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Addressing Teenage Pregnancies Through Big Sisters& Brothers Project


19 March 2024

KINARA For Youth Evolution has been implementing the Big Sisters,and Brothers project in Morogoro Municipality and Morogoro DC.

The major goal of the project was to reduce teenage pregnancies among secondary school students, while ensuring their educational rights through raising awareness on Sexual Reproductive Health and Gender Equality.

The project came in handy as according to a 2018 baseline study in Morogoro Municipality, the root causes of teenage pregnancies include inadequate Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) awareness, lack of educational social support, poverty, poor parental care, cultural initiation, peer pressure, school dropouts and lack of SRHR in the school curriculum.

The Big Sister Big Brother project played an important role in continuing the long-term initiative of reducing teenage pregnancies which had been started at eight secondary schools (2020 to 2023) under the Women Fund Tanzania Trust (WFTT) support.

The project focuses on supporting female students to achieve their dreams through completing their studies and avoiding teenage pregnancies. This is achieved by using a unique mentoring and coaching approach, whereby Big Sisters and Big Brothers lead their Little Sisters and Little Brothers (Kuzungumza wao kwa wao).

Speaking about the initiative the Project Officer, Prisca Ruphene, said,

“We started by identifying a group of mentors comprising 60 Big Sisters and Brothers from three secondary schools (Mikese, Gwatwa, NaneNane), 12 teachers, and 6 “Nguvu ya mama” members. Nguvu ya Mama members are mothers who have skills, knowledge, and experience in how to provide education to students and to the community. We then conducted comprehensive training on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and Human Rights to them. Major topics were how to avoid early pregnancies and risk groups, Self-awareness, GBV, Peer pressure, Relationship, Menstruation, Sexually transmitted infections, Decision-making, Family Planning, and Facilitation skills and Leadership.”

She added that the trained big sisters and brothers became knowledgeable champions who became supervisors to their young sisters and brothers and also shared SRHR knowledge with them, while “Nguvu ya mama” members used the knowledge to continue raising awareness on SRHR at secondary schools and in their localities, mainly supporting the initiative to prevent early pregnancy and avoid risk behaviors in their children.

Ruphene added that teachers were trained to help support and lead the students towards addressing early pregnancies and improving performance in English and Mathematics subjects.

She further said that monthly supportive supervision was conducted to the groups (Mothers, Big Sisters, and Big Brothers) as a means of continuing to strengthen them to help reduce teenage pregnancies and prevent other forms of violence in schools and in the community. “Through household visits and meetings organized by local government authorities, we managed to empower parents and family members to support and educate their children on SRHR matters. We encouraged them to give enough time, especially to girls so as to rescue them from engaging in risky behavior groups,” she added.

Ruphene also said that apart from using mentor groups, they also use other means to raise awareness on SRHR such as essay competitions, radio programmes, quarterly meetings with students, parents, and teachers etc.

Regarding the success of the programme, she explained that there are notable changes including increased knowledge on SRHR to parents and students, Nguvu ya mama group being a powerful catalyst for positive change in the community, Enhanced Teacher-Student Bonds, and Nurturing Leadership Skills and Confidence to students

One of the beneficiaries, who is a student, Mwinyinvua said that joining the programme changed her life as she had been subjected to peer pressure and romantic entanglements that posed threats to her educational journey.

“When I join the SRHR club at school, we where taught on the risk of engaging in love affairs at a young age and given skills to shun peer pressure. We engaged in meaningful discussions and activities, safeguarding us from potential pitfalls that could impede academic progress. The sessions changed my mind completely. I am now a change agent educating my fellow students, she added. Mwinyinvua highlighted that SRHR education should be accessible to all students in school, considering the transformative impact it has had on those who have already received it.

The Headmaster for Mikese Secondary School said, “I thank Kinara for coming to my school, as it has significantly increased students' self-awareness, resulting in a decrease in teenage pregnancies. In 2022, twelve (12) girls were reported pregnant, while in 2023, the number decreased to five (5). I request that the project continues to help students, especially girls, with SRHR sessions. I assure you of my continued cooperation in reducing teenage pregnancies in our region."