South Sudan: Teenage Pregnancies – a poverty risk

Together with YWCA South Sudan Horyzon is developing a new project called "Reducing Teenage Pregnancies" and supports young people on their way out of the poverty. Through sexual education, the provision of hygiene articles and access to contraceptives, youth pregnancies are reduced and future prospects created.

Background South sudan and Programme Environment

South Sudan - the world’s youngest state has already had a turbulent history. After more than 20 years of civil war, South Sudan separated from Sudan in 2011 and constituted itself as a separate state. But just one year after the founding of the state, the country sank into a severe civil war in which rival ethnic groups fought for the political leadership of the young country. Between 2013 and 2018, almost 400,000 people were killed and almost 2.5 million Southern Sudanese were displaced to neighboring countries, according to official figures. In the midst of this humanitarian crisis, famine is exacerbating the suffering of the population. Most people in South Sudan live off agriculture, but displacement and flooding have led to a shortage of food crops and livestock.

Hunger is not the only consequence of the conflict. Due to the lack of prospects and the many cases of sexual violence, as well as cultural and social restrictions on access to sexual education, teenage pregnancies are widespread. These are highly problematic for both mothers and children: around 80% of maternal deaths in South Sudan occur in adolescent pregnancies and infant mortality is generally around 50% higher in adolescent pregnancies than in pregnant women between 20 and 29 . However, such early pregnancies involve not only health risks but also economic risks. For example, girls from the poorest areas of Yambio are three times more likely to become pregnant before their 18th birthday . This means that most girls do not complete their schooling and lack the appropriate prospects for the future. Underage mothers are thus economically disadvantaged throughout their lives . A vicious circle.

The project of YWCA South Sudan and Horyzon called "Reducing Teenage Pregnancies" breaks this cycle. Youth in Yambio learn what their sexual and health rights are and how they can defend themselves against sexual violence. Better access to contraceptives and hygiene articles will break down taboos and strengthen their participation in school lessons. Through so-called village talks and radio talk shows, further sections of the population are made aware of the issues of sexual violence and contraception.

Target Groups

YWCA works with children and young people between the ages of 10 and 19 of the most vulnerable, ethnic groups, Dinka and Nuer. Every year, around 6,360 young people benefit directly from the programme. The various activities also involve teachers, village elders and employees of health facilities.

Aims

The aim of the programme is to reduce the number of minors becoming pregnant. Reducing the number of teenage pregnancies means that they complete their schooling and do not end up in a spiral of poverty. In addition, young people and adults should be able to speak freely about sexuality, changes in their body during puberty and menstruation.

 

Sources:
- Motherhood in childhood; Facing the challenge of adolescent pregnancy, UNFPA 2013
- Analysis YWCA South Sudan
- Women Deliver and The Population Council. Having a Child Before Becoming an Adult: Exploring the Economic Impact in a Multi-Country Analysis. New York: Women Deliver, 2019.

Activities & Effects

Sexual and gender-based violence

Activities
  • Conversations with community members about sexual violence
  • Training of social workers in the treatment of victims of sexual violence
  • Training young people in methods of safe sexual intercourse
  • Psycho-social support for victims of sexual violence
Effect

Sexual and gender-based violence is reduced

Education and sexual related health rights

Activities
  • Installation of water tanks at schools and provision of sanitary napkins
  • Education of girls and boys in (menstrual) hygiene and sexual education
  • Training of caretakers and teachers youth friendly treatment and communication
  • Organization of intergenerational dialogues on the topic of sexual related health rights
  • Vocational counselling at various schools
  • Dialogues with government representatives and village leaders on their role in promoting youth rights.
  • Training village leaders as ambassadors for sexual related health rights
  • Radio talk shows on sexual related health rights
  • Capacity building for basic human rights
Effect

Youth know their sexual related health right and build up long term livelihoods

Healthcare

Activities
  • Training of health staff in communication, counselling and support in family planning
  • Radio talk show sensitization for the use of contraceptives
  • Provision of contraceptives and demonstration of condom use
Effect

Young people have access to good health care (including prevention measures) provided by qualified staff.

Locations

Pictures: YGlobal

Activities worldwide

Further information

Flag of South Sudan.svg
Facts about the program

Title: Reducing Teenage Pregnancies
Partner organization: YWCA of South Sudan
Location: Yambio
Goal: Reduce teenage pregnancies
Target group: 10-19 years old girls as well as boys of the same age, teachers*, village elders, health station employees
Required funds 2019: CHF 60'000
Duration: 2020-2022
Responsible: Mattias Ruchti, mattias.ruchti@horyzon.ch

Facts about South Sudan

Capital: Juba
Population: 12.6 mill.
Human Development Index: 0.388 (rank 187.)
Life expectancy: 57.3 years
Median age: 18.7 years
Youth unemployment (15-24 years): 17.6%

Source:

http://hdr.undp.org/en/countries/profiles/SSD

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datei:Flag_of_South_Sudan.svg