Projekt # 91 – Projektpartner BRIDGERS ASSOCIATION CAMEROON https://bridgersngo.org/
Promoting the effective use of contraceptives among youths in Yaounde, Cameroon
In Cameroon, access to sexual education for young people is scarce. The head full of questions, they will have to gather the information on reproductive health rights, sexuality and contraceptives from unreliable sources like age-mates and the internet. They are ashamed of even raising the topic in front of others as it constitutes a social taboo. As a result, the consequences are fatal: sexual transmittable diseases are widely spread in Cameroon, which becomes apparent when one travels through the country: questionable natural medicine is sold everywhere – in cities as well as in buses. The demand for it is high. Another rampant issue and result from poor SRHR are early and unintended pregnancies. Especially young girls are vulnerable because they are the ones whose voice is hardly heard and who have to live with the consequences. With the fertility rate among adolescents in Cameroon being very high (births per 1,000 women ages 15-19), there is a real need to educate young girls/women on the effective use of contraceptive measures to protect their lives. Stigmatized by these conditions, they tend to drop out of school due to shameful accusations from their peers and the society. This reduces their chances to be successful in life as education is a key factor to human development. Also, unintended pregnancies have a consequential effect on their families as one more child means one more mouth to feed, and in an economy where job opportunities are scarce and market prices are constantly rising, the burden on the parents become too heavy to bear, thus increasing the rate of poverty in the society. Young girls are also exposed to child birth complications and unsafe abortions which could threaten their lives as they sometimes lead to death. Very often, financial resources are lacking to take care of these issues in a hospital. Because these young girls are forced to stay home, they can’t effectively contribute to the work force of the country and because of idleness and illiteracy are prone to having even more kids then they want or can afford as they do not know how to carry out family planning. Even in cases where contraception is practiced, most young girls/women make use of the most popular methods such as; the male condom, the “pull out” method which prevents conception by preventing sperm from entering the vagina at the moment of ejaculation and the “calendar” method which works by predicting the days in which a woman is most fertile by keeping a monthly record of her menstrual cycle and abstaining from unprotected sex on those days. The problem with these methods is that they are often poorly practiced as young girls/women do not master how to track their periods properly, their partners do not withdraw during intercourse at the right time or the risk of a condom breaking. In a city like Yaoundé, where young girls are more exposed to negative activities such as drinking, smoking, rape, multi-partner relationships etc., and due to early exposure of youths to sexual activities without parental guidance, educating them on the effective use of contraceptives in particular and reproductive health rights is the key to reducing gender based inequalities and violence present in the society. Reducing unmet need for family planning by increasing the rate of modern contraceptive use is indispensable if Cameroon must meet maternal mortality reduction targets as well of the attainment of Sustainable Development
Goals 1, 3 and 5. It is in this light that this project aims at reaching out to at least 300 young girls in at most 5 high schools and in Yaounde, by going out to these schools and holding educative talks on the effective use of the different contraceptive measures, practice of safe sex and the risks of exposure to STI’s and HIV/ AIDS and most importantly promote the practice of abstinence as the safest solution.
This project is aligned with the goals set in the Cameroon operational plan for family planning 2015-2020; increase contraceptive prevalence among women of childbearing age from 16.1% to 30%, reduce the unmet need rate from 17% to 10%,to reduce the prevalence of teenage pregnancies aged 15 to 19 from 25.2% to 12.5%,increase contraceptive prevalence among adolescents aged 15 to 19 from 12.1% to 29%. To solve the above-mentioned problem, we will aim at giving educative talks on the effective use of all contraceptive measures and prevention of HIV/AIDS in 5 high schools from the 30th September 2019 to the 4th of October with a goal to reach out to at least 300 young girls/women in the town of Yaoundé. This project will work towards making young girls to be capable of asserting their reproductive rights; able to realize they have total control over their bodies to choose when and how many children they are willing to have thereby empowering them. This project aims at serving as an eye opener for first-timers or an encouragement for those already aware, that the possibility for women to control their body means they have a greater opportunity to be ambitious; go to school, build a career and attain financial stability as they will no longer see their roles as mothers but also as contributors to the development of the society. They will no longer be forced to be stay at home wives if they don’t want to because of an unintended pregnancy while the fathers of these babies are free to attend school thus, reducing gender-based inequalities. This project drives towards impacting on making the topic of sexual reproductive health in our society less taboo as youths will have access to the right information and will be able to ask questions as well as learn about the facilities put in place both by the government and the civil society so as to have continuous access to contraceptives as well as medical advice. By working towards sensitizing sexually active youths (both boys and girls) on the risks of unsafe sex, we intended to help produce future responsible adults.
The main goal of this project is to empower at least 300 young girls/women in 5 high schools in Yaoundé and advocate for their sexual reproductive health rights by raising awareness on the effective use of contraceptive measures, thereby fostering the attainment of UN Agenda 2030 of the Sustainable Developments Goals (1, 3 and 5).
- To raise awareness on the effective use of contraceptive methods among a minimum of 300 girls/women in 5 schools in Yaoundé.
- Prevent unintended pregnancies.
- Avoid child-birth related complications which may lead to death.
- Secure continuous education.
- Reduce poverty and provide a better future for them.
- Educate young girls on the different contraceptive measures listing their pros and cons.
- Enumerate the percentage of success of pregnancy prevention for each method
- Train girls on how to track their menstrual cycles.
- Advocate for public health facilities to put in place adolescent friendly reproductive health services.
- Talk with school heads to promote de vulgarization of sexual reproductive health talks vie health clubs.
- Though the emphasis is will be laid on young girls, boys too will be addressed the values of respect of women’s right to control their bodies.
- Educate the students on the risk of having multiple sexual partners, unprotected sex and exposure to STIs and HIV/AIDS.
- Educate young girls on the importance of going for monthly check ups with a gynecologist.
- Providing information on where contraceptives are available in Yaoundé.
- Promote the importance of the practice of abstinence to all the youths as the major preventive method, against unintended pregnancies, HIV/AIDS and STI’s.
- Distribution of evaluation questionnaires before and after the talks.
- Create a network with health services which offer family planning services located around the target schools, where young girls will be properly taken care of.
- Increase the effective use of both natural and modern contraceptive methods.
- Reduce the number of unintended pregnancies in young girls aged between 15- 19 in school milieus.
- Reduce the case of female school drop outs due to unintended pregnancies in the above-mentioned age group and milieu.
- Increase the effective use of contraceptives among sexually active young girls in the said age group.
- Push young girls in the said age group and milieu to be more responsible of themselves by taking control of their bodies when it comes to deciding when to start a family.
- Push young boys in the designated milieu to concern about sexual reproductive health rights of women thus making them more responsible.
- Impulse a chain reaction where youths in the visited school will inform their parents and other friends on the importance of the effective use of contraceptive methods.
- Render more open the discussions on sexual reproductive health among youths for them to get the right information.
- Continuous empowerment of young girls: At the end of the project young girls will have the right information on how to avoid unintended pregnancies and where to gain access to contraceptives and have full control over their bodies. They will be able to spread the news by word of mouth to other young girls around their neighborhoods and prompt them to adopt a contraceptive method in turn. Besides, such awareness is intended to be passed on to the offspring of the beneficiaries and the virtuous circle continues to a multitude of generations.
- Collaboration with school authorities: By advocating to school heads for sexual reproductive health topics to be integrated in school health clubs, it guarantees the continuous sensitization of young girls to adopt contraceptive methods as well as preventive measures against HIV/AIDS.