said it was true that the problem of children with children in Iringa Municipality was serious.
“I would like to thank our partner SOS Children’s Village Tanzania, which we are on the board of Iringa, who are rolling out the project for the children,” said Mmbaga.
She noted that before starting to implement the project, they conducted a baseline survey in which they found that the challenge of children in the municipality was huge, so they proposed the project.
The project operates in two main areas, the first of which is to help young people who are in school so that they do not fall into the category of children with children.
In the sense that female students who then continue their studies should not become pregnant at a young age and enter into another caregiving role (parenting).
But the second area is providing tailored care to those who have already had children, they make sure they get an education to help raise their children by providing them with basic services, says Mmbaga.
“But in line with that, as we know, after girls get pregnant, they drop out of school and take on the responsibility of parenthood.”
Thus, SOS, through the project for children with children, proposed a program to strengthen their capacities in entrepreneurship in order to empower them economically since they are no longer in the education system.
She said entrepreneurship education aims to empower girls so that they can provide basic services to their children, after having no business due to dropping out of school due to pregnancy.
Steven Ngwale is the Acting Director of Iringa Municipality; he thanked the non-governmental organization SOS for the implementation of this project (CwC), which is implemented for three years from 2021 to 2023.
The project aims to provide life skills and reproductive health education to children aged 10-19.
Ngwale said the main aim was to prevent young people from getting pregnant at an early age by girls and for boys not to engage in risky behaviors.
The project is implemented in four schools in the municipality of Iringa, namely Kihesa, Tagamenda, Ipogolo and Mawelewele, providing training to peer educators on life skills.
Peer educators receive reproductive health education to address the problem of teenage pregnancies, with the aim of sustaining the project after donors leave.