We were thrilled to receive a letter from the headmaster of Kibacha Secondary School regarding Empower Tanzania’s Reproductive Health and Relationships Program. Mr. Omari Magongo is very supportive of our work, has been a great community partner, and is exceedingly enthusiastic about all of the positive changes within the community and student body since Empower Tanzania began working with his school. Mr. Magongo has noted a positive change in teacher attitude and mindset, which is significant to success and development. He recently submitted the following article:
REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND RELATIONSHIPS ARTICLE
Reproductive health and relationships education for young people especially students are more important at this time than any other period of the existence of formal educational institutions.
The Empower Tanzania Organization has created a curriculum that contains the basics of teaching and involving students, a step which has opened the eyes of many responsible groups for nurturing including teachers.
Evidence demonstrates that students who receive reproductive health and relationships education, despite being aware of how to live healthily and morally, are also free to communicate with teachers or parents about their health and morals.
The research I did/conducted at my school, Kibacha secondary school, revealed that students have been more open and close to their teachers in expressing and clearly articulating their health and relationships challenges than before the reproductive health and relationships program been implemented here at school.
It is through reproductive health and relationship program, Kibacha Secondary School has divided students into groups of 15 to 20 students where each teacher is assigned as a family and provides them with education and advice on health and relationships in the community where they are.
However, the challenge that I see in the implementation of this program, is lack of special rooms or offices for student and teacher to meet secretly/confidentially and discuss the challenges they face in their daily lives at home, on the road and at school.
There are issues and challenges that require extremely privacy when discussing or student reporting to the teacher. Challenge as a student is being raped, abused, and sexually assaulted and especially when the perpetrator is the closest relatives of the family.
Empower Tanzania organization in cooperation with other stakeholders in reproductive health and relationships education, with specific intentions, challenges facing young people, especially girls, including teenage pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases will be reduced if not totally completed in society.
Only through a comprehensive and sustained reproductive health and relationship strategy, Tanzania will have a healthy and productive society in every sector including education, health, economy, and society.
Omari Magongo, BA-Ed, MA-Ed, Kibacha Secondary School Headmaster