TITLE OF PROJECT: “TEENAGE AND EARLY/UNWANTED PREGNANCIES”.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Name of Organisation: Divisional Delegation of Women’s Empowerment and the Family for Menoua - Dschang.

Country: Republic of Cameroon

Location of the Event and contact details: -Secondary and High Schools in 02 Sub-Divisions in Menoua Division, West Region, Republic of Cameroon

Coordinator: Marah Mbine Ngole Epie, Divisional Delegate of Women’s Empowerment and the Family for Menoua P.O.Box: 86, Dschang, West Region, Cameroon Contact: (237) 33451385 (office) and (237) 77676592 (Mobile)

Assistant Coordinator: Tala Wakeu Augustin, Doctorate Student in Political Sciences, University of Dschang, P.O. Box: 96 s/c University of Dschang, Faculty of Law and Political Sciences Contact: (237) 99675980 (Mobile)

Type of Event: Workshop/Training

Period: 12th September- 03rd October 2012. *12th September 2012, meeting to concert with Principals, to brief them on the project, and do planning *24th September 2012, produce and hang up a banner *26th September and 03rd October 2012, working visits to the schools, 02 per day.

Goal: This project aims at contributing to the reduction of early and unprotected sexual relationships amongst young Secondary/High school students, by improving on their knowledge on the social repercussions of pregnancy and, abortion related complications, to help them build up healthy and responsible sexual relationships.

Justification: Sexual promiscuity is very rampant amongst teenagers and sometimes still with their teachers in Secondary/High schools in the Division. Every academic year as many as 25 cases of pregnancy are registered in the government Secondary/High schools in the vicinity. Here below is a table on the situation in 06 government colleges, for the academic year 2011/2012.

ACADEMIC YEAR 2011/2012: NUMBER OF CASES ON TEENAGE PREGNANCY IN SCHOOLS N° Secondary High School Number of Cases early of unwanted pregnancies Number of registered Students Principal’s Contact 01 Bilingual High School Dschang (Lycée Bilingue) : Registered Students:3120; Victims:12 girls

02 Technical High School Dschang (Lycée Technique) : Registered Students:2400; Victims:25 girls

03 Classical High School Dschang (Lycée Classique): Registered Students:2700; Victims:06 girls

04 Government High School Santchou (Lycée de Santchou):Registered Students:2100; Victims:21 girls

05 Government High School Fokoué (Lycée de Fokoué) :Registered Students:920; Victims:10 girls

06 Government High School Bafou (Lycée de Bafou):Registered Students:2200; Victims:07 girls

This table speaks for itself. The consequences, of course, are many on the victim, partner, parents, community and the nation at large. Often, the teenage mother may decide to carry out clandestine abortion; hide the pregnancy from close ones and then kill or abandon baby after delivery; drop out of school; go into early and forced marriage; become an additional burden on her family; develop some health complications, STI/HIV/AIDS; further sell sex to make ends meet, etc. Through this project, we will be able to communicate safe, healthy and responsible behavior and practices for a positive change.

Target audience: -School authorities -Teachers -Students (boys/girls) -Youths -Families SUSTAINABILITY: There are Parents-Teachers Associations in all schools. These results gotten from the workshops/training will be communicated to the students’ parents in group discussions, for stronger commitments and responsible parenthood. More so, this project will be extended to the other 05 Sub-Divisions that make up Menoua Division. This pilot project which does not exist in other part of the West Region of Cameroon could in the long run be executed nationwide.

