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On 29th October the Government of Ireland renewed its partnership with UNFPA Tanzania to provide support for the second year of the Ujana Wangu Nguvu Yangu (My Youth, My Power) project, which responds to the unique needs of some of the most marginalized and vulnerable adolescents and young people living in Kigoma Region.  The memorandum of understanding builds on the collaboration between Irish Aid and UNFPA that began in July 2018 with Ireland contributing €1,000,000 (TZS 2.5 billion) over the first year of Ujana Wangu Nguvu Yangu project implementation.

Kigoma is one of the poorest regions in Tanzania and for its large youthful population who face formidable challenges on a daily basis – staying healthy, getting an education and making their own decisions in life – there is a real danger of being left out and left behind.

Over the first year of Ujana Wangu Nguvu Yangu project implementation, UNFPA has targeted the most vulnerable adolescents and young people living in four districts of Kigoma with a focus on local communities.  Three youth centres are now up and running in Nyarugusu Camp – safe spaces where a range of age-appropriate sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) information and services are available – and which more than 6,000 young people from local communities and Nyarugusu Camp have visited over the last year, enabling them to make informed choices about their SRHR – choices that will shape their future.  

Youth centres have been set up in the community for in and out-of-school youth where youth receive age-appropriate information about risky sexual behaviours; HIV; early pregnancy; child marriage; and gender-based violence. UNFPA is also supporting adolescent mothers – who face unique challenges – on how to keep themselves and their babies healthy. And ensuring that young women and adolescent girls have the knowledge and tools to manage their menstruation safely, hygienically and with dignity is also a priority.

To ensure improved access to quality sexual and reproductive health services, UNFPA, in collaboration with regional and local government, has identified nine health facilities that are in the process of being renovated, expanded and equipped to provide high-quality reproductive, maternal and child health services. A further 12 facilities will be supported in the second year of the project.

Speaking at the signing ceremony in Dar es Salaam, Ms Jacqueline Mahon, UNFPA’s Representative in Tanzania said: “In response to the priorities and commitments of the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania, we, at UNFPA, with the support of the Government of Ireland, will continue to strive to deliver on all that was promised at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo for the adolescents and young people of Kigoma and ensure that they are not left out and left behind.”

Ireland’s Ambassador to Tanzania, Paul Sherlock said: “We recognize the significant role that reproductive health, women's empowerment and gender equality play in sustainable development, and accordingly, the health of women and children is central.”