Changemaker: Veronica Musa
Country of Implementation: Zambia
Zambia remains in the top 20 countries in the world with the highest rates of early teenage pregnancies. Some statistics have shown rates of over 1 700 girls dropping out of school due to pregnancies within a period of ten months. This highlights and presents huge challenges of sexual reproductive health. To solve these challenges, Veronica Musa and her team decided to embark on a project to deliver messages to their community about the impact of early teenage pregnancies and the challenges of unaddressed reproductive health matters. A dedicated team will be established in December 2020 that will intervene by staging community programs like sensitization of members of the community, including parents and young women aged between 15 and 19 years. Veronica and the team will be holding workshops with young women to provide a platform for information exchange on the dangers of early marriages and further informing them of their rights with regards to sex and consent. Seeing the percentage of young women who would have already fallen into the population of early pregnancies, the project team has also arranged counselling programs for better mental health and decision-making post-engagement with early intercourse and/or pregnancies.
Furthermore, the project team will advocate for better re-entry policies for young women who drop out of school. In terms of reproductive health, the team, through community leaders and the ministry of education, will advocate for comprehensive reproductive health to be included in school curriculums. Through community meetings, workshops, print media and broadcast media, the team will educate young women on better reproductive health practices and donate sanitary pads to the vulnerable young women of the project implementation area. Veronica and her team have embraced the Health belief model which explains that behaviours are shaped when people have information about a perceived health threat. Based on this model, the team will aim to reach out to 90% of the community and seek to have at least five spin-off projects for further coverage.