By: Abdurrahman Shamlan
In partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the German Development Agency (GIZ), The Yemeni Ministries of Health and Population and Education recently launched an initiative intended to empower Yemen’s youth population, imparting them with knowledge enabling them to adopt healthier life behaviors.
Young people aged 15 to 24 make up about a quarter of Yemen’s population yet have next to no understanding of reproductive health issues. No less important, there are very few specific services catering to this age group. Their healthy development will be one of the key factors determining the nation’s overall progress, read a USAID statement.
The initiative aims to train school principals, teachers, social workers and student leaders to form “Health Friendly” teams to promote health awareness in selected secondary schools. For one year, the initiative will be introduced to 66 schools across eight governorates and is expected to reach 23,000 students.
At a ceremony held at Sana’a’s Movenpick Hotel, USAID Technical Director in Yemen Charles Swagman underlined the initiative’s importance and added that a “lack of information about reproductive health and the physical changes associated with growing up may cause them unnecessary anxiety and suffering. More critically, a lack of awareness puts them at risk for a variety of health problems and diseases.”
Swagman continued, “The training will be followed by the distribution of sets of “Youth Reproductive Health” booklets previously developed by the GIZ, and which have been approved and endorsed by the Ministries of Public Health, Education, and Endowments. By the beginning of the new school year, we expect to provide each student with a copy as well.”