Written by our Tanzania Team.
Reproductive Health Workshop.
According to Tanzanian culture, talking about reproductive health and sexually transmitted diseases is a difficult situation in the families and in school. Many students are facing problems in their bodies and with health due to lack of education on reproductive health and sexually transmitted diseases.
FutueSense decided to help by providing workshops to the young students on, reproductive health, menstruation, drug abuse and sexually transmitted diseases. In total, 40hours of workshops was delivered to 320 students in grades 5 and 6.
It was a great opportunity for the students to ask questions and learn about the topics, as many had never received such education before in school or at home. They were given the opportunity to ask questions they had and have them answered by an FutureSense team member.
Due to cultural sensitivity and the sensitivity around the topic, we separated boys and girls while teaching so that they could be free to express their questions and thoughts.
Students were very engaged, curious and forth coming with their questions and expressed an interest for future sessions as well, as they normally would not have a platform to discuss the sensitive topics nor a safe and open space to ask all their questions.
In the workshops on menstruation, the girls asked many questions.
They for example asked;
- “If I get menstruation for the first time while am in school what will I do?”
- “I am living with my dad only and there is no any woman in the house, what can I do if I get menstruation because I am feeling shy to tell my dad”.
FutureSense also spent time talking about HIV/AIDS in school and sees this as a very important topic. HIV/AIDS affect many families in the local community. Even in the classes, there is a large group of student who are living with their grand parents, uncles or aunts as their parents died of AIDS. Some of the students are HIV positive themselves.
FutureSense therefore focused part of the workshops on talking about HIV; how students can take precautions for protecting themselves and others. We work to raise awareness but reduce the stigma around it.
FutureSense ran 40 hours of sessions over a two week period and was able to see some immediate positive impact. Students were engaged, asked questions and requested more workshops to be able to have more questions answered. It was evident many students lacked awareness around the topics previously. We succeeded in creating a forum where the students could express their questions, problems and challenges they are facing in their lives, and look forward to running more workshops in the future to continue this work and ensure a long-term impact.