Adolescents, girls aged 15-19, are a fertility risk group: early births increase the risk of death among adolescents. This is an issue in Burundi, especially among adolescents outside the school setting.
According to the latest official figures from DHS III (Demographic and Health Survey), 8 per cent of adolescents have already begun their reproductive lives. The situation is more alarming among adolescents with no education: the rate is 19%, compared to 4% among those with secondary or higher education.
What is the best way to combat this phenomenon, at a very worrying pace? Simple: talk about it. Because it has been shown that the lack of parent-child dialogue is one of the major causes of unwanted pregnancies among the youngest children. So, what is the best way to break this taboo? Once again, simple: raise awareness about the consequences of unwanted pregnancies among adolescents and young people.
Iprosarude, at work
The formula seems to be applied by Iprosarude (Initiative for Rural Health Promotion and Development). Through the joint program Menyumenyeshe, which it implements in partnership with Care Burundi, to contribute to the elimination of the lack of good information on sexual and reproductive health, Iprosarude organizes in the hills and schools awareness raising on various themes for young people and their parents.
On January 16, 2021, the volunteers of Iprosarude carried out sensitizations under the theme: “Let’s break the taboo on sexual and reproductive health”. It was an opportunity to encourage parents to no longer be ashamed to discuss sex education with their children. Parent-child discussion can reduce unwanted pregnancies that occur in schools but also among out-of-school youth.
Youth become involved
Producing and disseminating awareness messages on education for responsible sexual and reproductive behavior by young people for young people, and by young people in the same locality, helps young people to open up and dare to ask relevant questions to empowered people instead of relying on the Internet and social networks.
To involve young people, Iprosarude encourages them to produce schemes with ideas such as the fight against unwanted (early) pregnancies and their consequences, sexual and gender-based violence, the challenges of galloping demographics, as well as the realization of the potential of adolescents and young people through solidarity groups, a kind of savings and loans for young people.