Impacting Tanzania’s Public Health

May 31, 2017 3:27 pm Published by

Since 2103, JBFC and expert facilitators from Kenya have worked together to provide sexual and reproductive health education (ASRH) to both our primary and secondary students, as well as our teachers and staff. After three-plus years, we have seen a noticeable change in the attitude and understanding of this awkward subject. Even in cultures where “Sex-Ed” is a norm, topics like puberty, contraception, STI’s and appropriate hygiene are often times uncomfortable. But, in a conservative culture where there is no such thing as “Sex-Ed”, most people just want to run for the hills. We are very proud of our teachers and students that despite the awkward conversations, they have shown great maturity in acknowledging the importance of these conversations and no longer cringe or squirm when we have our classes.

Joseph and Mary Schools’ Office of Student Development team receiving training a few days prior to the seminar.

We are proud of our program and are happy to know that 400-plus people receive valuable education through this program. But JBFC is one of the few schools in the district that considers education and exposure of these subjects an important aspect in reducing the hardship of rural poverty. So we started wondering how we could make an impact to not just our students and staff, but as many people as possible. The way we saw it, if we could get teachers from other schools to see the importance of ASRH, and if they taught their students important healthy behaviors, then we could increase the amount of people exposed to healthier practices exponentially. So we reached out to our friends from Nairobi, and they happily agreed to perform a two-day seminar.

The first step in JBFC’s plan to expand the reach of Sexual Reproductive Health education is over,
and it was a great success! Last week, with the help of these two facilitators from Nairobi, Kenya, JBFC was happy to host 56 teachers from different schools and organizations throughout the Magu district, to participate in a two-day Adolescent Sexual and Reproduction Health (ASRH) seminar. This seminar covered many of the important sexual health practices as well as problems facing Tanzanian youth. Almost all of the schools invited attended the seminar and every party had a great experience, learning more than expected.

With Part I of the program complete, the aim of Part II will be to conduct multiple visits to each school so we can review and assess the successes and challenges each school is facing in installing their own ASRH program into the curriculum.

We would like to give a special thanks to Ben and Josephat, our facilitators from Nairobi, for their continued support and hard work in this process. We also want to thank the Segal Family Foundation for connecting us with several of their partner schools in the country who were also able to attend this seminar. Collaboration between like-minded organizations will only bring greater reach of ASRH education.

Guest Blogger, Travis Purser, is JBFC’s US Expansion Coordinator

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This post was written by Mainsprings