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Going to the last mile….on bicycles!

Peer educators at six UNFPA-supported Adolescent and Youth-Friendly (AYF) corners in Simiyu Region have each received a bicycle to make the hard work they do in their communities a little bit easier.

Thirty peer educators now have a bicycle – supplied by UNFPA with funding from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) as part of the two-year 'Nilinde Nikulinde Project' – to help them cover the long distances they travel within their neighbourhoods and beyond to promote positive behaviours through sexual and reproductive health (SRH) outreach. An additional 35 bicycles will be distributed to the remaining seven UNFPA-supported AYF corners in Simiyu later this month.

The 65 peer educators in Simyu Region – who have graduated from UNFPA implementing partner’s Kiota Women’s Health and Development’s (KIWOHEDE) sexual and reproductive health and rights training – work tirelessly in their communities to break down taboos and to support their peers to make healthy and informed choices about their SRH  – choices that have a real impact on their future. They are part of a network of UNFPA-supported peer educators in Tanzania that reached over 80,000 adolescents and young people with SRH information and education in 2019, including vulnerable youth who are out-of-school.

Grace is a peer educator in Isanga Village, Simiyu Region.  She acknowledges the challenges that young people face in her community, particularly girls, that leave them vulnerable to unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections and HIV, exacerbated she says by a lack of accurate information about SRH and the negative attitude of services providers. Grace goes from house to house in her village talking with young people about their SRH and also raises awareness about the services available at the AYF corner at Nguliati Health Centre, making referrals as needed.

The AYF corner at Nguliati Health Centre is one of 13 dedicated spaces adjoining health facilities that UNFPA has renovated and equipped in Simiyu Region since 2018 – under the two-year 'Nilinde Nikulinde Project'.

The corners provide a safe and enabling environment for vulnerable adolescents and young people to meet and to access a range of age-responsive SRH services – including voluntary family planning, HIV voluntary counselling and testing, psychosocial counselling, and information on menstrual hygiene management. Peer educators are an important link between young people in the community and the AYF corners.

With 10 years left to deliver on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, UNFPA is stepping up efforts to ensure that Tanzania’s youthful population, especially adolescent girls, have access to comprehensive and age-responsive information, education and adolescent-friendly SRH services – wherever they live – so that they can make a safe transition from adolescence to a healthy and productive adulthood….and no one is left out or behind.