The project that was officially launched on Thursday, January 23, 2020, in Nyagatare District is expected to raise awareness on sexual reproductive health among the youth between 10 to 24 years of age with the help of their parents, medical doctors, and teachers.
The project’s theme is; “It is your right to have knowledge about sexual reproductive health.”
Imbuto Foundation’s Eric Kayiranga who heads the project said it will focus on three levels that include the youth aged 10 to 24.
“Among those [the youth], some are at school while others are not. We will work for hand in hand with secondary schools, all health centers around Nyagatare and 47 health posts. In all of those places, we will be targeting the youth. I cannot say that we are going to entirely eradicate this problem, but we are putting in our contribution to minimize the problem, to reduce the number of teen pregnancies.”
Kayiranga added that they will help the youth in certain groups get access to counseling and health services at health centers and health posts, using games, discussions and voluntary testing of different diseases.
Juliet Murekatete, the vice mayor of Nyagatare in-charge of Social Affairs, thanked Imbuto Foundation and said that the fact that Nyagatare’s high incidences of teen pregnancies are sometimes caused by lack of knowledge about sexual reproductive health among parents and their children, the first targets of this project.
“Conflicts in families,” she said, “are the primary cause of teen pregnancies since many people have not yet changed their mindsets about gender equality.”
Africa, the principal of Groupe Scolaire Rwempasha, said that collaboration between teachers and parents in educating the girl child about sexual reproductive health is needed.
“Every adult should correct any child he or she sees deviating from upright moral behavior as his or her own child or child of the country. We all need to work together. We need to hold on our values because most of those who tempt the children are adults.”
The leader of Ndama Health Center, Kayumba Samuel, said that the project already existed but they are going to put in much effort.
“Every health center has two focal persons trained about the sexual reproductive health of the youth. We also have a place where we counsel the youth to prevent diseases.”
He added that there are those get early pregnancies because of poor mindsets. However, he added, the more efforts put into educating them, the more the problem decreases.
In 2010, the project operated in Nyarugenge and Gicumbi districts.
A survey done by the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion shows that between 2016 and 2018, 70,000 teens were impregnated, 36% of who (19,800 teens) are from the Eastern Province.
Nyagatare District tops highest number of teen pregnancies.
According to the vice mayor of Nyagatare District, in 2019, the number of teenage pregnancies was 1,814.