Using Sports To Address Taboo Topics—Like Sexual and Reproductive Health—in Tanzania

Youth friendly Health…


To address staggering levels of teen pregnancy in Tanzania, two global nonprofits are using the tool of sports to address taboo topics, like women’s sexual and reproductive health.

In Tanzania, 27 percent of teenage girls aged 15-19 were already mothers or pregnant with their first child in 2016, according to the Tanzanian Health Survey. In this East African country known for the vast wilderness of Serengeti National Park, an estimated 1 million women face an unintended pregnancy every year.

These staggering levels of teenage pregnancies have knock-on effects that contribute to health, education and gender equality outcomes. Pregnant teenage girls in Tanzania are normally expelled from school. Over 20 Tanzanian women die each day from complications in pregnancy and childbirth.

To address this problem, two nonprofits focused on reproductive and maternal health, as well as HIV/AIDS prevention and care—Coaches Across Contents and Pathfinder International—have combined to use the tool of sports to address taboo women’s health issues in Tanzania.

Sexual health issues are directly linked to education and to so many other pathways of community and personal development,” Nora Dooley, impact team leader at Coaches Across Continents, said.

After six months of planning, curriculum development and project design, the partnership delivered the first Purposeful Play program, launched at the start of 2019, to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).

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