Clerics gets toolkit on adolescent’s reproductive health

Monday October 18 2021
Clerics pic

UNESCO Head of Office and Country Representative Tirso Dos Santos (middle) speaking at the handling over ceremony. On his left is Sheik Othman Salehe from Mufti’s Office in Zanzibar and Saida Msumi, the executive director for Tanzania Interfaith Partnership (TIP)

By Salome Gregory

Dar es Salaam. A total of 500 toolkits on Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (ASRHR) have been handed over to religious leaders with the aim of providing scientifically and theologically relevant materials to Muslim and Christians clerics to enhance their knowledge on ASRHR, HIV/AIDS and gender based violence (GBV) education and information.

Speaking at the handing over ceremony today at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Head of Office and Country Representative Tirso Dos Santos, said religious leaders involvement in reaching out to young people is vital as they are in a position to merge faith and skill with the use of the toolkits to empower adolescents and young people.

“UNESCO believes that education is one of the most powerful ways of improving peoples’ health, and if it is of good quality and relevant to the lives of learners, it will contribute to more sustainable development,” said Dos Santos.

Saida Msumi, the executive director for Tanzania Interfaith Partnership (TIP), says that ASRHR has been an increasingly important help in addressing the young people of Tanzania, especially because knowledge on sexual and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS and gender-based violence is vital to the creation of a more mindful, respectful, equal and informed community.

“We believe that these toolkits for both religious Muslims and Christians will equip the leaders with theological knowledge, aid in appropriate social influence and help with authentic delivery as expected. Religious leaders are the best community members to collaborate with in that they are the right entry point to touching the souls and influencing the actions of the youth in Tanzania,” said Msumi.

Sheik Othman Salehe from Mufti’s Office in Zanzibar acknowledges that these toolkits will benefit the youth as they will be able to learn more of things they learn in schools from their church and mosque.

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Even though resources to train other religious leaders and parents might present a challenge, he does ncourage religious leaders to start slowly in educating other people around their sphere of influence until eventually, all information reaches the masses.