600 people participated in 18 forums at the national level.
Managua. The Psychosocial Care Directorate of the Ministry of the Family, Adolescents and Children (MIFAN) has led an initiative to gather inputs for the design of a policy proposal for the prevention of and response to adolescent pregnancy. This involved holding 18 departmental workshops in June, with technical and financial support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
“We are supporting MIFAN in this process,” stressed Ivan Yerovi, the UNICEF Representative in Nicaragua, “which will provide decision makers with a basis for the national policy proposal for preventing and responding to adolescent pregnancy in the country, helping to guarantee the comprehensive protection of adolescent girls and their rights.”
The meetings were held with representatives from MIFAN, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, Promotoría Solidaria, the Federation of Secondary School Students, educators from child development centres, adolescents and parents in 18 departments. According to the MIFAN representative in Bluefields, Aleyda Mendoza, “We implemented this initiative to listen to the opinions of different local actors in the region, particularly girls and boys, in order to help enhance the government’s strategies for the prevention of adolescent pregnancy.”
The leading participation of adolescents
The methodology of the workshops was play-based/fun-based??, participatory and inclusive. It involved the participation and voices of adolescents of both sexes, adolescents from rural areas, pregnant adolescent girls, and members of the educational community counselling bodies, as well as adolescents outside of the school system, adults, and personnel from the institutions, all of whom openly expressed their opinions about the issue and proposals for preventing it.
“Three work groups were organized: one with adults, one with a group of adolescent girls and another with adolescent boys,” explained MIFAN technician, ?????. “Each of them was asked the same through play-based/fun-based?? activities, such as the problem tree and the cabbage activity, among others. The interesting thing was the diversity of opinions.”
The opinions of both the adults and the adolescents allowed an analysis of the causes and of the risk and protecting factors in the prevention and response to adolescent pregnancy. In addition, protecting factors were identified that families and communities should enhance in order for adolescents to develop their full potential and avoid becoming mothers and fathers at an early age.
In the coming months, MIFAN will present the systematization of this experience, including the main findings that will contribute to advocacy with decision makers in order to implement the policy for the prevention of and response to adolescent pregnancy.
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Olga Moraga, Communication Specialist, UNICEF Nicaragua email@example.com.