Teenage pregnancy is a major problem in Rwanda, with significant challenges for the young mothers and
their families. According to a study conducted in Kirehe district, 73% of respondents believe that teen
pregnancy results in school dropout, and 67% say that it leads to family stigma conflicts. However, there
are efforts underway to address this issue and support teen mothers to reintegrate into their
communities, rebuild their confidence, and avoid further teen pregnancy.
USAID Ingobyi Activity, through its youth-led sub-grantee Rwanda we want Organization, has organized
the “Tubivugeho” or “let’s talk about it” campaign. The campaign aims to support teen mothers to
reintegrate into their communities, build back their confidence, and educate them on sexual
reproductive health to help them avoid further teen pregnancy. The campaign has been successful in
helping teen mothers like Musabyimana Ritha and Umurerwa Joseline.
Musabyimana Ritha is a 20-year-old who gave birth when she was 17. The father of the child refused to
acknowledge it as his, and when she returned to Ngoma district, her hometown, to tell her parents
about the pregnancy, it created family tensions. Her father decided to leave the household, leaving her
with her mother only, which affected her mental health, and she was forced to exclude herself from the
society, where she would only stay home the entire time. However, after attending Tubivugeho
trainings, she received psychological counseling that helped her release the depression caused by social
exclusion due to her teen pregnancy. During the trainings, she met other teen mothers with similar
challenges and it helped her feel that she belonged. She was also able to approach her mother for
reconciliation, and they are now at peace. “When I got pregnant and told it to my mother, nothing was
the same again because she would rarely talk to me and I felt that I was alone. I went through very
tough times, but thanks to the counselor I met in the training I learned to love myself again and
reconcile with my mother as we were taught how to approach such kind of challenges,” said Musabyimana. She is now employed locally in infrastructure, constructing roads and is part of a small
saving group that helps her care for her child.
Umurerwa Joseline is another teen mother from Ngoma district. After attending Tubivugeho trainings,
she learned about her and her child’s rights, including registering her child, which she had not
considered important before, thinking that it is only for married couples. “Right after attending the
trainings, I registered my child and she is now legally recognized. I am also able to let my child talk to his
father whenever possible, which I could not do before due to trauma caused by this situation,” she said.
She was also able to reconcile with her family and regained her self-confidence. Thanks to this she
started a small business as one of the telecom companies’ agents, which helps her take care of her child
and her own needs.
The Tubivugeho campaign has helped various teen mothers reintegrate into their communities, and 50
training sessions bringing together 410 teen mothers from Gatsibo, Ngoma, Nyanza, Rutsiro and Rubavu
districts. The program has been successful in building self-confidence and educating teen mothers on
sexual reproductive health. The psychological counseling provided has helped them overcome the social
exclusion and depression caused by their teen pregnancy. The program has been successful in helping
teen mothers like Musabyimana Ritha and Umurerwa Joseline to overcome their psychological
challenges, reconcile with their families, are now ready to build back their lives with confidence.