Living in Mtwara, a remote area of Tanzania, with poor access to sexual health education and contraception, Sihiba got pregnant at a young age after she had sex with an older man for money. Cultural practices in Mtwara, such as initiations which children must take part in, encourage young girls to have sex and getting access to quality health care services, including sexual health facilities, is very difficult.
Sadly, Sihiba’s story is not uncommon in her village. While 60% of young people have had sex before the age of 18, contraceptive use is only 6%.
However, there is one thing that sets Sihiba apart. As part of an innovative social media campaign to shed light on the plight of girls like her, Sihiba has created a profile on the platform Pinterest, so that she can share her life with the world in pictures. AMREF have teamed up with advertising agency BBH to launch the ground-breaking campaign, Children with Children which will see live updates from Sihiba herself, telling her story through her own words and pictures, with the help of a camera phone.
“Being a mother at this age is tough – I can’t take care of myself and my baby, even getting basic things like clothes and food is difficult. People think I’m an adult just because I’ve had a baby. It’s a miserable life. I think it’s important that young people get information, to help them avoid what happened to me.”
Success for Sihiba!
So far Sihiba's story has attracted attention from the UK's busiest social network for parents, mumsnet, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, who featured it on their blog, as well as Stephen Fry who tweeted about Sihiba and the Children with Children campaign on 11th October, the UN's first ever International Day of the Girl Child.
Children with Children launched on Pinterest on 25th September 2012. Sihiba will update her page as frequently as possible, probably every few days, and will respond to comments on her page as quickly as possible. She will post in her native Swihili and AMREF and BBH will translate between the two languages as quickly as we can.
Please share Sihiba's story and help give a voice to young mothers like her.
Donate today and help young girls like Sihiba gain access to information and faiclities that could change their lives.
Find out how AMREF is helping Sihiba and girls like her through the Sauti ya Vijana (‘Voice of Youth’) project.