Sexual and reproductive health is just one piece of a larger puzzle. Young people face many challenges beyond preventing unintended pregnancy and HIV. They want to learn, have healthy relationships, and gain skills. Really, they want jobs.
Pathfinder’s Strengthening Communities through Integrated Programming project embraces this reality. It combines young people’s many interests through one exciting integrated initiative—“Youth Farmers Clubs.” Pathfinder, in partnership with the Cooperative League of the United States of America, has established 810 clubs, reaching 26,660 youth with knowledge about both conservation farming and sexual and reproductive health.
Each club comprises 10-30 young people, who learn techniques for yielding sustainable, nutritious crops that will help them conserve their land, improve their health, and even generate bigger incomes. At the same time, with Pathfinder’s help, they work as a team to identify barriers to sexual and reproductive health and figure out ways to break through them (No condoms available in your community? What can you do as a club? Reach out to providers. Create a condom distribution hut.).
Young women participate along with young men. And we’ve supported 6,700 children orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS. We are making sure they have opportunity, and a real chance for better health. We are making key investments in their futures.
Luc Vander Veken is Chief of Party for SCIP Mozambique, Pathfinder International