Young people in Tanzania face multiple health and social challenges, many of which are interlinked. In rural parts of Tanzania such as Mtwara district, young people, particularly girls, have limited access to appropriate, quality health care services. In particular, Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) information and services are difficult to access.
As a result there is a high prevalence of sexually transmitted infections and HIV amongst young people. Data on abortions is largely unknown, as abortion is illegal in Tanzania, but that which is available suggests that young women are more likely to undergo unsafe abortions and do not have access to post-abortion care.
Despite the Tanzanian government’s policies, which recognise the right of children to universal primary education, a disproportionate number of girls do not complete primary education. The major obstacles to girls accessing education in Tanzania are child labour, prostitution, poverty, and the fact that girls who fall pregnant are generally expelled from school.
By training health workers to provide youth friendly services, we have been able to drastically increase the level of access for young people. We also trained peer educators who spread the message into the communities.
We have reduced the number of primary school children getting pregnant from 257 per year to 10 per year
We have increased the number of young people accessing sexual health and reproductive rights services from 583 a year up to 4,200
We reintegrated 90% of the young people we work with back into education or employment
In Mtwara, sexual and reproductive health education is now integrated into the school curriculum as a result of our work.