KAYANZA March 13th (ABP) – The ‘Yezu Mwiza’ service in collaboration with provincial partners (ABUBEF, APFB, GLID) of the joint program in Kayanza province (northern Burundi) organized in Kayanza urban center on Monday March 11, 2018, a ‘Menyumenyeshe’ project information session, for provincial officials as stakeholders involved in the promotion and protection of youth and adolescents. As part of the implementation of the joint program to improve the education of young people and adolescents, Bishop André Florian Ndabarushimana reported on that occasion that religious leaders, who yesterday were an obstacle to the sexual and reproductive health of young people are today large-size mobilizers, a check by ABP revealed.
According to Bishop Ndabarushimana, the “Menyumenyeshe” project aims to promote and protect the education of young people and adolescents aged 10 to 24. However, that provincial person in authority in charge of the Yezu Mwiza service in Kayanza says their activities are largely focused on communication between children, especially in the matter of sexual health. He adds that children will be able to manage their sexual behaviors, with a view to reducing or even eliminating unwanted pregnancies. Asked whether religious denominations that had been a hindrance to reproductive health had changed attitudes, he pointed out that if representatives of religious denominations had been a hindrance, it would have only been an ignorance or the problem linked to the lack of information, adding that so far, religious leaders have already understood the importance of reproductive health, reason why, for him, movements or clubs have been set up at the level of churches to raise awareness about sexual and reproductive health.
In addition, Bishop Ndabarushimana says that in Butaganzwa and Muhanga communes of Kayanza province, the best results are expected, compared to those already won in the six communes of action. Although he expects satisfactory results, he said that large-size challenges are to be reported. These include unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV / AIDS, gender-related issues, early marriage-related issues, the problem of lack of concrete and clear information about sexual and reproductive health, and many other irregularities.
As Kayanza province is one of the most densely populated provinces in Burundi with a very high fertility rate, especially in the category of young people where unwanted pregnancies are most often observed, he is confident that with the intervention of administrative officials, sexual and reproductive health stakeholders and representatives of religious denominations, things will change. “We are delighted because in the past there was strong resistance from religious leaders to sensitive issues such as sexual and reproductive health and family planning, but currently, there are religious leaders who have already changed their mindsets and who are taking the lead in mobilizing and sensitizing other members of their religious denominations to adhere to sexual and reproductive health,” religious Ndabarushimana said. He invited those who have not yet understood the value of sexual and reproductive health to pull themselves.