SFH Rwanda under the USAID funded Rwanda Social Marketing Program(RSMP) donated 5 mobile sound systems to youth centers in Nyanza, Rwamagana, Nyarugenge, Kicukiro and Gasabo districts. These sound systems support youth centres in raising awareness on condom use, HIV testing and prevention of teenage pregnancies as well as conducting outreach and mobilization events that promote health seeking behaviour among Adolescent girls and young women in safe spaces like youth centres and youth corners.
Denise Uwase, 17 is a member of Rafiki Club in Nyamirambo sector, Nyarugenge district and had just joined the dancing class and says that the club had received a sound system which changed their learning. “With my friends, we were happy at the sight of the sound system and agreed to join the dancing class but we also use it to learn about HIV and unwanted pregnancies prevention through the trainings here at Rafiki youth centre. I’ve also met good friends who helped me go through my difficult times where I was wondering what was happening to my body and was so lonely,” she says.
So many youths were affected like other people by the Covid-19 pandemic, youth clubs in Nyarugenge, Nyanza and Rwamagana districts have become the second home for most youth, they frequent join the clubs to play sports, dance, learn about sexual reproductive health, and out of school youth are helped to learn skills like tailoring.
For Yego centre in Nyanza district which received the sound system amid the pandemic, sending messages to the youths who were no longer coming to the club was easier for us. “Entertainment using the sound system helped us to continue sending messages to our youths especially where they were redundant due to lockdowns, we would frequently remind them of the dangers of unsafe sex,” said Egide Kubana, the acting coordinator of Yego Centre Nyanza district.
“I was passing by the Rafiki club after I heard music and saw girls playing basketball while others were watching while dancing. I said to myself why can’t I also go and ask what is needed to join them, fortunately they told me, you are welcome, this is your home,” said Judith Uwamahoro,16.
Tony Omar Nsengimuremyi, coordinator Rafiki club says that the sound systems came in, right when the club activities such as sensitization of the youth about HIV, unwanted pregnancies were interrupted by the pandemic especially during lockdowns. But with the sound systems that was donated to us by SFH Rwanda, we were able to do mobile sensitization where we would tell youth to stay safe by following the regulations of preventing the spread of covid-19 but we particularly reminded them about HIV and unwanted pregnancies prevention, and this helped so many youth to stay safe,” he added.
Youth engagement through music and entertainment has proven to attract many young people to any event and provides a chance for many young people including AGYW in the surrounding communities to attend and learn about the youth friendly services like HIV/STIs prevention education, ASRH services, Voluntary HIV testing, and life skills training offered. SFH Rwanda also provided 970,348 condoms to all youth centres in the districts it operates in.