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Youth thoughts on contraception

In 2016, Rwanda’s parliament passed the Reproductive Health law that only permitted people above the legal age of 18 to use contraceptive methods.

However, various families have demonstrated a need for flexibility within this law, especially in cases where children under 18 may require family planning services due to increasing challenges.

The law specifies that a child seeking family planning services must consult with a responsible adult or their parent, and decisions should align with the provisions of the law.

In October 2022, the Parliament introduced a bill aimed at amending the existing reproductive health law, to grant family planning rights to adolescents.

One might wonder how the community perceives these changes, and whether adolescents, in general, are actively engaging in family planning discussions. To explore this, we spoke to students from different universities who shared their perspectives on understanding the importance of family planning.

Esther, a student at Mount Kenya University in Kigali, expressed appreciation for the family planning initiative, highlighting its positive impact on society. She stated, “Family planning is crucial because it empowers individuals to take responsibility, and I believe it is a significant aspect aligned with human needs.”

While acknowledging the benefits, she emphasized the importance of not overlooking the challenges and ensuring that family planning is accessible to both boys and girls.

Esther also raised awareness of the need for comprehensive education on family planning, stating, “Understanding family planning is essential, as ignorance can lead to various issues. You may think you are practicing family planning, but without proper knowledge, you might miss crucial aspects.”

Cedrik added a perspective on the current challenges within the youth community, discussing issues related to misinformation and the need for proper guidance. He emphasized the importance of addressing these challenges to ensure the effectiveness of family planning programs.

Bright Kamuzinzi shared insights into the educational aspect of family planning, stating that providing lessons on reproductive health alongside life skills could contribute significantly to shaping a healthier society.

In conclusion, these students recognized the importance of family planning but also emphasized the need for comprehensive education and addressing challenges to ensure effective implementation. They called for a broader understanding of family planning that includes both genders and stressed the significance of creating an environment where young individuals can make informed decisions about their reproductive health.

According to data from the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion (Migeprof) released in January 2023, between July 2022 and October 2022, over 130 girls under the age of 19 received family planning services in Rwanda, emphasizing the increasing importance of addressing reproductive health needs among adolescents.

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