Nicaragua has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Central America. According to government between 40 and 45 percent of all pregnancies registered in the country are of women 14 to 19 years of age. The result is a huge number of single mums, because many dads simply deny the responsibilities of new parenthood.
One of the better ways to help combat these statistics comes through proper education and better access to contraception for teenagers. When Quetzaltrekkers heard about a sexual education workshop hosted by three young Nicaraguan women we wanted to know more.
These three girls participated months ago in another camp with the same theme organized by another NGO and Peace Corps. They decided that it was the time to organize a small one and educate the girls of their community.
With the help of some Peace Corps volunteers and a Quetzaltrekkers donation they prepared a full day of activities to talk about teenage pregnancy, contraceptives, sexual diseases, violence and self-esteem, important topics that these girls don’t usually learn about in school or at home. The workshop was given in Achuapa town, a small village two hours away from Leon.
The talks were entertaining and really informative. They made the girls think and participate all the time, they had a lot of activities for the different topics. We especially loved the one that simulated a party and one of the girls had glitter on her hands, everyone was shaking hands and pretending to have a great time and at the end of the five minutes everyone had glitter on their hands except for two girls because they were using gloves. The intention was to show the girls how fast HIV can be spread if you are not using condoms. Only 26% of sexually active women in Nicaragua use some form of contraception and learning about these options was essential.
They also learn the different types of violence and how to stand up against it. Violence happens not only in their homes, but also at school, the street and between friends. The slogan of the workshop was also “Las mujeres tenemos valor” (Female lives are invaluable), and they shouted this several times. Before finishing the day they were able to do some bracelets and see a short documentary about young girls in different countries, including a stunning documentary about a little girl in Haiti and another one in Afghanistan that showed the girls how lucky they are to be able to attend school.
We are really proud of these girls´ initiative of teaching the girls of their community and making a difference in their village. The girls learned a lot and they had a great day, revealing how education can contribute to eliminating the high teen pregnancy rates in Nicaragua and improving the situation for future generations.
These young women are priceless and they are changing their country.