This project will provide comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education to secondary school students in Kigali, Rwanda. The project will work in conjunction with anti-AIDS clubs based in the schools to help fill the existing gap in Rwanda's health education curriculum. This education will empower students with the tools to think critically, protect themselves, and ultimately reduce the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, unwanted pregnancies, and reproductive illnesses in Rwanda.
Rwandan youth lack access to sexual health education despite Rwanda's elevated rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancies. Students are taught basic human anatomy in school, but discussing sex-related topics is completely taboo. This results in misconceptions about sex, how women become pregnant, and how STIs spread. Without proper education, young people are at risk of suffering from STIs and youth pregnancy as well as fueling the spread of HIV/AIDS in Rwanda.
Health Development Initiative (HDI)'s sexual health and reproductive education (SHARE) program empowers anti-AIDS clubs to lead fellow students in discussions about sexual health issues and to hold awareness events to educate their classmates and communities. SHARE facilitators visit anti-AIDS clubs weekly to provide educational materials, answer questions, and assist in club activities. HDI also hosts an annual training to provide peer educators with in-depth knowledge on sexual health topics.
Knowledge is power. This project will help HDI to fill the gaps in sexual and reproductive health education in Rwanda and provide young Rwandans with the tools to protect themselves from HIV and unwanted pregnancies. The funds will allow the SHARE program to reach 20 schools and 12,000 students in 5 districts around Kigali. By empowering young people to make educated decisions about their sexual behaviors, we will reduce the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, STIs, and unwanted pregnancies in the country.