Why Do Teenage Girls Trust Maria?

She was 13 when she came to the clinic to meet Maria, a PSI-trained health provider.

She whispered to Maria, “I need a test.”

Maria remembers it vividly. The teenage girl was crying. She had heard about Maria through PSI’s Kuwa Mjanja program, which focuses on preventing unplanned teen pregnancy by creating programs with direct input from the teens they serve.

PSI trained Maria to have special skills talking to teenage girls about contraception and pregnancy prevention.

Maria asked her gently, “Have you had sex?” The young girl nodded.

Maria says, “After the test, we found out that she wasn’t pregnant and she chose an implant contraceptive method that day. I’ve stayed in contact with her because I care about her. She talks to me regularly.”

Maria is part of a large network of youth-friendly providers who are working to change the conversation about teenage sex in Tanzania, where nearly half of teenage girls get pregnant by age 19.

Every Saturday, Maria takes part in PSI’s Kuwa Mjanja programs where teenage girls gather to learn skills and talk while she waits discreetly to give them reliable information about sex and to provide them with contraception if and when they choose.

In Tanzania, where parents typically don’t talk to their children about contraception or pregnancy prevention, the need to reach young girls is urgent.

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