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UNESCO Supports Madagascar Government and Journalists to Combat Early and Unintended Pregnancies

UNESCO, in partnership with the Ministry of National Education of Madagascar, organized a training program for 30 journalists to combat early and unintended pregnancies.


UNESCO, in partnership with the Ministry of National Education of Madagascar, organized a training program for 30 journalists to combat early and unintended pregnancies. The training took place from September 26 to 28, 2023, in Tuléar, Madagascar. Journalists were trained on the radio series "Let's Talk About Early and Unwanted Pregnancies," consisting of 13 episodes, jointly developed by UNESCO, UNFPA, Save the Children, and SAfAIDS. This series will be adapted to local realities and broadcast on Madagascar's community and national radio channels.


In Madagascar, many young people start their sexual lives at an early age, with 31% of girls and 22.3% of boys aged 15 to 24 having their first sexual encounter before the age of 15. Furthermore, 40% of girls aged 15 to 19 have already had sexual relations.


Dinalalaina RAVONINJARA, National Coordinator of Comprehensive Sexuality Education at the Ministry of National Education

Dinalalaina RAVONINJARA, National Coordinator of Comprehensive Sexuality Education at the Ministry of National Education, emphasized the importance of providing information on sexual and reproductive health to adolescents and young adults, as it helps reduce high rates of early pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. She also highlighted Comprehensive Sexuality Education, also known as Education for Life in Harmony (EVH) in Madagascar, as a solution to these challenges, emphasizing that it is based on the country's values.


Mirana RAZAFIARISOA journalist at Tuléar university radio station

Mirana RAZAFIARISOA, a journalist at Tuléar university radio station, expressed a personal connection to this project: "My parents never discussed sexuality, considering it taboo. Unfortunately, my sister became pregnant at 17 while she was still a student. My parents were devastated and arranged for her to marry the boy, which forced her to drop out of school."


According to INSTAT, rates of early and unwanted pregnancies in Madagascar are significantly higher in rural areas, reaching 36% compared to 16% in urban areas. These rates increase with the age of young girls, reaching 8% at 15 years old, 30% at 17 years old, and a concerning 54% at 19 years old. Early and unwanted pregnancies pose significant risks to teenage mothers and their children, increasing the likelihood of maternal and infant mortality.


Within the Malagasy population, 39% of girls marry before the age of 18, and some regions report alarming contraceptive prevalence rates ranging from 16% to 20%. Despite these challenges, Mirana remains optimistic about her role in preventing early and unwanted pregnancies: "It is the responsibility of journalists to educate young people and disseminate knowledge. We must remind them of the importance of fighting against early and unwanted pregnancies. We will use UNESCO's radio drama to support this essential work and initiate crucial conversations."


This initiative was carried out under UNESCO's O3 Program, active in 33 sub-Saharan African countries. Its goal is to promote Comprehensive Sexuality Education in Madagascar, aiming for a sub-Saharan Africa where adolescents and young people are self-reliant, healthy, resilient, and have the ability to fully realize their potential, thereby contributing to the development of their community, country, and region.


Tariro Makanga-Chikumbirike, a Senior Communications Specialist Consultant, conducted a two-day training session for the journalists.





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