Project Lead(s): Juliana Pena
Teenage pregnancy in Sierra Leone exceeds 25 percent, often caused by sexual and gender-based violence, prostitution or early marriage. Pregnant teens face stigma, compounded by a lack of emotional support leading to high rates of depression, anxiety, malnutrition and substance abuse. Half of all female teenage deaths are pregnancy related.
This project combines livelihood support with mental health and psychological support, delivered using mobile technology, and social outreach by “community influencers” dedicated to improving the reproductive health and mental well-being of pregnant teenagers, newborns and adolescent boys. Training and sensitization will be conducted by pairing social workers with traditional healers and religious leaders, who will together lead peer groups.
Text messaging will be used to gather data, educate community leaders, and provide support to pregnant teens. Support will be provided to form babysitting cooperatives and other financially sustainable livelihood programming.