SASA NAWEZA WITH ICT
Tanzania Woman and Youth Development Society (TWYDS) is one of the non government organizations recognizing and act on the unique sexual and reproductive health needs of young people. For nearly 2 years, TWYDS has led project focused on improving adolescents and youth access to sexual, reproductive health and HIV perseverance education services in two regions, under a wide range of circumstances. This project is an idea from the study of various Pathfinders’ International Adolescent and Youth sexual, reproductive health and HIV project models experienced for nearly 40 years around 30 countries around the world.
Adolescence offers a critical juncture for intervention as young people are open to new ideas and beginning to form lifelong attitudes, values, and behaviors. Our programs capitalize on the vitality, potential, and dynamism of young people, including having them as active partners in developing, implementing, and evaluating programs. The TWYDS’ goal is to ensure young people have access to quality services that are tailored to effectively meet the diverse needs of adolescents and youth across countries and cultural contexts.
Youth participation and community involvement are central to TWYDS’s adolescent programming as young people are the best poised to advocate for their needs. Given the sensitivities around adolescent sexual and reproductive health, we work with policy makers, parents, teachers, and health workers to recognize and support the special needs of this important and often vulnerable group.
Statement of the problems
Young people represent a growing and increasingly important socioeconomic segment of East and Central Afrca In fact, the adolescent and youth population is the largest cohort in the history of the Region, representing nearly 30% to 40% of the total population. (Dr. Halida, H)
Young people in our region face significant challenges related to sexual and reproductive health. Currently, around 20% of all births in Tanzania are to adolescent mothers (10-19 years of age) while there the number of youth (15-24 years of age) living with HIV in Tanzania is still increasing, and 41% of new adult infections occur among youth. Additionally 1 out of every 20 youth is infected with a curable sexually transmitted infection. In Tanzania, the estimated HIV prevalence among young people (15-24 years) is 0.4% for women and 0.2 % for young men.
Negative sexual and reproductive health issues and outcomes amongst adolescents and youth include unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortion maternal mortality, violence, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, exploitation, and sexual violence, and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Many multidimensional factors contribute to the vulnerability and risk of young people to these negative outcomes, including early initiation of sexual activity, intergenerational and transactional sex, sexual violence and incest, limited access of young people to sexual and reproductive health information and services, lack of a supportive legal and policy environment to facilitate the full enjoyment of sexual and reproductive rights by adolescents, and poverty.
Despite various incipient reforms against these challenges, the key informant interviews revealed that the number and quality of services and resources available to fight against them is minimal. While service providers interviewed, including policy makers, parents, teachers, and health workers, said that they respond to these when presented with a phenomena, there are no protocols for working against these challenges continuously. Likewise, little training on proper protocols is available to service providers. Sexual and Reproductive Health services run by small nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) with limited budgets are available in cities throughout the country, but there is a wide gap in health, psychocological counseling, and social welfare services for Adolescents and Youth.
One of the institutional mechanisms is taking proactive steps to address the area of concern is the provision of Adolescent and Youth sexual and reproductive Health services especially girls in collaboration with the Voluntary organizations under the scheme of Govt. Essentially the project is taking and expected to take care of all sexual, reproductive health and HIV dimensions to Adolescent and Youth in a holistic manner.
Main Component of Activities
• Creating Youth awareness on sexual and productive health
• Counseling on matters relating to sexual and reproductive health to adolescent and youth
• Advocating and empower youth to stand against risk behavior, poor policies and cultural norms which endangers sexual and reproductive health
Objectives of our projects
Our projects aim to equip young people to make positive decisions about their sexual health. It encourages
• Adolescent understand their body biological changes, its impacts and how to deal with those transformation.
• Delayed initiation of sex to avoid early and unplanned pregnancies
• If sexually active, reducing the number of sexual partners
• If sexually active, education on safe sex to avoid HIV transmissions and unexpected pregnancies.
• If sexually active, seek Voluntary HIV Testing to know status of their health and action to be taken on the results.
We are requesting support from the Tigo Tanzania to financing trainings, and other form of support that Tigo considers to benefit the society through Adolescent and Youth as it has been its initiatives to support social economic empowerment in building our nation.
Project key approaches for working with Adolescent and Youth include
• Information on adolescent and youth concern and needs collected involving people from all strata of community self – assessment approach to design culturally appropriate adolescent and youth programs.
• Direct participation of young people in their design, implementation, management and assessment on matters relating to sexual, reproductive health and HIV.
• Increasing the availability of youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services including contraceptive information and services, prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections and HIV, antenatal and postnatal care, as well as education on safe abortion services.
• Fostering positive community and cultural norms, such as delaying the age of marriage and childbearing, as well as individual behavior change that lead to gender equality and improved sexual and reproductive health.
• Building local and national capacity ownership to ensure sustainable sexual and reproductive health policies and programs that reach large numbers of young people. Advocating for increased resources and supportive policies for adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health.
• Reaching diverse groups of young people with tailored interventions. This includes young people living with HIV, married adolescents, or adolescent girls.
• Since women are more vulnerable for sexual exploitation and abuse, awareness is built on the nature of sexual abuse and sexual penetrators.