In December 2017 we launched a Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) Program with the generosity of several U.S. donors and support of Tulane University. SRH is based on a youth peer provider model created by Tulane University as the best practice for our students. Fourteen students were trained by Planned Parenthood Global to be Youth Peer Providers of the SRH Program. After the training, 8 students were selected to conduct peer training (two-year commitment) due to their mastery of the materials and effective communications skills. Since December 2017, the Youth Peer Providers have trained approximately 70% of the students in seventh grade through post-secondary school. The remaining students are to receive training in December 2018, April 2019 and/or August 2019.
Excellent Preliminary Results
In its first year, the most positive outcome of the SRH program is that only one young woman became pregnant in the past year compared to seven in the previous year. Fortunately, she was close enough to her post-secondary graduation that it did not derail her education. While this is just one year’s data, we’re hopeful that we’re on the right track by providing facts and resources in an effective manner.
Continued Tulane University Support
We have continued to receive support from Tulane University for the program. Last summer, a Tulane student spent the summer in Nairobi evaluating the program under the supervision of Dr. Patty Kissinger, a professor and researcher at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. She made several important recommendations, such as:
- Helping students become more likely to access medical care by scheduling tours of the partnered clinic and bringing healthcare professionals from the clinic to the training sessions.
- Making the educational material available to students online.
- Providing more training for Youth Peer Providers on SRH topics and skills such as presenting and handling difficult conversations.
- Educating parents and guardians on the importance of the training to create further buy-in from the Kenyan community.
Going forward, we will be implementing Tulane’s recommendations, doing a refresher training in January 2019 with the Youth Peer Providers, recruiting future Youth Peer Providers, and training the remaining 30% of students who did not receive training in year one.
Pioneering Sex Education
Sex education in Kenya is spotty and there are many beliefs that must be dispelled, such as that condoms cause cancer or using contraception will make it impossible for a woman to ever conceive a baby. Having access to factual information about their bodies and access to contraception is something our students in Kenya need to stop the cycle of early pregnancy.
We are excited about the results of the first year and believe it to be critical for all students’ success in the future. If you are interested in helping to fund this program in 2019 and beyond, please contact Lacey Kraft at [email protected] or 612-568-4211.