Project Title: The Birds and the Bees: Talking About Sex in Tanzania
Student: Mary Katherine Caja
Mentor: Dr. Randy Quaye
Families Matter Project (FMP) is a non-intrusive community program implemented by Health Promotion Tanzania (HDT) that targets parents of pre-adolescents (ages 9-12) that teaches healthy communication tactics for safe sex practices. The ultimate goal of this program is to reduce risky sexual behavior and early sexual debut among pre-adolescents which will in turn decrease HIV infection rates and early pregnancies among school children. During my research I used many of HDT’s documents and observations; FMP is currently in the preliminary stages of Phase 2. To conduct my research I relied mostly on the data I received from HDT and a dissertation on communication barriers. I also spoke with the leaders and members of the FMP program at HDT. Along with the interviews, I participated in a FMP class and community mobilization session and was able to personally observe the effects of the program. My findings come from the beginning stage of Phase 2 of the program. I have found that there is great potential in FMP and I believe that FMP has had an overall positive impact on the communities it serves. It is playing a major role in reducing the prevalence of HIV infection and school dropouts due to early pregnancy. It has also aided in the beginnings of turning a sex-negative culture into a sex-tolerant culture. Although evidence suggests success, there are many limitations to this research, a major one being that there is only a limited amount of data during the second phase of the program due to the maturity of the program.