Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights and HIV/AIDS

The Situation
In Tanzania young people married or not, become sexually active early on in life and are poorly informed with regard to their Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). Meaning, youth often have no idea how to keep themselves safe when having sex, or which laws govern their rights.

Youth are poorly informed on SRHR due to a shortfall in quality SRHR and HIV youth-friendly services, and a reluctance of the Government to include SRHR education in school curricula. Tanzanian culture also makes it uncommon for parents to openly communicate about issues related to SRHR with their children.

The negative impact of adolescent girls in Tanzania being poorly informed on SRHR is reflected in alarming health statistics, such as in the rate of teenage pregnancy. Whereby 23% of Tanzanian girls aged 15-19 are already bearing children, with this rate above 50% for young women in with no education (Tanzania Demographic Health Survey, 2010).Early pregnancy contributes to high rates of unsafe abortions and maternal mortality in Tanzania, and usually spells the end of an education for girls as national laws actually prevent pregnant girls or those that have given birth from returning to school.

Furthermore, Tanzanian girls and young women are at the risk of harmful traditional practices such as child and other forced marriage, female genital mutilation and other forms of violence against women and girls.
Our Response

YWCA of Tanzania is addressing the social, cultural and economic barriers to SRHR in the country through the Power to Change initiative of the World YWCA. This program is funded by the David & Lucille Foundation through World YWCA.

Implementation of the project started in 2010 and this program will run until 2016. Activities are coordinated through our YWCA branches of Dar es Salaam-Buguruni, Mwanza, Arusha, Loibosiret, Morogoro and Dodoma.

Project Objectives
•    Develop and mobilise the leadership of young women to champion SRHR and HIV
•    Expand access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health, rights and HIV education for young women and girls
•    Establish partnership platforms nationally and sub-regionally
•    To strengthen the capacity of YWCA-TZ in responding to issues of SRHR

•    SRHR Education Sessions in Schools
•    Memorandum of Understandings signed between YWCA and schools to allow SRHR Education activities during school hours
•    Adolescent Girl Peer Education Program, including the mobilization of safe spaces for youth. The self-esteem and SRHR empowerment of girls is developed in safe spaces through mutual support and information sharing
•    Parent Forums, as to increase parents understanding of SRHR in relation to themselves and their children
•    Workshops for Religious Leaders and Government on their responsibility in creating enabling environments for your SRHR services

•    Over 10,000 school children reached with SRHR Education/Awareness Activities
•    131 Adolescent Girl Peer Educators trained
•    Over 30 School/YWCA MOU’s finalized
•    27mentors have been exposed to national/international forums such as African conference on Sexuality and Reproductive Health and the African Union Summit
•    28 Parent Forums conducted reaching over 500 parents