In Bubanza province, 42 girls dropped out of school, and more than 30 girls in Cibitoke province as a result of unwanted pregnancies during the first two quarters of the past school year. And from 2015 to the present day, according to statistics from the provincial directorate of education, 481 girls have been recorded as dropping out of school due to pregnancy in Bubanza. It is in this context that the ACORD-IPROSARUDE group, which implements community-based integrated nutrition and family planning interventions in the provinces of Cibitoke and Bubanza, proceeded during the month of July to the creation/revitalization of socio-community networks for the promotion of sexual and reproductive health among adolescents and young people in the provinces of Bubanza and Cibitoke.
The networking approach is one of the approaches put in place by the MSPLS (Ministère de la Santé Publique et de Lutte contre le Sida) to provide appropriate sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents and young people through “youth-friendly” health centers.
The aim of the socio-community networks for the promotion of sexual and reproductive health among adolescents and young people is to increase the attendance of young people and adolescents at health centers, and thus increase the demand for services for young people in the form of counseling, voluntary HIV/AIDS testing and family planning in youth-friendly health centers.
To ensure the smooth running of these socio-community networks, a committee of 30 members was elected, including 2 out-of-school youths elected per hill, 2 in-school youths per school, 1 principal per school, 1 representative of the communal administration, 1 religious leader, 1 representative of the youth center, 1 representative of the CDFC, 1 representative of the CDS.
For many, the activities of the Nkuriza project are more than necessary. Jean Bosco NIYOKWIZERA, head of the Buvyuko youth-friendly health center in the Bubanza health district, hails the networking initiative as timely, given that young people are faced with a number of worrying and difficult-to-manage situations, including unwanted pregnancies among girls, clandestine abortions, early marriages and girls dropping out of school.
“As far as we’re concerned, we give them sufficient information and advice on adolescent development and healthy lifestyles, including sexual and reproductive health, but this networking is an added bonus, given that all sections of the community are represented,” he says.
According to Belyse IGIRANEZA, elected president of the socio-community network for the promotion of the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents and young people in the Buvyuko youth-friendly CDS area of responsibility, she is satisfied with the establishment of such an important body, as young people will have the opportunity to confide in their peers, something that was not done before.
E. Allickan and Pablo Baryuwabo