Changemaker: Judith Boshe
Young people require not only basic information about their health, bodies, preventing HIV/STIs and pregnancy, but also programs that address gender equality, empowerment, rights and responsibilities, and sexual and reproductive negotiation and decision-making. In this project we aim to create a toolkit tailored to cover some of these issues by concentrating on three thematic areas, the medical, social and legal aspect of reproductive health. This will be a toolkit that can be used by any facilitator conducting awareness session on Reproductive health.
Unfortunately in Tanzania, we have a very weak culture of reading hence we set out to ensure the public see the need of youth getting the right information about reproductive health at the right time so as to guarantee the utility of the toolkit before its launch! We do so by embarking on a media campaign on cervical cancer (a now leading cancer in women in Tanzania) which has not received the needed publicity. It is also a cancer that among its risk factors are multiple sexual partners and early exposure to sexual intercourse however it is preventable and easily treatable if caught at it early stages.
We divide our project in 2 phases:
Phase 1: We raise awareness on the alarming trends and facts about cervical cancer through radio adverts, news papers, youth TV programs, Facebook, 250 posters, text messaging and 1000 flyers.
Phase 2: Developing the toolkit. This will be done through an interactive session by technical people in these areas together with the project team and young people living in vulnerable environments i.e. orphans and street children. We chose this group because it is maybe the most vulnerable youth in danger among themselves due to experiencing changes within their bodies that they may not know how to deal with and from people surrounding them who might want to take advantage of their situation and abuse them. Moreover, in most cases this is also the group of youth that is most often forgotten when conducting such programs.
The resultant toolkit will be for awareness sessions on Reproductive health by any youth organization and caretakers of the orphan centers for youth and orphans respectively.