Rwandan YML making a difference in her community
In a world of 7 billion people, some 1.8 billion people are between the ages of 10-24. Most of them don’t have comprehensive sexuality education; which enables them to protect their health, well-being and dignity.
A Young Midwifery Leader from Rwanda, Yvonne Nsaba Uwera is making a difference in her community by organizing sexual reproductive health sessions for secondary school students. “What compelled me to start these sessions is because I saw many teenagers dropping out of school, many of them due to early pregnancy.” Explains Yvonne.
Yvonne Nsaba Uwera (first right), Rwandan Young Midwifery Leader (YML) with her midwifery and nursing students from UR/Kabgayi School of Midwifery and Nursing
According to Rwanda Demographic Survey 2015, teenage pregnancy is at 11% and the proportion of young women who have begun childbearing has shown slight increase from 6% in 2010 to 7% in 2014/15.
Yvonne who is a midwife tutorial assistant at the University of Rwanda Kabgayi School of Nursing and Midwifery, together with her midwifery and nursing students recently organised sexual reproductive health session at Mata secondary school. A total of 232 students (both boys and girls) attended the two hours session. “In this school alone in 2016, more than 20 adolescent girls under 16 years have dropped out of school due to pregnancy.” Says Yvonne.
Yvonne with her midwifery and nursing students during a sexual reproductive health rights session at Mata secondary school
With the support from the head teacher, Yvonne and her midwifery and nursing students worked closely with the biology teachers to ensure that the session is informative and successful. During the sessions, the students were taught about sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies and hygiene during menstruation. The students also got an opportunity to ask questions and get clarification on several sexual reproductive health rights issues.
The midwifery and nursing students who were moderating the session had the following to say: -
Isaac Dushimimana, Year 2 nursing student – “Teaching Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health helps to clarify wrong information they have about sex and give them an opportunity to learn and change their behavior on sexuality issues. When the session is moderated by youth like us it is better, because the students talk to us and are comfortable to share their thoughts freely.”
Marie Jeanne Iragena, Year 2 Midwifery student – “It is important that boys also learn about menstruation cycle and hygiene because they can help to teach their sisters back home.”
Innocent Bavakure, Year 2 nursing student – “Most of the teenagers we interacted with today, thought that STDs is only HIV, syphilis and Gonorrhea, while there are many STDs. That is why a session like this is important to enlighten them about many dangers of unprotected sex. It is also a good opportunity to provide them with adolescent friendly tools for them to read and learn more about STDs and safe sex.
A cross section of Mata secondary school students during a sexual and reporductive health session
Yvonne and her students are planning to organize more similar sexual reproductive health sessions in other neighboring schools. “I have confidence in my midwifery and nursing students, I believe they will replicate these sessions in their communities when they graduate.” Comments Yvonne.
YML Yvonne talking to students about sexual reproductive health issues