Adolescence, between the ages of 10 and 19, is a decisive time for laying the foundations of good health. It is at this stage of life that many health problems and risky behaviors appear or are reinforced during adolescence: smoking, alcohol and drug use, trauma, violence, depression, poor diet and sedentary lifestyle, overweight and obesity, unwanted pregnancies. All these problems have serious consequences on the health and development of adolescents today, and threaten, by ricochet, their adult life. This is why, on the threshold of the new school year, young volunteers in the framework of the Tubakarorero project, are working to equip adolescents on Sexual and Reproductive Health. This project is implemented by the association Iprosarude (Initiative for the Promotion of Rural Health and Development in the provinces of Gitega, Kayanza and Bubanza.
In Burundi, two-thirds of the population is generally young and has little knowledge of sexual and reproductive health, HIV and STIs, especially in schools. It is also worth noting that eight out of one hundred girls have already had a pregnancy in their lifetime according to demographic and health data.
Therefore, it is important to take appropriate measures to protect this age group. This is why young volunteers, within the framework of the Tubakarorero project of Care International Burundi, financed by the Embassy of the Netherlands in Burundi and implemented by Iprosarude, are visiting the localities of Bubanza, Gitega and Kayanza, to sensitize young people and teenagers in school on themes that can strengthen health promotion and improve their state of well-being. The main objective of this initiative is to contribute to the promotion of knowledge and responsible sexual behavior in terms of sexual and reproductive health, the fight against HIV/AIDS and the prevention of pregnancies in schools as the start of the school year 2022-2023 is fast approaching in Burundi.
These well-trained young volunteers of Iprosarude raise awareness among other young people and adolescents by making them face their responsibilities, explaining to them the need to be informed about the facts and situations that involve their sexual life and the promotion of health and well-being in order to take adequate measures to complete their schooling and become key players in the development of the country. They also sensitize young people on the risks of unprotected sex, unwanted and early pregnancies, the consequences of alcohol and drug consumption, the importance of physical activity and respect for Burundian cultural values and parent-child dialogue.
It should be noted that the Tubakaroreo Project promotes youth entrepreneurship with a particular focus on Sexual and Reproductive Health.
E. Allickan Niragira