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Tanzania

Articles by Tanzania

ZAHRA, A YOUTH VOLUNTEER FROM TANZANIA
08 October 2020

Tanzania: Creating safe spaces for young people to get healthcare services without judgement

 20-year-old Zahra Amri has been working with Chama cha Uzazi na Malezi Bora Tanzania (UMATI) since she was 13. Starting out as a Youth Action Movement (YAM) member, she then became a peer educator for young people and now works at UMATI’s Youth Center in Temeke district of Dar es Salaam as a Community Health Worker (CHW).  “Young people [in the district] face a lot of challenges in sexual and reproductive health (SRH) including pregnancy at a young age and Sexually Transmitted Infections.  They also experience multiple challenges such as a lack of places to meet to solve their problems and parents are also a major obstacle to them because if you talk to [parents] about SRH issues like pregnancy, young people can even face dismissal (being thrown out) from home.” UMATI runs youth weekend clinics at the Temeke center, for young people to get vital SRH information and services. Zahra feels that many things have improved around the area and with the introduction of more weekend clubs (youth meeting spots) they are able to reach more young people with the right information. “There are several issues that as youth we must talk about, no matter what. The community and parents have myths and misconceptions that youth should not be able to speak about sexual reproductive health. But this situation affects most adolescents who face many challenges in life.  “At our clinics, we educate on gender-based violence (GBV) on how a young person can report it or if they are aware of cases happening. We talk about menstruation to adolescent girls especially for those who are living in poverty like those who live in villages or are orphans. Boys also receive education on how to protect girls. As girls experience issues because boys lack SRH education and they are being affected by peer pressure.” The youth weekend clinics are supported by the Women’s Integrated Sexual Health programme (WISH2ACTION) offering tailored information and SRH services where young people can express themselves safely.  “As youth, we observe  the weekend as a special and specific day for us to meet and discuss our issues but also get education on sexual reproductive health, family planning, HIV counselling and testing, and life skills to know about the proper use of condoms and protecting ourselves from different challenges.” Some of the most important work, Zahra feels, is the work with the local Boda Boda drivers (motorbike taxis). Boda Boda riders are included because most of them are youth, have relationships with young girls, hence involving them in SRH discussions could help reduce unplanned teenage pregnancy. They play a big role in the community and they have their own groups which can be used as platform to disseminate information very fast and they understand easily because they are willing to receive education and teach others especially on the topics concerning STIs, family planning, condom education, and also they like to be given condoms.” At the weekend clinics, young people arrive as early as 8am on a Saturday. There are drama shows and a resident drum band who tell stories through music, with youth dialogue sessions and information on condoms and all modern methods of family planning integrated into key messages of how to safeguard their futures. Zahra is proud of the success of the weekend clinics and hopes for a change in the way young people are treated. “The weekend clinics are set special for talking to the youth in different areas so they could get services without any challenge. In other UMATI locations, youth meet on Saturday but for us here in Temeke we agreed to be on Friday because they come from school early and some others come on Saturday because it is a good day for them. They [youth] enjoy it and are happy to receive the education from us.” “It is my hope that the community have now started to understand young people. This education has helped a lot of youth. Without SRHR education and understanding their rights, most young people could have difficult consequences. We are here to change challenges into opportunities for young people. We want a healthy future for all the young people that come to our center. We want them to know their choices so they can make informed decisions in their own lives.” 

opening of the film
12 August 2020

Tanzania: A youth center on a mission to destigmatize sexual health

Cultural stigmas leave many young people in Tanzania in the dark about their sexual and reproductive health and rights. Our Member Association - Chama cha Uzazi na Malezi Bora Tanzania (UMATI) - has come up with a solution at their youth center in Dar es Salaam: peer-to-peer educators.  Every week over 100 youth sign up for services and training at the center. In 2017 the Global Gag Rule pulled funding from UMATI, however, the Belgian Government stepped in with emergency funding which allowed the center to remain open through the She Decides project.

