The New Times (Kigali)

18 July 2011

Rwanda: New Programme to Protect Adolescent Girls Launched

The Ministry of Health, in partnership with Girl Hub, the Rwanda Guides Association and PSI/Rwanda, over the weekend, launched a pilot program to protect adolescent girls from HIV/AIDS, unwanted pregnancies and early marriages in the country.

The program dubbed 12+ Pilot, which was launched in Kicukiro District, is designed to benefit 600 adolescent girls between the ages of 10-12 years, a critical period in their lives, with information and tools essential to ensure their health and promising future.

The program will be implemented in Kicukiro, Huye, Musanze and Ngoma districts. It will involve three schools, a youth centre and a health centre in each of the four districts.

Speaking at the launch, Minister of Health, Dr Agnes Binagwaho said; "This new program is very crucial because it will strengthen the families of tomorrow through enabling women to actively protect themselves against infectious diseases such as HIV/Aids".

The Minister called on the girls to always strive for a better future, avoid premarital sex and early marriage.

The ministry has completed the training of female mentors in the four districts aged between 18-25 years, who will be providing counseling services to the adolescent girls in the four districts.

Lessons learnt from the 12+ pilot will inform the likely scaling up of the program, both at national and international level starting by 2012.

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