The group’s goals of improving health, governance, gender equality, and sustainability, make it an excellent partner for Population Connection, which supports the rights and empowerment of people—including youth–everywhere.
Stretchers is a good example of an organization helping Population Connection with its grassroots mission. By empowering and educating youth and adolescents about sexual and reproductive health and rights, it is helping to rein in rapid population growth, bringing it in line with the environment and improving quality of life for all.
“As a male SRHR champion, I want to thank Stretchers Youth Organization for this training, where I learned that it is important to advocate for contraceptives. Contraceptives help reduce unwanted pregnancies, and give girls and women a chance to have the number of children of their own choice. I will ensure that I pass this information to my fellow men in the community.” Participant in Stretchers Youth Training
Population Connection most recently sponsored the one-year Stretchers project Kijana Imarika Bonga Elimika (Project KIBE). The goal of Project KIBE was to improve the sexual and reproductive health of children and adolescents, from 10–24 years of age, and strengthen HIV and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) services.
Mombasa’s young people contend with many health problems, the most prevalent being sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS, drug and substance abuse, teen pregnancy, and sexual and gender-based violence. Project KIBE was intended to address the SRHR outcomes of adolescents and young people in the marginalized areas of the Jomvu and Changamwe sub-counties.
Project KIBE’s educational activities—mostly virtual due to the pandemic—focused on its stakeholders. These activities included publicizing the project through outreach such as events for International Women’s Day, Day of the African Child, etc. Stretchers also calls attention to these issues through social media. One of the organization’s young activists did a live broadcast about teenage pregnancy on the Kenya Broadcasting Company!
Despite the logistical and health difficulties resulting from Covid-19, in 2020, Project KIBE reached 773 adolescent and young people with its educational programs, community youth villages, community dialogue, international days, policymakers meeting, and The Girl Summit event. The most recent event was an SRHR training for “champions,” adolescent stakeholders who advocate for, and educate their peers about, these issues. The April event attracted 25 Champions, who learned about SRHR practicalities and advocacy.