As in many places around the world, sexual and reproductive health (SRH) is a complicated issue in Peru. In a 2013 report, 61.3% of Peruvian women aged 20-24 reported giving birth between the ages of 15 and 18. Lack of awareness about sexual and reproductive health is a key factor shaping this scenario, as well as communication barriers between teenagers and their parents and teachers. WGLG Peru has been working to break this cycle by ensuring that communities with low access to information about SRH don’t slip through the cracks.
In the first week of April, 2017 – 286 adolescents, 184 parents, and 55 school teachers participated in reproductive health capacity-building sessions organized by WGLG Peru. The sessions worked towards closing information and communication gaps that could lead to unwanted teen pregnancies and school drop outs.
After one of the sessions, a young woman who had been a teenage mother herself finally felt confident discussing family planning with her children. She said:
“My parents never talked with me about sexuality; that was unthinkable. I had my first baby when I was fourteen, and never really learned how my own body works… Now I have four children. I wish I could teach them about family planning, but it is not easy to forget the shame.”
Teachers participating in the capacity-building sessions were exposed to more comprehensive training, since they will be passing this information along to their students during tutoria (advisory) hours and to parents during Escuela de Padres (Parents’ School). According to Efrain Quispe, a teacher and participant:
“For us there is a <before and after> these capacity-building sessions. The vicious circle of fear is broken. As a team (of teachers) we have decided we cannot continue avoiding the issue. Our students and their parents need information about teen pregnancy. They need to talk to each other about this, but we have to take the first step to help them.”