On Sunday 27th, Rwanda We want organization in partnership with USAID Ingobyi activity held an online open conversation with the youth aiming at breaking the ice on youth sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) among the youth which was a culminatio of a series of activities in a campaign dubbed “Tubivugeho” that aims at raising awareness, educating the youth about sexual and reproductive health and creating ease around SRHR related discussions.
One of the main challenges that were underscored by different speakers was that lack of information is still an obstruction to any advancement on SRHR among Rwandan youth.
“Lack of knowledge or information about SRH has been the leading cause for the skyrocketing of the tally of teen pregnancies mostly because discussing about the topic is still a taboo here in Rwanda,” said Colbert Rulinda, the Executive Director at Rwanda we want organization adding that the issue hinders the youth from exploiting their full potential.
According to Mick Ndayishimiye, CEO at Urukundo Initiative, one of the reasons of that inadequate knowledge about the SRH among the youth is because parents are not at ease to share that information with the youth.
“One of the challenges we’re facing today is inadequate to zero knowledge about SRH among the youth because parents are not comfortable with educating the young ones about SRH,” he said.
The youth, Ndayishimiye further elaborated, then turn to their friends for that information who are sometimes also ill-informed about the subject.
The youth corner
From the information the youth fetch from their peers, it was clear that it comes with a lot of myths which Dr. Colyse Nduwimana debunked before taking the participants who had attended from around the globe through the medical aspect of contraceptives, menstrual cycle and other subjects related to SRH.
This information, as per Rosine Bigirimana, FP/ASRH Advisor at USAID Ingobyi Activity, can also be found at the “youth corner”, Ingobyi Activity’s SRH related service available in 20 districts at 325 health facilities.
“Starting from 10 to 24 years of age, the youth can go to the youth corner for SRH related services such as emergency contraception, pregnancy test, prevention against HIV/AIDS, prevention against unwanted pregnancies as well as counseling services and other SRH related services,” elaborated Bigirimana.
One of the greatest effects of lack of information about SRH among Rwandan youth has been increase in teen pregnancy rates where they have risen from 6.1% in 2010 to 7.3 % in 2015 according to Rwanda Demographic Health Survey (RDHS 2015). Additionally, 49.6% of teen mothers had their first pregnancy between the ages of 12 and 17.