Engaged Youth in Arusha, Tanzania, Start TCI Club to Help Ensure a Healthy Future
By Njeri Mbugua and Waziri Njau
The Challenge Initiative – implemented in Tanzania as Tupange Pamoja – encourages active participation of adolescents and youth in the design of health programming, including programs related to contraception and healthy futures. Recently, the Tupange Pamoja team met with students at Tumaini University in Arusha to talk about reproductive health issues and contraceptive method options. The students were so inspired by the Initiative that they launched their own “TCI Tuma Club.”
While the students shared their concerns on sexual and reproductive health, the Tupange team introduced them to TCI University (TCI-U). About 35 students registered and reviewed the Adolescent and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health (AYSRH) toolkit and services available to youth. The students are now champions who can engage fellow students during family planning/AYSRH outreaches.
The TCI Tuma Club provides a forum for students to share information with fellow students about planning for their futures, including the use of contraception. The District Development Officer (DDO), District Educational Officer (DEO), District family planning Coordinator, District Administrative Secretary (DAS) and Dean of Students, lauded the efforts and the new club. They noted that this engagement could reverse risks associated with early pregnancy and unsafe abortions and expand the ways young adults learn about sexual and reproductive health services.
Working together with university health care providers, the students can also refer students for services at their health center, participate in radio talk shows and youth dialogues. Tupange Pamoja in collaboration with the Ministry of Health already oriented the providers on the provision of quality AYSRH services for adolescents and youth.
“As a young man, the pictures showing sexually transmitted infections, the statistics on adolescent health, including teenage pregnancy and STIs, and discussions on contraceptive options were very beneficial. Indeed, nothing for the youth without the youth,” said Teddy Mkenda, a Tuma Club member. “The interaction with the Tupange Pamoja team has addressed the fears we all face in regards to positive behavior change.”
The video below captures more about the TCI Tuma Club.