GOAL 3: SEXUAL RIGHTS
A world where young people realize sexual and reproductive rights for all, where policies, attitudes and services advance people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, helping to end AIDS and enabling young men and women to be free from discrimination.
In Tanzania cultural norms and traditions within communities is a major barrier to young people realizing their sexual and reproductive rights. Adolescent girls are most affected with pressures to fulfil gender roles and responsibilities within the family, child, forced and early marriage, early sexual debut, unwanted pregnancies, high prevalence of HIV and exposure to violence. The legal environment also fails to protect young people, for example the Law of Marriage Act (1971) allows girls to be married at 14 with parental consent, but there are cases of girls much younger than 14 getting married, which is evidence that this law is not reinforced.
Many Tanzanian youth still have inadequate access to correct information and high-quality services in the fields of sexual and reproductive health (SRH). For example, although the majority have heard about HIV and AIDS, too many still do not know how it is transmitted. Many also do not believe that they themselves are at risk. Even those who do possess information about HIV often lack the decision-making skills, social support, or ability to adopt the safer sexual behaviors necessary to prevent infection. In Tanzania, young people are at high risk of contracting HIV with 45% of all new infections recorded among 15-24 year olds. Another example is around family planning, although 97.9% of women in Tanzania know about modern contraceptive methods only 27.4% of women of reproductive age are using contraception. This combined with the early age of sexual activity (median age for rural adolescents is 17.1) and early age of marriage (median age for rural adolescents is 18.5), has led to a high rate of childbearing. In fact 44% of adolescent girls are mothers or pregnant by the age of 19.
The impact of cultural norms around girls’ roles and responsibilities in the home, early marriage and early pregnancy means that girls are more likely to drop out or be forced out of school. The Education Act of 1978 identifies pregnancy as punishable and prescribes expulsion as an appropriate punishment. A survey by Centre for Reproductive Rights, found that 55,000 girls have been expelled between 2010 and 2013 due to pregnancy. Adolescent girls that are not in school are among those most at risk to social exclusion, poverty and abuse. Those girls that are unmarried with children are frequently excluded by their families and communities, and are more likely to resort to risky behavior in an effort to provide for their children, which puts them at increased risk of HIV/AIDS and GBV. Young women and girls form 75% of youth living with HIV and as many as 28% of girls experience sexual violence during childhood.
Through our programmes we are working with both in school and out of school youth and the support networks around them to challenge cultural norms, provide peer to peer education around sexual health and link young people to youth friendly health services.
MABINTI TUSHIKE HATAMU PROJECT – MTH (GIRLS LET’S BE LEADERS)
This project is a ground-breaking initiative that has been designed to test and evaluate strategies for reducing the vulnerability of adolescent, out of school girls aged 14-19 years old to HIV and AIDS, early pregnancy and gender-based violence. We achieve this through four core strategies:
• Strengthening girls’ knowledge and skills in sexual health, life skills, leadership and livelihoods.
• Promoting hands on skills amongst out of school girls (including return to school/education)
• Improving access to core youth friendly services (focusing on SRH services, education, GBV and child protection)
• Addressing societal and cultural norms within the community on girls rights and gender based violence
The project demonstrates that by giving girls economic opportunities, life skills and knowledge, and by building their social capital and empowering support structures around them, it is possible to create a unique platform for girls’ empowerment.
Currently the project is reaching 6,000 out of school adolescent girls and 15,000 community members in three regions of Tanzania, Iringa, Ruvuma and Dar es Salaam. This project is made possible with support from SIDA, NoVo Foundation, Mercury Phoenix Trust and a private donor.
Mwanamke Tunu (MTN) – Women are Jewels
Restless Development is working in partnership with PSI Tanzania and Intra-Health on this family planning outreach program funded by DFID, to improve poor, rural women’s access to family planning (FP), comprehensive post-abortion care (CPAC), and gender-based violence (GBV) services, with a focus on reaching adolescent girls and survivors of GBV. The programme is currently implemented in Dar-es-salaam, Dodoma, Shinyanga, Geita, Pwani, Lindi, Mtwara, Tanga, Simiyu and Morogoro. Restless Development focuses on mobilizing young people and creating demand for family planning through peer to peer education, ensuring young people under 20 have the knowledge to make informed choices about their sexual health. Then referring those young people to youth friendly health facilities to access FP, GBV and CPAC services. In 2016, across the 4 regions of implementation (before we scaled to 10 regions) we referred 5411 young people who have received services.
DANCE 4 LIFE
The dance4life programme empowers and educates young people, providing them with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to protect their health and promote safe sexual choices. Dance4life has been running in Tanzania since 2008 and has been active in 16 secondary schools in Iringa, a region in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania. We are currently seeking opportunities to scale this project to Shinyanga.
Using our award winning peer-to-peer approach to education, this last year alone we have trained and built the capacity of a strong network of youth peer leaders who have reached 8,274 young people with comprehensive SRHR education, covering topics such as Family Planning (FP), HIV/AIDS and Gender Based Violence (GBV), among others. The approach of edutainment sessions in schools makes sexuality education engaging, participatory, comfortable and inspiring for young people. We found that 90.68% of the dance4life students feel very comfortable when a peer educator facilitates the programme, in comparison to 44.44% who have a teacher as a facilitator.
USAID Kizazi Kipya
Kizazi Kipya is a PEPFAR-funded USAID project working in partnership with the Government of Tanzania (GOT) and the Kizazi Kipya consortium, led by Pact.
Kizazi Kipya enables more Tanzanian orphans and vulnerable children and young people to use age-appropriate HIV/AIDS-related and other services for improved care, health, nutrition, education, protection, livelihoods, and psycho-social wellbeing.
Restless Development as a technical partner under Kizazi Kipya is working closely with CBO’s to support the formation of teen clubs for orphans and vulnerable children. The teen clubs provide a platform for the delivery of peer to peer learning on HIV, sexual health, life skills, livelihood opportunities, and career choices. Therefore empowering vulnerable youth to make responsible, healthy choices that lead to healthy lives.