Doreen’s mom didn’t tell her why she was handing her an invitation a few days earlier. It caught the teen’s attention though: It was yellow with a bright green pineapple printed on it.
Doreen’s mom Alice had visited the clinic on Tuesday — along with 20 other mothers. Alice heard that she could invite Doreen to a PSI program at the clinic on Saturday. The program, designed especially for girls Doreen’s age, would teach them about the changes going on in their bodies, personal hygiene, how to prevent pregnancy and would answer any other questions about sex.
In Tanzania nearly half of teenage girls will get pregnant by age 19.
When Doreen arrived on Saturday with her invitation, she sat down with 21 other girls. At first, she was busy texting on her red Samsung. But she sat up straighter when Rose, the 24-year old PSI-trained group leader started talking.
Then Doreen placed the phone on the bench next to her and didn’t look at it again.
Through its Adolescents 360 (A360) project, PSI is working to increase voluntary, modern contraceptive use among girls age 15-19 in Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania. Among the many approaches A360 is piloting are separate clinic workshops for mothers and daughters.
After introductions, Rose and the PSI-trained health provider Maria engaged the girls about hygiene, menstruation and pregnancy prevention.
Maria shared the contraption methods available to them including: male condoms, female condoms, pills, implants and IUDs.
Then Rose handed out paper for each girl to write down a question, without including their name. Rose urged them to be open and curious.
Rose read out the questions and answered each in turn. She then wrapped up the session by inviting each girl to visit with Maria privately.
When it was her turn, Doreen met with Maria and chose to get three months of oral contraception.