The National strategyppresentedttosstakeholdersiin bo, kenemaaand makeni.

The partners of the National Strategy for the Reduction of Teenage Pregnancy organized a week of celebration between the 11th and the 15th of July to present the Strategy to key stakeholders in the three regional Headquarter Towns: Bo, Makeni and Kenema.

These celebrations were organized under the leadership of H.E. the First Lady, who attended the ceremony in Bo (11th July) and of H.E. the Vice-President, who was present in Kenema and Makeni (13th and 15th of July). They were joined by the Ministers of Health, of Social Welfare and of the Minister of State, Office of the Vice President. The Deputy Ministers of Health and of Local Government were also present as well as the Resident Minister, the Chairmen of several District Councils and the Mayors of the three Regional Headquarter Towns. Representatives of the United Nations (UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO), who supported this activity completed the high tables.

Synergies and coordination must be developed, not only at national level, but also at regional, district and chiefdom level

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Studies show that Teenage Pregnancy is more prevalent in rural areas and that several Chiefdoms in the Northern, Southern and Eastern Province appear among the most affected areas in Sierra Leone. The success of the National Strategy will strongly depend on the capacity of partners (Government, national services, UN Agencies, NGOs, Civil Society organizations etc.) to coordinate their activities and to join efforts in developing interventions. These synergies and coordination must be developed, not only at national level, but also at regional, district and chiefdom level. The objective of this celebrations was to present the concept, objectives and coordination mechanisms of the National Strategy in the Regional Headquarter towns, with the involvement of key stakeholders that will be able to disseminate these messages down to the communities.

In total, more than 1 800 people attended the celebrations but some key participants can be identified. These include Representatives of the Parliamentarians and of the Paramount Chiefs, Religious leaders, Key Decentralized officers of Line Ministries, representatives of NGO partners and other concerned individuals. Finally, the participants to this important event included representatives from the adolescents and young people (300 out-of-school youths and 600 in-school pupils), key beneficiaries of the National Strategy.

Studies show that Teenage Pregnancy is more prevalent in rural areas, it is crucial to mobilize key stakeholders in the Northern, Southern and Eastern Provinces.

Three presentations were made to provide information to participants on Adolescent Pregnancy: an overview of data available on Teenage Pregnancy and Child Marriage in Sierra Leone, a description of the response developed by the Government of Sierra Leone and its partners to this pervasive problem: the National Strategy for the Reduction of Teenage Pregnancy, and a description of the “Standards on Adolescent/young people Friendly Health Services” which were developed by the Ministry of Health, WHO and UNFPA. The theme was also illustrated by a documentary called “Voices” presenting the testimonies around Teenage Pregnancy from individuals affected by this pervasive problem (teenage girls, but also parents, health and social workers, school principals, paramount chiefs, etc.) and decision-makers’ (H.E. the President, MOHS, MSWGCA) as well as development partners’ (UNFPA and UNICEF) opinion and commitments to address Teenage Pregnancy. 

Further to the Official Ceremony, a Sensitization Forum was organized to target adolescents and young people, who are the main target and actors of change for the National Strategy. More than 1 200 in-school and out-of-school from the Regional Headquarter Townsareas participated in this program. This Forum was animated by several NGOs partners of the National Strategy, present at regional level (Health Poverty Action, Marie Stopes Sierra Leone, Plan, PPASL, Restless Development