Talking about sexuality and rights is not easy for young people. Talking about sexuality and rights in fragile and conflict-affected areas is even harder. Cordaid believes that access to information and services related to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) is a fundamental right for all, to have a healthy life and to make choices that are safe and free.
In Burundi, we focus on improving sexual and reproductive health services and combating sexual and gender-based violence. A community-based social networking approach was chosen as a holistic response to SHRH-related challenges of adolescents and youth in Burundi. A multi-sectoral approach that is bringing together demand, supply and support for sustainable change in the sexual and reproductive health of young people in and out of school.
Mass awareness sessions
It is in this context that mass awareness sessions on SRHR of adolescents and young people are organized from 19 to 29 August 2019. They take place in 20 communes of eight provinces of Burundi: Cankuzo, Karusi, Mwaro, Muramvya, Makamba, Rutana, Bururi and Rumonge.
These sessions have the following objectives:
- To support young members of community-based networks who are around youth-friendly health centers in the supervision of students who are on holidays in their localities;
- Organize mass sensitization sessions by young people and for young people;
- Organize public competitions by young people and for young people.
Some of the topics that are being discussed: school dropouts, undesired pregnancies, early marriages, sexual and gender-based violence, STI/HIV, abortion and infanticide, sexual exploitation of children with social media, use of drugs or psychoactive substances, prostitution, poverty and unemployment.
Young people who are involved in the joint program are in this way able to convey clear and correct messages to their peers through games, and to break the taboo on sexuality. According to the organizers, Fota District Chief Dr. Ndereyimana Nazaire appreciated the activity and would like to see it organized on other sites of other networks. This kind of activity helps so assess young people’s knowledge about the SSRAJ.
The awareness sessions are part of the Joint Program for the Improvement of Sexual and Reproductive Health “Menyumenyeshe”, funded by the Embassy of the Netherlands in Burundi and executed in consortium with Care, UNFPA and Rutgers.