Advancing Health Knowledge to Build Healthy Futures
By Amy Maglio - Founder & Executive Director
Since 2004, WGEP has worked in rural Senegal to provide access to quality education and supplemental programs to empower women and girls to build better lives and foster equitable and sustainable communities. Recognizing that educating girls in marginalized and impoverished communities is a multi-faceted challenge, WGEP employs a holistic approach by involving entire communities and finding solutions for the varied contextual barriers that may keep girls from accessing an education.
As part of our support to help girls thrive in school, WGEP offers reproductive health education to lower incidences of teen pregnancy, HIV and sexually transmitted infections. Our targeted workshops and seminars inform scholars on a range of important topics including: anatomy, puberty & development, sexually transmitted infections, contraception and family planning, consent and decision-making.
This is important because 22% of women in Senegal give birth before the age of 18, with rural girls having a higher rate of teen pregnancy (25%) than their urban counterparts (12%) (DHS, 2012). Teen pregnancy is a major health and social concern because of its association with higher morbidity and mortality for both the mother & child. It also has other adverse social consequences, particularly for educational attainment, as women who become mothers in their teens are more likely to drop out of school. Comparatively, Senegal is a model in the control of HIV/AIDS among African countries. The national HIV rate has remained below 1% for over two decades. However, this success hides a stark geographical disparity in access to education and treatment: only 3 in 10 Senegalese women have a comprehensive understanding of HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS, 2010).
Our reproductive health education workshops have proven greatly effective in expanding our scholar's base of knowledge. WGEP Senegal scholar Sadio said of the workshops: "I am so thankful for everything I learned. I now want to continue my education and become a nurse so that I can help the women of my village."
Thank you for supporting WGEP programs like our reproductive health workshops!
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