Woman in Tanzania having an ultrasound
17 January 2020

Tanzania: Fighting back against the Global Gag Rule

In 2017, the US administration implemented the Global Gag Rule (GGR), a policy that denied funding to organizations that provided abortion care.    IPPF refused to sign the policy that required us to deny women and girls the freedom to choose what happens to their body. As a result, IPPF lost $100 million in funding.    Our Member Association in Tanzania – Chama cha Uzazi na Malezi Bora Tanzania (UMATI) – was forced to close 5 of its 11 clinics.  But thanks to emergency funding from the Belgium government, UMATI was able to improve their remaining clinics, increase the number of qualified staff and continue to provide quality care for those who need it. Find out more about the Global Gag Rule and its devastating impact

School girls with their pink box for sanitary pads
28 June 2017

Keeping girls in school with sanitary pads

Only 2% of Tanzanian schoolgirls have access to disposable sanitary pads. More commonly, anything from cloth rags to socks, leaves or dry grass are used. One girl at a school in Tanzania, Alice Magaka, came up with a clever way to tackle the problem so pupils didn’t have to miss school. "It all began one day when I was in the matron's office," Alice says. "Suddenly, one of the younger schoolgirls came in crying. She had bled through her clothes and the boys were teasing her about it. She said that she didn't have any pads and had to use cloth rags." "It became clear to me then that the reason many of my schoolmates stayed home several days every month was that they didn't have any reliable menstrual protection." Alice is a senior at Loyola High School. She's in the middle of final exams, but has already been pre-admitted to a university leadership programme. Like all the other girls at school, she wears her hair short and a white and burgundy school uniform. Loyola High School in Dar es Salaam is a private school with 1,200 students, of which about half are girls. Most students that attend here come from upper middle class families. It is also a Christian school, and as such they accept students from low-income families free of charge. These are the students that can't afford to buy disposable pads and stay home several days a month because they worry they'll bleed through their clothes. But the students themselves wanted to make a change. "I read about someone who collected menstrual protection for others in a magazine and I thought surely we could do the same thing here so we created The Pink Box," says Alice.   Alice and five of her schoolmates quickly put together The Pink Box – a sturdy cardboard box draped in pink cloth and decorated with stars. The Pink Box is placed in the schoolyard once a month. All students that can spare disposable pads leave a couple each in it. “It might not be easy to share a whole pack at once. But most can give away a pad now and then,” says Alice. At the end of the day, the school matron collects the box and empties it. And then there are plenty of pads for everyone in need. The Pink Box is a simple idea that actually has a big impact. Thanks to The Pink Box the girls' school attendance has increased. Now, no one has to stay home during their period. The school matron Epina Mnyang’ali says four to five girls come in every day asking for pads. "Nobody finds it embarrassing to come to me. I'm like a mother." At Loyola High School they have also introduced a Girls Day which means that once a year, all boys and male teachers stay home. Only girls and women come to school. They talk about how the girls feel about school and what needs they have. What kind of academic support do they need? Does anything need changing? Girls' Day has contributed to the fact that the girls are getting top grades. All of the senior girls have been accepted to higher education. During Girls' Day, former students who now work as doctors or nurses talk to the girls about the menstrual cycle and reproduction. Alice explains what the boys say about The Pink Box and about helping out.  "At first we didn't include boys. In our culture it's not so easy to talk about periods with guys, so it was a challenge. But when we asked them, they wanted to help. And now they're also spreading the word about the campaign so that more people at school are aware of it. I hope it also leads to them not teasing us when we're on our periods."  Thanks very much for this text by Ulrika Hammar which was originally commissioned for Ottar Magazine www.ottar.se. The photos are courtesy of Carl Osvald. Ottar is Sweden’s largest sexual politics themed magazine, and focuses on topics such as love, sexuality, politics and culture. It is an independent magazine but linked to IPPF’s Member Association in Sweden RFSU.

Packard funding project in Benin
05 May 2016

IPPF funds youth-led projects to tackle abortion stigma

As part of our work in tackling abortion stigma, IPPF awards small grants to young people to create projects that would tackle the issue of abortion stigma in their communities. In 2015, small grants were awarded to promising projects submitted by young people in Ghana, Palestine, Spain, Macedonia and Nepal. In 2017, a further six grants were awarded to young people in Guinea, Kenya, Nepal, Puerto Rico, Sierra Leone and Venezuela. In 2019 five more grants were awarded to youth-led projects in Albania, Colombia, Nigeria, Spain and Tanzania. These documents give more information about what these projects set out to do, their methods and the results.

