Through the Youth for Health (Y4H) project, co-funded by the European Union, MSI Tanzania is working with the Ministry of Health and partner organisations, Sikika and DSW, to support young people with their sexual health and reproductive choices by increasing awareness, ensuring services and training public sector facilities to deliver adolescent-friendly services.
Emmanuely Yusuph Mphalimbega, 19, is a student and lives with his adoptive grandmother in Lupiro village, Ulanga, Morogoro region. A typical day for him starts with completing his household chores and going to the farm. Emmanuel is a client at the Lupiro health centre, a Y4H-supported facility in Tanzania. Read his story:
“Before, I knew little about condoms or how to protect myself against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and other infections. I became friends with one of the health service providers at the Lupiro health centre, who introduced me to the Y4H project. After taking an interest in what he said, he started counselling me on preventing STIs and why I should avoid peer pressure and other vices like drug abuse. After a while, he encouraged me to visit the health centre for further information. I slowly warmed up to the idea and decided to come to the facility. I was very scared the first time I came here, but he was very welcoming when I arrived. He took his time to educate me on the importance of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services and the various methods of contraception and showed me how to use a condom correctly.
Since then, I always use condoms when I have sex. If I didn’t get this information, I probably would have become a father by now, which would have presented many challenges, as I wouldn’t be able to provide for the child. As a student, I am not ready to start a family. So, by using protection, I am assured that my partner and I are well protected against unintended pregnancies and diseases. Whenever I run out of condoms, I go to the health centre for more. I believe it’s very important for us young people to get an SRH education as it’s the surest way of preventing teenage pregnancies and abortions – which lead to many losing their lives. To achieve this, it’s paramount for adolescents and youths to take an active role and become agents of change by informing, educating and raising awareness of these services to their friends and peers. So far, I have influenced six of my friends to come to Lupiro health centre to access SRH information and services.”
The Youth for Health Project
The Youth for Health (Y4H) project is a three-year initiative co-funded by the European Union that works to expand access to life-changing adolescent sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights. Its focus is on reaching the poorest and most marginalised adolescent girls, including those living with disabilities, and in rural and hard-to-reach areas of Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Zambia. By unlocking demand and access and contributing towards changes in favour of supportive policies and funding environments, Y4H will increase and sustain access to reproductive choices for girls and young women.
It is being implemented by MSI Reproductive Choices together with Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (DSW), Centre for the Study of Adolescence (CSA) Kenya, Health Alert Sierra Leone (HASiL), Youth Advocates Ghana (YAG), Sikika in Tanzania, Restless Development Zambia and Youth Network for Sustainable Development (YNSD) in Ethiopia.