This blog was originally posted on The Challenge Initiative website.
The Challenge Initiative—implemented in Tanzania as Tupange Pamoja—encourages active participation of adolescents and youth in the design of health programming, including programs related to contraception and healthy futures. Recently, the Tupange Pamoja team met with students at Tumaini University in Arusha to talk about reproductive health issues and contraceptive method options. The students were so inspired by the Initiative that they launched their own “TCI Tuma Club.”
While the students shared their concerns on sexual and reproductive health, the Tupange team introduced them to TCI University (TCI-U). About 35 students registered and reviewed the Adolescent and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health (AYSRH) toolkit and services available to youth. The students are now champions who can engage fellow students during family planning/AYSRH outreaches.
The TCI Tuma Club provides a forum for students to share information with fellow students about planning for their futures, including the use of contraception. The District Development Officer (DDO), District Educational Officer (DEO), District family planning Coordinator, District Administrative Secretary (DAS) and Dean of Students, lauded the efforts and the new club. They noted that this engagement could reverse risks associated with early pregnancy and unsafe abortions and expand the ways young adults learn about sexual and reproductive health services.
Working together with university health care providers, the students can also refer students for services at their health center, participate in radio talk shows and youth dialogues. Tupange Pamoja in collaboration with the Ministry of Health already oriented the providers on the provision of quality AYSRH services for adolescents and youth.
“As a young man, the pictures showing sexually transmitted infections, the statistics on adolescent health, including teenage pregnancy and STIs, and discussions on contraceptive options were very beneficial. Indeed, nothing for the youth without the youth,” said Teddy Mkenda, a Tuma Club member. “The interaction with the Tupange Pamoja team has addressed the fears we all face in regards to positive behavior change.”
The video below captures more about the TCI Tuma Club.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Njeri Mbugua is the Communications and Advocacy Advisor at Jhpiego, an implementing partner of The Challenge Initiative. As a Communication and Marketing Strategist with over 10+ years of experience working with for-profit and not-for profit organizations, she brings extensive experience in engaging the voices of various stakeholders in shaping health interventions to reduce barriers to health information, products, and services. She also brings strong expertise in program management, knowledge management, and health communication. During her career, she has assisted government counterparts with the development and launch of advocacy strategic plans for reproductive health, mHealth, and gender.
Waziri Rashid Njau currently works for Thrive Afya Tanzania (TAT) International Organization as a Technical Expert in the Manyara Region. He has experience in maternal and reproductive health, microfinancing, and sustainable energy solutions through CARE International. Prior to TAT, Waziri worked in various development and health organizations in Tanzania, including for Off-Grid Tanzania as Regional Manager in Simiyu and Tabora and for Africare International Organization in Home Based Care Program (HBC-KAYA CCI) as a Regional Liaison Coordinator. He also worked with Support for International Change in the Arusha and Manyara regions for the provision of Mobile VCT & CTC services for people living with HIV and sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents and youth, and with Heal International Organization as Country Manager in Arusha.