Uzazi na Malezi Bora Tanzania

Chama cha Uzazi na Malezi Bora Tanzania (UMATI) is an autonomous, non-political national NGO providing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) information, education, and services in Tanzania. It was established in 1959 and became a full IPPF Member Association in 1973. Since then, it has developed a comprehensive range of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services for Tanzanian young people.   

UMATI invests in the provision of gender responsiveness SRH services youth and women empowerment, and evidence-based advocacy through result-based projects implemented in 20 regions in Tanzania Mainland, and Zanzibar. UMATI recognizes that AGYW and ABYM experience different health needs and risks especially those related to HIV, STIs, and sexual gender-based violence. UMATI’s SRH programmes are developed based on the unmet need and government priorities and its SRH and FP service delivery has always been targeting the hard-to-reach communities, socially excluded and under-served people especially women, girls, and young people, and the key population.  

UMATI empowers adolescents and young people (10-24) to realize and demand their SRHR for effective utilization of the services. The Association, through the Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) approach, reaches young people with knowledge, skills, and Social Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) messages to freely access services at UMATI clinics, youth centers, and selected government facilities. Different approaches are used to reach adolescents and youth such as peer education sessions, IEC/BCC Materials, debate, health talk/dialogues, folk media, social media, radio, TV, e-sessions, community forum/dialogues, community meetings, and SRH service outreaches. UMATI collaborates with the Ministry of Health and Local Government Authorities to provide SRH services through 943 service points which include its own 5 permanent clinics and seven youth centers and support 391 community-based distributors/community-based services (CBDs/CBSs). UMATI’s SRH programmes are effectively maintained and delivered by 76 committed staff, 340 peer educators and a youth action movement membership of 400 activists.  

UMATI receives funding support for its programmes from donors and partners such as Youth Incentives, Pathfinder International, PLAN International, UKAIDS, the Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning (JOICFP), She Decides, UNICEF, UNFPA, Bills & Melinda Gates Foundation, Health Action International, SIMAVI, BERGSTROM Foundation, ZENSHO, and ActionAid Tanzania. 

 

 

ZAHRA, A YOUTH VOLUNTEER FROM TANZANIA
08 October 2020

Tanzania: Creating safe spaces for young people to get healthcare services without judgement

 20-year-old Zahra Amri has been working with Chama cha Uzazi na Malezi Bora Tanzania (UMATI) since she was 13. Starting out as a Youth Action Movement (YAM) member, she then became a peer educator for young people and now works at UMATI’s Youth Center in Temeke district of Dar es Salaam as a Community Health Worker (CHW).  “Young people [in the district] face a lot of challenges in sexual and reproductive health (SRH) including pregnancy at a young age and Sexually Transmitted Infections.  They also experience multiple challenges such as a lack of places to meet to solve their problems and parents are also a major obstacle to them because if you talk to [parents] about SRH issues like pregnancy, young people can even face dismissal (being thrown out) from home.” UMATI runs youth weekend clinics at the Temeke center, for young people to get vital SRH information and services. Zahra feels that many things have improved around the area and with the introduction of more weekend clubs (youth meeting spots) they are able to reach more young people with the right information. “There are several issues that as youth we must talk about, no matter what. The community and parents have myths and misconceptions that youth should not be able to speak about sexual reproductive health. But this situation affects most adolescents who face many challenges in life.  “At our clinics, we educate on gender-based violence (GBV) on how a young person can report it or if they are aware of cases happening. We talk about menstruation to adolescent girls especially for those who are living in poverty like those who live in villages or are orphans. Boys also receive education on how to protect girls. As girls experience issues because boys lack SRH education and they are being affected by peer pressure.” The youth weekend clinics are supported by the Women’s Integrated Sexual Health programme (WISH2ACTION) offering tailored information and SRH services where young people can express themselves safely.  “As youth, we observe  the weekend as a special and specific day for us to meet and discuss our issues but also get education on sexual reproductive health, family planning, HIV counselling and testing, and life skills to know about the proper use of condoms and protecting ourselves from different challenges.” Some of the most important work, Zahra feels, is the work with the local Boda Boda drivers (motorbike taxis). Boda Boda riders are included because most of them are youth, have relationships with young girls, hence involving them in SRH discussions could help reduce unplanned teenage pregnancy. They play a big role in the community and they have their own groups which can be used as platform to disseminate information very fast and they understand easily because they are willing to receive education and teach others especially on the topics concerning STIs, family planning, condom education, and also they like to be given condoms.” At the weekend clinics, young people arrive as early as 8am on a Saturday. There are drama shows and a resident drum band who tell stories through music, with youth dialogue sessions and information on condoms and all modern methods of family planning integrated into key messages of how to safeguard their futures. Zahra is proud of the success of the weekend clinics and hopes for a change in the way young people are treated. “The weekend clinics are set special for talking to the youth in different areas so they could get services without any challenge. In other UMATI locations, youth meet on Saturday but for us here in Temeke we agreed to be on Friday because they come from school early and some others come on Saturday because it is a good day for them. They [youth] enjoy it and are happy to receive the education from us.” “It is my hope that the community have now started to understand young people. This education has helped a lot of youth. Without SRHR education and understanding their rights, most young people could have difficult consequences. We are here to change challenges into opportunities for young people. We want a healthy future for all the young people that come to our center. We want them to know their choices so they can make informed decisions in their own lives.” 

