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. One of these facilities is the Kivukoni health centre in Ulanga, Morogoro region, where Zawada Kassimu Zangamela, aged 19, accessed contraception. Read her story:
“I had to drop out of school after getting pregnant while in form two. Even though I had no complications, it was a difficult period for me. When I started going for my ante-natal visits at the Kivukoni health centre, I was scared of what the health centre service providers would say and feared the backlash, given my young age. Surprisingly, they were very welcoming, kind and helpful. Throughout my pregnancy, the service providers would often educate me about family planning, the different methods available, its benefits and why I should consider it after delivery.
After giving birth to my son, the service provider advised me to use family planning and I decided to have an implant method. My son is now three months old; I want a better future for him. I believe using family planning will help me with the spacing of my children. I am not ready to have another child as I am not financially stable. Also, being a young mother is not easy. I have many responsibilities, which I already find hard to juggle. Based on my circumstances, I decided I did not want to return to secondary school to continue my education. Instead, I have joined a course in sewing, and I am almost graduating. This is the only way I can work and provide for my son.
Back then, the only information I knew about family planning was what I learned from friends and peers in school. I didn’t know much about the methods or what family planning entailed. But now, I am well-equipped with the necessary knowledge and can easily access these services at the health centre. Looking back, if I had access to the right information and the use of family planning, I could have made a different choice. In hindsight, if I knew what I know now, I would strive to finish my education and get a job before considering becoming a mother.”
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.