In Tanzania, a small group of school girls are on a mission: to ensure their peers know the facts about and how to protect their sexual health.
Sarah is the leader of the Students AIDS Action Team (SAAT)—a student-led initiative at our program in the Serengeti. Using play-based activities and presentations at special events, SAAT has empowered more than 400 students to take control of their well-being.
“We are very proud to see how our small group has managed to change the behaviour of our fellow female students,” says Sarah.
Consisting of a handful of girls from 10 local secondary schools, SAAT educates students and community members on their sexual rights, building the participants’ courage and self-esteem to resist peer pressure and protect themselves.
As a result, they exude confidence when speaking to parents and community members about the negative effects of female genital mutilation, a common practice in the region. They also work to reduce early or unwanted pregnancies, which helps keep the girls in school longer, forging the path for their future.
“Many girls are now interested in joining us after attending our sessions,” Sarah said.
Group members are also doing better in school with fewer dropping out overall. With proper care for their education and their health, these girls are growing into smart, healthy, educated and driven adults.