opening of the film
12 August 2020

Tanzania: A youth center on a mission to destigmatize sexual health

Cultural stigmas leave many young people in Tanzania in the dark about their sexual and reproductive health and rights. Our Member Association - Chama cha Uzazi na Malezi Bora Tanzania (UMATI) - has come up with a solution at their youth center in Dar es Salaam: peer-to-peer educators.  Every week over 100 youth sign up for services and training at the center. In 2017 the Global Gag Rule pulled funding from UMATI, however, the Belgian Government stepped in with emergency funding which allowed the center to remain open through the She Decides project.

Woman in Tanzania having an ultrasound
17 January 2020

Tanzania: Fighting back against the Global Gag Rule

In 2017, the US administration implemented the Global Gag Rule (GGR), a policy that denied funding to organizations that provided abortion care.    IPPF refused to sign the policy that required us to deny women and girls the freedom to choose what happens to their body. As a result, IPPF lost $100 million in funding.    Our Member Association in Tanzania – Chama cha Uzazi na Malezi Bora Tanzania (UMATI) – was forced to close 5 of its 11 clinics.  But thanks to emergency funding from the Belgium government, UMATI was able to improve their remaining clinics, increase the number of qualified staff and continue to provide quality care for those who need it. Find out more about the Global Gag Rule and its devastating impact

School girls with their pink box for sanitary pads
28 June 2017

Keeping girls in school with sanitary pads

Only 2% of Tanzanian schoolgirls have access to disposable sanitary pads. More commonly, anything from cloth rags to socks, leaves or dry grass are used. One girl at a school in Tanzania, Alice Magaka, came up with a clever way to tackle the problem so pupils didn’t have to miss school. "It all began one day when I was in the matron's office," Alice says. "Suddenly, one of the younger schoolgirls came in crying. She had bled through her clothes and the boys were teasing her about it. She said that she didn't have any pads and had to use cloth rags." "It became clear to me then that the reason many of my schoolmates stayed home several days every month was that they didn't have any reliable menstrual protection." Alice is a senior at Loyola High School. She's in the middle of final exams, but has already been pre-admitted to a university leadership programme. Like all the other girls at school, she wears her hair short and a white and burgundy school uniform. Loyola High School in Dar es Salaam is a private school with 1,200 students, of which about half are girls. Most students that attend here come from upper middle class families. It is also a Christian school, and as such they accept students from low-income families free of charge. These are the students that can't afford to buy disposable pads and stay home several days a month because they worry they'll bleed through their clothes. But the students themselves wanted to make a change. "I read about someone who collected menstrual protection for others in a magazine and I thought surely we could do the same thing here so we created The Pink Box," says Alice.   Alice and five of her schoolmates quickly put together The Pink Box – a sturdy cardboard box draped in pink cloth and decorated with stars. The Pink Box is placed in the schoolyard once a month. All students that can spare disposable pads leave a couple each in it. “It might not be easy to share a whole pack at once. But most can give away a pad now and then,” says Alice. At the end of the day, the school matron collects the box and empties it. And then there are plenty of pads for everyone in need. The Pink Box is a simple idea that actually has a big impact. Thanks to The Pink Box the girls' school attendance has increased. Now, no one has to stay home during their period. The school matron Epina Mnyang’ali says four to five girls come in every day asking for pads. "Nobody finds it embarrassing to come to me. I'm like a mother." At Loyola High School they have also introduced a Girls Day which means that once a year, all boys and male teachers stay home. Only girls and women come to school. They talk about how the girls feel about school and what needs they have. What kind of academic support do they need? Does anything need changing? Girls' Day has contributed to the fact that the girls are getting top grades. All of the senior girls have been accepted to higher education. During Girls' Day, former students who now work as doctors or nurses talk to the girls about the menstrual cycle and reproduction. Alice explains what the boys say about The Pink Box and about helping out.  "At first we didn't include boys. In our culture it's not so easy to talk about periods with guys, so it was a challenge. But when we asked them, they wanted to help. And now they're also spreading the word about the campaign so that more people at school are aware of it. I hope it also leads to them not teasing us when we're on our periods."  Thanks very much for this text by Ulrika Hammar which was originally commissioned for Ottar Magazine www.ottar.se. The photos are courtesy of Carl Osvald. Ottar is Sweden’s largest sexual politics themed magazine, and focuses on topics such as love, sexuality, politics and culture. It is an independent magazine but linked to IPPF’s Member Association in Sweden RFSU.

