IMG_7073After winning the Global Grant 2015 from Iowa Resource for International Service (IRIS), the YES alumni from Tanzania went straight to work and organized a seminar benefitting the youth of the country.

During the month of August, the YES alumni Hassani Msanga, Faraja Ng’ida and Zukra Hamidu organized a two-day long seminar in the district of Same, Kilimanjaro.

The Peer Sexual and Reproductive Health Seminar aims to educate the youth on peer sexual and reproductive health. The five main topics discussed in the seminar are biological and behavior changes during puberty and how to cope with those changes, risk behaviors and practices which can affect their reproductive health, studies and their social development, effects of abortion, and sexual transmitted diseases and awareness of their reproductive rights.

IMG_3305The total of 158 students from Kibacha Secondary School and Kwakoko Secondary School of Same District gathered for the two-day seminar.

Lectures during the first day entailed normal physical and behavioral bodily changes during time of puberty and ways to handle challenges associated with this stage of development.

“It is during this period of development [that] teenagers tend to have increased desire to try new things [that] may affect their reproductive health, academics, as well as their social development,” Msanga, one of the YES alumni, said.

In their discussion with the students, the program coordinators touched base on personal hygiene and positive behavior. The focus of hygiene was mainly for girls especially on how to keep clean and healthy during their menstrual cycles. As good role models of the YES program, the alumni talked about how to portray a good image and avoid risk behaviors such as being influenced by bad peer groups, under-aged smoking and drinking, early sexual practices, and also how these risks affects their health, academia and social development at a young age. The alumni gave them tips on how they can avoid these risky behaviors from ruining their teenage years.

IMG_7098The seminar also encapsulates discussions revolving the cause and effect of types of sexually transmitted diseases. HIV and AIDS are diseases that are common in Tanzania, thus why the alumni are raising awareness about these diseases to its youth. Along with giving preventive measures on how to avoid STDs, the organizers of the event emphasized on the students’ reproductive health rights including their rights to social cultural practices such as early marriage and arranged marriage.

The seminar was well received by the students from all around Same District. Following the completion of the program, the district education offices and teachers from the participating schools hope that these seminars would be conducted again in the future and around other regions.

Over in Nigeria, the YES alumni also celebrated the theme of focusing on the youth of the country through the Millennium Youth Camp. The four-day camp was dedicated to building the youths’ interest in volunteerism, community participation, and project development.

The camp was held at Shere Hills, Jos. Around 30 young hopefuls aged 15 to 20 participated in the four-day “boot camp.” The youths were selected randomly from all over the state to learn about how they can help build the nation as well as other skills such as digital storytelling and a community project that they completed with the Plateau State YES alumni.

“We organized a community project with them to buy more buckets, brooms and mops for the camp a month after the camp,” Nendi Lukolm, a YES alumnus said. “We also embarked on a sanitation project within the camp to wash and clean all the hostels and halls at the camp.”

Along with Lukolm, YES alumni Nanchin Faith Haggai, Adams Atang Garba, John Izang, and Jennifer Makzen Kopkuk were the backbone of this project.

IMG_3501IRIS Global Grants are provided by Iowa Resource for International Service (IRIS) and are available to any alumni of an IRIS program (adult or youth) who want to make a change in their communities through engaging programs such as those mentioned above.

The IRIS Global Grants and Global Scholarships programs are funded through independent donations.  IRIS welcomes contributions all year long and hosts fundraisers in support of our alumni’s pursuits of making the world a better place. Donate online to the IRIS Global Grants and Scholarships program through this link or learn more about our upcoming fundraisers, grants and scholarships on our website or by emailing


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