DSW Tanzania has been promoting availability of Youth Friendly Services (YFS) since it was established in Tanzania. Through capacity building for services providers, mentoring and availing health centers with youth corner DSW has contributed to increase access and utilization of Family Planning(FP) and Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) services, information and education among youth in the targeted districts.
To learn and see firsthand DSW impressive youth FP/SRH interventions the German delegation visited DSW supported site Kaloleni Health centre located in Arusha Municipality, Arusha Region. The delegation comprised of three German MPs Sabine Zimmerman, Elisabeth Motschmann and Gabriela Heinrich, accompanied by Mr. Christian Doktor, Foreign Office, Ms Claudia Imwolde-Kraemer, Counsellor/Head of Cooperation and Ms. Bianca Schulz.
Upon arrival to the center the delegation was welcomed by DSW staff, beneficiaries and staff of the Kaloleni Health centre. Thereafter, short introduction from both sides was done. Followed by visit to Kaloleni Health Centre premises included visit to the Youth Friendly Corner. In her briefing, Anna mentioned that initially the centre had no private space for rendering SRH/FP services and counseling for young people. “This was a major obstacle in youth access and utilization of these services. In respect to this DSW a leading youth serving organization supported us by renovating two rooms and equipping them and even procuring us with contraceptive for the corner”, she said. The Youth Friendly Corner (YFC) currently provides services to 50 to 80 young people a day according to Dr.Anna. “This is a big achievement, we could not reach to these youth had it not been for DSW support”, she added.
Furthermore, she said, “DSW endless support to our centre also extends to human resources. Initially, our health providers had a challenge of offering youth friendly services to young people that significantly negatively affected the accessibility and utilization of SRH services by young people from our centre. DSW therefore had to build the capacity of our health providers through training and mentoring on youth friendly service. Ever since our services delivery have improved and has enabled disadvantaged young people to access services from our centre”.
The delegates were also briefed on DSW youth program using the Youth –led approach (Y2Y) by Hellen
Paschal, Youth Officer. Interact with youth groups and women groups representatives was part of the visitation were the delegation talked to and heard testimonies on how DSW interventions are has facilitated to positively changing lives. “We youth are proud to say that we couldn’t be where we are today if it had not been for support from DSW”. When asked about the challenges they face when educating youth on SRH and use of condoms, Praygod Martin, a youth peer educator responded, “The major challenge is that some youth in the community have inadequate knowledge on SRH, and this coupled with culture and religion beliefs always hinder some youth to use for example condoms, but after counseling and through peer education, they slowly positively change their behaviors, join the youth clubs and become peer educators”.
Regarding the attitude of youth towards accessing and utilization of modern family planning methods, youth peer educator, Musa James stated that “Attitudes change over time with timely and right information to youth. We emphasis that FP does not mean to control and reduce children, rather, it to regulate the number of children and the intervals between their birth. However, our role is complimented by such centers like Kaloleni Health centre through referrals”.
While showcasing their group products at a display booth, the women representative said “I am very proud to mention that DSW has transformed my life as well as the lives of countless women and their families. Both literate and illiterate women have benefitted and we are equipped with skills and knowledge on FP/SRH, leadership and livelihood. As a leader, I am currently overseeing our women group. I am also a champion and I do educate my fellow women on FP and I do encourage them to establish and manage Income Generating Activities (IGA’s)”, said Ms Rehema Salim.
Finally, the DSW Country Director, Mr Peter Owaga had an opportunity to wrap up by highlighting on the need to continued investment in youth and family planning. The delegation spokesperson said “We are very much impressed with your endeavor (both DSW and the centre) to support and empower young people and helping them to become responsible for their own health”. Legit