Over Rwf150 million earmarked for young people’s education on reproductive health

By Zaninka Umutesi
On 15 December 2022 at 03:08

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has initiated a project aimed at educating young people on reproductive health and AIDS prevention strategies starting with primary and secondary schools, churches and parents’ evening forums (Utugoroba tw’Ababyeyi).

A total of US$150,000 has been allocated for the implementation of the project named O3 Programme or Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future for this year, which will be renewed in the term of three years.

During the official launch of the project on 14th December 2022, UNESCO’s staff members overseeing its implementation revealed that more efforts will be expended to educate young people on reproductive health, strategies to prevent AIDS and enlighten them on violence against children among others.

Dr. Ben Alexandre Mpozembizi, National Programme officer and coordinator of UNESCO Rwanda antenna, has said that educating young people on reproductive health requires effort and involves educating parents through community engagement programs.

"As Rwandans, we need this project to help the youth prevent unplanned pregnancies, gender-based violence, and combat AIDS, given that they are on the rise,” he noted.

Dr. Mpozembizi further disclosed that they are working with the government which oversees citizens’ interests to ensure smooth implementation.

"We will teach people through religious denominations as they bring together a large number of congregants, educate teachers with emphasis on those from Teachers’ Training Colleges and target the rest of the population through village gatherings,” he disclosed.

Dr. Mpozembizi highlighted that, children need to be enlightened on such issues early so that they can shun violence against them and contain the rising prevalence of AIDS cases among young people.

The project is expected to start extending awareness among teachers from Teacher Training Colleges (TTC) across the country that will pass on their knowledge to learners.

The Head of Mathematics and Science department at Rwanda Basic Education Board (REB), Félicien Rugengamanzi Nkubana said: “There is a need to train teachers in primary and secondary schools, especially in TTC. We are convinced that the program will yield good results as the teachers will be able to educate children in consideration of their ages.”

He said the project comes in handy as teachers would sometimes find it difficult to teach reproductive health appropriately due to cultural constraints, beliefs or primitive mindsets.

Currently, this project is rolled out in 33 countries, where it is expected to reach more than 20 million students in 64,000 schools, 47,000 pre-service teachers, over 367,000 in-service teachers.

Additionally, it expects to reach more than 30.5 million people including parents, guardians, religious leaders and young people out of school through community engagement activities.

Participants of the event in a group photo.
The project is expected to change many people's mindsets.
Aha Albert Mutesa chatting with Rugengamanzi Nkubana Felecien representing REB at the event.
The Head of Mathematics and Science department at REB, Félicien Rugengamanzi Nkubana said that the project is expected to yield good results after training teachers.
Participants of the meeting were given floor to share ideas on how best to extend awareness on reproductive health.
Dr. Ben Alexandre Mpozembizi said that educating children will go hand in hand with extending awareness to parents.
It was an opportune moment for participants of the event to exchange views.
Mukarugwiza Therese called for concerted efforts to make the project a success.