Number of attendees: (2000 participants, precisely 500 persons from each school) i)Government High School Nkong-Ni ii)Classical High School Dschang iii) Technical High School Dschang iv) Bilingual High School Dschang

Issues to be addressed and guest speakers: a) Teenage pregnancy as a social issue (-Define pregnancy-early pregnancy-pregnancy with STI/HIV-Social repercussions, on individual, partner, family and society) by Mr. Salif Mforain Mouassie, Coordinator “Horizon Jeune”. b) Causes of teenage pregnancy (-Teenage sexual behavior-Age discrepancy in relationships/statutory rape-sexual abuse-dating violence-childhood environment-public opinion) by Mme. Marah Epie, Social Worker, Divisional Delegate of Women’s Empowerment and the Family for Menoua. c) Who is responsible for teenage pregnancies? (parents-boys-girls), by Mr. Tala Wakeu Augustin, Doctorate Student, in Political Sciences, University of Dschang. d) Abortions and impact on victim’s health (-Definition of Abortion-Types of abortion-local techniques of carrying out abortions and their complication -factors that favour early and unwanted pregnancy) by Dr. Bouting Mayaka Georges, Director of the Dschang District Hospital. e) Gender and decision-making before and during pregnancy, by Dr. Atanga Lilian, Head of Department African Studies, University of Dschang. f) Taking commitments, by Mme. Marah Epie.

AWAITED RESULTS: At the end of the workshop/training school authorities and students will: * be better informed on the repercussions of early/unwanted pregnancy *have knowledge on abortion related complications *identify situations whereby their choices are influenced or controlled by others, and vice versa *Propose new strategies to help reduce pregnancies for school aged children *Postpone 1st sexual intercourse relationship and, *Take commitments to change personal behavior and attitudes, for healthier and safer sexual lives.

Last year, this project was granted partial sponsorship by two Local Councils in Menoua Division.The campaign was successfully carried out in 04 schools. The barriers these young girls face in our communityare mainly: - Lack of sexuality education, as sex in this area is still a taboo - Peer pressure - Early and forced/arranged marriages - Sexual harassment and abuse - Sexual promiscuity - Lack of correct information - Poverty: parents withdraw daughters from school when means are limited; Girls exchange money for sex. A common practice today is to register with photos and addresses in hotels - Lack of commitment, on the part of parents and the girls - Poor environmental influence - Lack of adequate care and support from parents and the community - Challenges linked with single parenting, separation and divorce - Early motherhood and - Poor survival skills.

My team will work with the Parents Teachers Associations of these schools in May 2013, before students go on long vacation (a strong recommendation made by the school authorites). More so, thesame sensitisations will be carried out in September - October 2013, in another selected 04 schools. Our dream is to contribute in having zero cases of Early/Unwanted pregnancies in schools, and have parents and youths take commitments to change personal behavior and attitudes, for healthier and safer sexual lives.

We invite you to join us in this journey!!!

Take action! This post was submitted in response to Girls Transform the World 2013.

Comment on this Post

Comments

It certainly takes great devotion to carry forward a project of that magnitude. Unwanted pregnancies is one factor that pulls women into poverty and dis-empowerment.

I wish you all the best with the project.

Regards, Aminah

Salaam Aminah

Marah, What a detailed, comprehensive example of what it really looks like on the ground to make positive changes. You are doing wonderful work! I hope you will keep us updated with the results. Thank you for sharing!

Cassady www.worldschildren.org

Marah,

Your goals and plan to make a positive change in girls education is inspiring! I appreciate your well-thought out approach; your passion really comes through! Thank you for sharing!

Best,

Abby

Dear Marah, I am so impressed with this proposal and the fact that you did it in 2012 and are set to continue this month. Perhaps you are even speaking to the girls at one of the schools right now as I write this message. Good for you!

I have a friend who has a vision that every baby born on earth gets the message "You are welcome, safe and loved." I think that your work in Cameroon definitely supports that vision--supporting girls to be wise about their sexuality. May your work with the girls be joyful and empowering for you and your team and the girls too.

Sincerely,

Lorraine Cook

Together let us create "an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, socially just human presence on the planet" now.

Dear Lorraine, Hello to you! Infact, we are doing our best to make each girl feel secure and loved. I enjoy your quotes, and I'm printing these for my office. Thank You, indeed!

Marah