On Sunday 24th, Rwanda we want organization in partnership with Intrahealth International-Ingobyi activity sponsored by USAID has organized an online conversation with the theme: “Breaking the ice on youth sexual and reproductive health education” aiming at raising the awareness and urgency among the youth about the importance of youth sexual reproductive health.
Starting at 3 PM via Zoom platform, the webinar will bring youth from different fields to engage them in discussions looking at the role young people can play to ensure their fellow youth lead healthy sexual lives, prompting conversations between adults and the youth about SRH and how to overcome SRH related problems among the youth stating but a few.
The conversation will be facilitated by Dr. Colyse Nduwimana, a medical doctor working in the Rwanda Joint Task Force of COVID-19 and a passionate advocator for sexual education and youth friendly services; Cindy Ngarambe, a recent graduate from the London School of Economics with a MSc in International Social and Public Policy who is passionate about adolescent sexual reproductive health and rights, education and whose research concentrated on sexuality in developing countries; Didier Nsanzimfura, a medical student at the University of Rwanda and the Vice President of the Medical Student’s Association of Rwanda, and will be moderated by Daniella Ngarambe.
The webinar is part of the ongoing TUBIVUGEHO project which aims at Raising awareness and urgency among the youth about the SRH. It will serve as a safe space for the youth to openly discuss sexual reproductive health and to try to break the ice and debunk myths around the subject. But most importantly, the webinar will not be a formal dialogue, rather an open and friendly environment where each and every one of the participants will feel free to share his/her thoughts, questions, recommendations and even experience related to SRH.
This is in a bid to ease the flow of information which is one of the major drawbacks of SRH access among the youth in Rwanda as some reports discussed.
For instance, discussions about sexuality between adults and children in Rwanda remain a taboo leaving sexual education in schools and friends’ discussions as the alternative source of information about sexuality in youth according to a 2014 report by the institute of policy analysis and research on sexual health and reproduction in Rwanda. The report states that the above mentioned practice invites risks since between teacher and student there is uneasiness around the subject of sexuality and where there is an attempt to answer a question, only the academic angle is provided thus no quality life-applicable knowledge is shared.
The webinar is a timely intervention as many youth are confined at their homes due to COVID-19 pandemic preventive measures and various reports have shown that SRH related problems have recently recorded an increase.
To put into context, A report made in April 2020 by UN women titled Violence against women and girls: the shadow pandemic indicated the number of women and girls facing abuse has increased in almost all countries, Rwanda included. Furthermore, the effects of lockdown and isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic include anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues which may result in irresponsible sexual behavior during the pandemic or during the post-pandemic period.
In Rwanda, 49.6% of teen mothers had their first pregnancy between the ages of 12 and 17 according to Rwanda Demographic Health survey (2015).