Prior to 2019, the Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights program at the Rubona Health Center had been dormant for two years. However, in 2019, Health Builders integrated the youth corner for adolescents into the health center package, allowing Health Builders to meet with youth for private counseling, treatment of Sexual Transmitted Infections (STIs), contraceptive methods, and pregnancy tests.
Ukwishaka Olive, a 23-year-old peer educator in Rubona has been trained and certified by Health Builders - in collaboration with the Grand Challenges Canada and Rwanda Biomedical Center - in the ASRH&R project in Rwamagana to educate fellow youth. She tells us that the youth in the community have been very receptive. Many come to her and her fellow peer educator to ask advice on their sexual and reproductive health.
While sometimes the peer educators can help them, other times they will refer them to the youth corner in Rubona Health Center for professional help provided by the nurse in charge of the ASRH service. Ukwishaka says, “There is no issue of confidentiality because our fellow youth trust us, they know we could be in the same position. Therefore, it is easier for them to ask for information and take informed decisions.” What helps the youth peer educators is the close relationship they have with the nurse, allowing them to coordinate outreach efforts in schools and the community. “We are in good communication and whenever we get a problem we can’t handle in the community, the nurse is easily reachable to offer advice,” says Ukwishaka.