Ana got pregnant for the first time when she was 17. She lost the baby 7 months into her pregnancy, and a year later became pregnant again. This time she lost the baby and her own life. This story is too common in Palawan, Philippines, where reproductive health services and information are unavailable to girls like Ana. We want to educate girls about their bodies and health and provide access to free, high-quality services so they are empowered, healthy and in school.
In the Philippines, young people do not have access to comprehensive sexuality education. Myths and misconceptions abound, leading to high rates of teen pregnancy (1 in 4 pregnancies in Palawan are to teens) and maternal deaths. When a girl drops out of school, her possibilities for the future are diminished and she's caught in the same cycle of poverty she was born into. Providing young people with sex education will help protect their futures.
Our project will provide sex education to boys and girls all over the province of Palawan. We not only talk about the biology of pregnancy but also talk about relationships, consent, and future plans. This helps empower young people to identify their dreams and know how to protect their health so they can achieve their goals. We help youth increase their knowledge about health, and change their attitudes and behaviors to healthier ones.
According to the World Bank, the return on one year of secondary education for a girl correlates with a 25% increase in wages later in life. We see that ensuring a girl is equipped with tools and information to not become pregnant prematurely, allows her to stay in school, get a higher paying job and have children with broader horizons as well. Our model is sustainable in that it betters the community as a whole, one girl at a time.