Sexual reproductive Health and Rights

Adolescent girls face a lot of challenges in the area of reproductive rights manifested through high incidences of sexually transmitted diseases including HIV and AIDS. Incidence of HIV occurs at a younger age in females than males and yet often the girl’s interaction with reproductive health services is impeded due to socio-cultural and economic factors. Early pregnancy is another big challenge facing adolescent girls. Girls as young as 11- 12 years are having babies. Most adolescent girls are not empowered to make sexual decisions about their lives and cannot negotiate for safer sex. Access to friendly SRH including contraception is very limited to this group. Most adolescent girls particularly from rural areas generally do not have accurate information about Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights. Traditionally, girls are expected to be less knowledgeable about their sexuality and to have limited control of their body and sexual life, this includes when and who to marry, when to have sex, number of children, whether to use or not use a condom. Mrembo works to increase access to essential reproductive health information and utilization of Reproductive health services among adolescent girls, we will also bring awareness and popularize legal international and national instruments on the issues among adolescent girls and young women. We aim to ensure that girls and young women are well aware of their rights and be able to demand it from the duty bearer.

HIV/Aids prevention among adolescent girls

Teenage girls in Tanzania are three to five times more likely to be infected with the virus that causes AIDS than boys their age. According to reports, young people aged 15-24 counted for 41% of new HIV infection and over 60% of this percentage was adolescent girls. Adolescent girls become sexually active before the age of 15 years but they do not have adequate information on sexuality and lack skills to negotiate for safer sex to prevent HIV infection. Communication for social change and promoting and encouraging girls to delay sex and early marriage are the two strategies Mrembo has adopted to prevent HIV transmission among adolescent girls. Adolescent girls are empowered with life skills and information through peer education training as well as girls’ network dialogue forums.

Economic Empowerment

Through training and mentoring we look to nurture 1000 young girls in a period of two years to develop interest in ICT at early stage of their careers through teaching them basic ICT skills. The program is structured for young girls to build foundation in basic ICT skills by learning early stage programming skills and work in teams in small projects. Targeting girls from secondary schools who are at home and have interest in science, we aim to influence decisions and encourage them to engage in opportunities to pursue ICT studies as their tertiary education and eventually launch their own ICT innovative ideas and businesses. Mrembo program aims to look at more other areas of training and mentorship like entrepreneurship and other important life skills based education we will decide as per assessment done or requests made by girls.

Child marriages and harmful traditional practices

Traditional and cultural practices, beliefs, and negative community attitudes towards girls and women limit adolescent girls and young women from enjoying their full birthrights as citizen of the country. We will do a campaign that will look at various areas like Female genital mutilation (FGM) and early marriages that make Tanzanian girls perceived as inferior, marriage materials (brides), weak, unwise and unequal to boys and men. We believe such perceptions and beliefs have escalated violence against girls and women which is culturally justified and accepted, it also fuels adolescent sexual violence especially for the adolescents who have are expected to marry, of which most times such marriages are usually arranged or forced.

Girl’s education and Career guidance

School dropout is very high among adolescent girls. This is attributed to economic as well as social attitudes that tend to undervalue girls’ education as in most cases marriage is perceived to be the ultimate goal for girls. Due to financial constraints, many girls face significant challenges in attending school regularly and affording appropriate scholastic supplies. Violence/ bullying in schools is also a barrier for girls to education, Mrembo will work with local structures to eliminate violence in schools and make the school environment safe for every child.

We also encourage girls to remain in schools and attend all lessons even during their menses through provision of low cost sustainable sanitary pads and underwear. Most poor girls miss out classes every time they are menstruating because they cannot take care of themselves at school, we understand that most poor adolescent girls cannot afford disposable pads. Through our keeping girls at school initiative, we aim for girls to be able to attend all lessons and have demonstrated an improvement in terms of their class participation and grade. We believe an educated Tanzanian girl has high earning potential, enjoys good health, she is less likely to marry as a teenager, has fewer children, less likely to be a victim of gender based violence, more likely to educate her children and be productive to the community and the country at large.

Promotion of justice for survivors of gender based violence

Mrembo aims to empower adolescent girls with information on justice systems and strengthen the capacity and increase coordination of community justice systems’ operations. We aim to ensure that girl survivors have accessibility to fair and just system. Mrembo will work with stakeholders that provide legal clinic for survivors of violence against girls and gender based violence and legal representation for poor girls who cannot afford one.

Mentorship and coaching

Mrembo program organizes tutoring and mentoring sessions for Tanzania girls so as to positively influence their mind set and improve chances of their academic success. The program guarantees the best possible education performance for unprivileged girls so as to empower them to become self- reliant citizens free from absolute poverty. Consequently this will reduce gender disparities, illiteracy levels and foster achievement of SDGs as well as education for all. We believe an educated Tanzanian girl has high earning potential, enjoys good health, she is less likely to marry as a teenager, has fewer children, less likely to be a victim of gender based violence, more likely to educate her children and be productive to the community and the country at large.

Sextortion

Under sextortion we aim to stop the abuse of Power for purposes of sexual exploitation in Tanzania. We understand that the abuse of a position of power or authority to extort sex takes many forms, but it always involves someone in a vulnerable position who needs something that the person in authority has the power to grant or withhold, hence when the person in authority demands a sexual favor in return, it is sextortion, and Mrembo program aim to work with various stakeholders to stop sextortion in:  addressing a wide range of circumstances under which vulnerable women and children suffer sexual molestation, harassment, exploitation and humiliation through abuse of authority; Raise awareness and generate interest in eradicating the degrading practice of sextortion in public and private institutions; Help to reduce sexual abuse, harassment, and exploitation by fostering greater awareness, a higher self-consciousness, and good ethical behavior in private and public institutions and underscore human dignity and respect in public and private institutions, by extension in the family and being able to protect and well arm a girl child to be able to know their value and refuse any acts that will take that away from them.