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A story of Mariam Haruni –   CHW and Youth SRHR champion 

For many years, women and girls in Kimamba ward have been victims of maternal death, unplanned pregnancies and teenage pregnancies. Lack of comprehensive knowledge on family planning and contraceptive choices among community members and religious and traditional beliefs in the area restricted women and girls to make choices about their health and contraceptive choices. 

Mariam Haruni, a Community Health Worker (CHW) working with Kimamba community in Kilosa District in Morogoro Region is among CHWs who received a 12-days long comprehensive SRHR and family planning training from SYV project implemented by UMATI with the support from AmplifyChange – UK. Mariam attests that the training received had transformed her to a committed champion of adolescents and youth SRHR.  She had acquired knowledge of family planning methods and developed her confidence and the ability to reach out to young people and adolescents as a special group that is faced with dilemma resulting from the misconceptions about family planning. 


Mariam admits that, in her long experience as CHW, she had worked on HIV counselling, testing, and treatment but had limited knowledge on youth SRHR and family planning. Mariam confessed that she had never worked in the area of family planning before her interaction with the SYV project. She narrated “I am very grateful to UMATI via the SYV Project, which provided me with knowledge on comprehensive family planning methods, bodily changes and risks associated with lack of SRH knowledge and choices among adolescents and young people” says Mariam. 

Following the training, Mariam has been visiting households and young people both individually and in groups educating them about family planning methods and breaking religious and traditional boundaries that hinders proper SRH. To smoothen CHWs work in the community, the project had provided Mariam and other CHWs with a bicycle. “The project has supported me with a bicycle, a bag, and other working tools which enables me to reach the community, especially young people, with easy,” says Mariam.  Mariam explains that now she has access to young girls, parents and religious leaders to teach them about youth SRH something she could not have done prior to the SYV project training.   

Thanks to the SYV project the community have knowledge on all risks associated with pregnancies, effective breastfeeding and family planning. The community beliefs and perceptions have greatly changed and parents are allowing their children to join the weekend clinics. Boys and girls freely ask questions and share whatever is bothering them concerning SRH.”  

Mariam spends most of her time mobilizing young people to join youth weekend clinics and community outreaches where previously more elderly people participated than young people. She believes her work in mobilizing young people to access SRH services, including contraception will greatly contribute to the reduction of teenage pregnancies, especially among school-going girls, which is one of the most serious challenges her community is facing. 




Mariam has so far reached a total number of 719 young people and provided 185 referrals to young people to access family planning methods of their choice as well as STI and HIV&AIDS services. The challenge she faced was convincing parents to allow their children to attend youth weekend clinics and accept the use of family planning methods, as the community now knows that educating young people is more about convincing them to do it. “I had a difficult after a 12 days training, it was hard to convince the sheikhs to allow their children and all youth at large to attend youth weekend clinics’’  

 Mariam will never find rest until young people in her community are free from social discrimination, taboos, and traditional norms that restricts women and girls from accessing SRH services particularly family planning.