Iringa uses reproductive health education to curb teenage pregnancy
This was recently noted during a reflection workshop on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and services for peer educators organized by SOS Children’s Villages Tanzania in collaboration with the Municipality of Iringa.
They said the education will help reduce teenage pregnancy and risky behaviors as secondary school students engage in sexual activity at an early age.
They said the education they received enabled them to teach their peers in the schools by pointing out the dangers of sex at an early age.
Faraja Lugenge, a student at Mawelewele Secondary School in the municipality of Iringa, said it was her second time to learn, but they also came back to provide feedback on what she had been teaching her classmates about reproductive health education.
“The training could reduce the number of students getting pregnant at an early age and stop risky behaviors…” she said.
Lugenge said the life skills and reproductive health education provided by SOS in partnership with the government have given them the confidence to reduce the risk of bad behavior.
Herman Mjengi, program officer for the Children with Children (CwC) project run by SOS Children’s Villages Tanzania in the Iringa region, said the main objective of the project is to promote the well-being of young women and men in the region.
“Today we are in a workshop as a continuation of working closely with the government to ensure child welfare and also to assess reproductive health activities in schools,” he added.
Mjengi explained that they have already trained students who are peer educators from schools to acquire skills in life skills and reproductive health education, as well as patronage and matronly teachers in schools so that together they can influence the knowledge of their peers.
“We believe that 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.
For example, correct information includes education about reproductive health and the need to educate peers in school to emphasize the SOS priority of prevention.
“We have two priorities, the first is to prevent and the second is to respond to those who have already been victims in the community and have had children at a young age.”
Mjengi explained that it is also necessary to achieve goals and to realize that the institution that gathers the most people is the school.
But the problem will continue if we don’t put in place a mechanism to ensure others don’t become victims again.
“We saw that the institution that gathers the most young people is schools and saw the need to empower some students to empower their peers on the right reproductive health education issues so they can make the right decisions,” said mjengi
The peer educators receive new material and are turned away because they had no prior knowledge of the reproductive health curriculum in schools.
When we started the project, most people and the community in general were unaware that child rights awareness and child protection is at stake.
“For us as SOS, we have focused on making sure we hold public gatherings to raise awareness of children’s rights and welfare. “
To a large extent they did it, for example, by comparing it to the current situation, and in the beginning society didn’t have enough understanding, but now society understands.
But since we started last September so far we have seen a significant reduction in teenage pregnancies, children speaking openly and broadly in the context of reproductive health.
We thank the government and other child protection stakeholders for the purpose of further developing the project to achieve greater goals.
Tiniel Mmbaga, a social welfare officer at Iringa Council, said it is true that the problem of children with children is serious in the Iringa community.
“I would like to thank our partner SOS Children’s Villages Tanzania who we are in the Iringa Council implementing the children’s project,” said Mmbaga.
She noted that before they started implementing the project, they had done a baseline survey where they found that the challenge for children in the community was tremendous, and that’s how they came up with the project.
The project works in two main areas, the first of which is to help young people 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 should enter a different caring (parenting) role.
But the second area is to provide responsive care for those who already have children. They ensure they receive education to help them raise their children by providing them with basic services, Mmbaga says.
“But consistent with how we know it, after girls get pregnant, they drop out of school and take on the responsibilities of parenthood.”
Therefore, SOS has developed a program through the project for children with children to build their capacity in entrepreneurial issues to empower them economically since they are no longer in the education system.
She said entrepreneurship education aims to empower girls to provide basic services to their children after being left without activities due to dropping out of school due to pregnancy.
Steven Ngwale is Acting Director of Iringa Parish; he thanked the non-governmental organization SOS for the implementation of this project (CwC), which will be carried out for three years from 2021 to 2023.
The project aims to provide education on life skills and reproductive health to children aged 10-19.
Ngwale said the main goal is to prevent young people from getting pregnant at an early age on the part of girls and for boys not to engage in risky behaviors.
The project will be implemented in four schools in Iringa Municipality namely Kihesa, Tagamenda, Ipogolo and Mawelewele by teaching life skills to peer educators.
Peer educators receive reproductive health education to address the issue of early pregnancy with the aim of making the project sustainable after the donor leaves.