She is a Rwandan young girl, she became a mother at an early age and she lost her baby only at his third birthday. As she mentions, she suffered a lot before she decides to follow he mentor’s advices to use ‘Mobile For Reproductive Health’.
Aurole Mugisha, is now 19 years old. She got unplanned pregnancy at 16 years, when she was at school while she was the first born of the family and an orphanage that were looking at her young brothers.
Aurole’s parents perished and lost their life in a car accident when she was only 14 years. After two years, she fallen in love with her colleague, and got pregnancy by accident. She had to leave the school and went back to her home.
“When I realized that I am pregnant, I didn’t accept it. It was very hard to me. I and my brothers were living in a family, which is not our blood family, just one of charity people, who gave us a place to stay. I was very ashamed; I couldn’t explain how I went through so far like that. After a while, I gave birth to a handsome baby boy.” Aurole says
After three years, the baby died, and Aurole was very shocked. She met a lady who accepted to be her mentor in life. This one informed her about the Mobile program for reproductive health known as M4RH, an initiative designed to give young people in Rwanda access to accurate information about sexual and reproductive health. This program is an automated, interactive and on-demand SMS system that provides basic information ranging from topics on puberty, sex and pregnancy, HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in a medium that is widely accepted and used by youth.
Mugisha Aurole decided to join the M4RH and started family planning without fear. She says that before she had been informed about this initiative, she didn’t know that a young girl can access family planning services.
“Today, I realize how much family planning is the important thing I could have done before I got pregnancy. I was living in a shame situation, fearing people, thought they will think that I am a prostitute. But today, I am proud of myself because I made it!” She says
François Habiyaremye, the owner of Iwacu, a private health center where Aurole goes for family planning, says that some girls do not do family planning because they are afraid that society will criticize them while Rwanda Reproductive Health Policy allows both women and adolescence girls to do family planning without any discrimination.
He encourages adolescent girls to quit fear and to join others in the reproductive health program instead of using medications that are not appropriate and getting pregnant without knowing it.
The M4RH initiative implemented by Imbuto Foundation is reaching as many young Rwandan people as possible as there is no need to log onto the internet to receive information. As not many youths have smart phones, M4RH ensures youth receive messages through SMS and information is shared in one of the country’s official languages – Kinyarwanda.
With information in their hands, youth are taking responsibility to not only learn, but to make informed decisions, securing their health for a better future.