Packard funding project in Benin
05 May 2016

IPPF funds youth-led projects to tackle abortion stigma

As part of our work in tackling abortion stigma, IPPF awards small grants to young people to create projects that would tackle the issue of abortion stigma in their communities. In 2015, small grants were awarded to promising projects submitted by young people in Ghana, Palestine, Spain, Macedonia and Nepal. In 2017, a further six grants were awarded to young people in Guinea, Kenya, Nepal, Puerto Rico, Sierra Leone and Venezuela. In 2019 five more grants were awarded to youth-led projects in Albania, Colombia, Nigeria, Spain and Tanzania. These documents give more information about what these projects set out to do, their methods and the results.

Uzazi na Malezi Bora Tanzania

Chama cha Uzazi na Malezi Bora Tanzania (UMATI) is an autonomous, non-political national NGO providing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) information, education, and services in Tanzania. It was established in 1959 and became a full IPPF Member Association in 1973. Since then, it has developed a comprehensive range of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services for Tanzanian young people.   

UMATI invests in the provision of gender responsiveness SRH services youth and women empowerment, and evidence-based advocacy through result-based projects implemented in 20 regions in Tanzania Mainland, and Zanzibar. UMATI recognizes that AGYW and ABYM experience different health needs and risks especially those related to HIV, STIs, and sexual gender-based violence. UMATI’s SRH programmes are developed based on the unmet need and government priorities and its SRH and FP service delivery has always been targeting the hard-to-reach communities, socially excluded and under-served people especially women, girls, and young people, and the key population.  

UMATI empowers adolescents and young people (10-24) to realize and demand their SRHR for effective utilization of the services. The Association, through the Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) approach, reaches young people with knowledge, skills, and Social Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) messages to freely access services at UMATI clinics, youth centers, and selected government facilities. Different approaches are used to reach adolescents and youth such as peer education sessions, IEC/BCC Materials, debate, health talk/dialogues, folk media, social media, radio, TV, e-sessions, community forum/dialogues, community meetings, and SRH service outreaches. UMATI collaborates with the Ministry of Health and Local Government Authorities to provide SRH services through 943 service points which include its own 5 permanent clinics and seven youth centers and support 391 community-based distributors/community-based services (CBDs/CBSs). UMATI’s SRH programmes are effectively maintained and delivered by 76 committed staff, 340 peer educators and a youth action movement membership of 400 activists.  

UMATI receives funding support for its programmes from donors and partners such as Youth Incentives, Pathfinder International, PLAN International, UKAIDS, the Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning (JOICFP), She Decides, UNICEF, UNFPA, Bills & Melinda Gates Foundation, Health Action International, SIMAVI, BERGSTROM Foundation, ZENSHO, and ActionAid Tanzania.