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The​ ​youth​ ​centre​ ​of​ ​Tsihombe:​ ​A​ ​step towards​ ​the​ ​demographic​ ​dividend!

The comments are unanimous! The youth centre of Tsihombe is a saving place for the youth of this rural town of Androy region, located at 1,032 km from the capital, which can be reached in 18 hours by car, using a 4x4 as the best means. Free expression of a rural youth is often forgotten but forming an integral part of the engine for reaching the demographic dividend. 

While attending a basketball game that was taking place on the new court of the "Tafara Maroroke" youth facility in Tsihombe, offered by UNFPA Madagascar, we gathered the testimony of 3 young women, all of them living in the rural community of Tsihombe. 

Ulla, 19 years old, in Terminale class

My name is Ulla, I am 19 years old and I am in my last year of high school. "This youth centre is really the pride of Tsihombe. This is the first time that we, the young people of this area, have such a good infrastructure. Without hesitation, I can say that yes, it will change the lives of the young people in my community. If, for lack of recreation, it is usual for young people to use alcohol and drugs, they just hang out and destroy each other, now we can come to this centre. Now we can learn music and do sports on an infrastructure that is up to standard. I also attended training for young peer educators on how to educate young people about the dangers of STIs, HIV AIDS, sexual relations and early pregnancy. The information I have received is not being taught to us at school, and I am proud to be able to share it with young people my age so that they can adopt a more responsible sexual behaviour and be able make the link between sexual transmitted infection, their behaviour and the success of their future. We have already started to raise awareness and young people are quite receptive. The promise I am going to make: I will do my best to educate as many young people as possible about sexual health and addictions, and get them to make frequent visits to this centre, which offers a new opportunity for the young people of Tsihombe! " 

Coralie, 19, in First Class

"I am very happy with the existence of this Youth centre in Tsihombe! I like to sing and play basketball and here, I think that our voices have finally been heard! In my opinion, this youth centre will change the lives of young people in this municipality because we now have a recreational and information infrastructure. Having participated in the training on how to effectively communicate with young people about sexual and reproductive health. I am aware of the issue myself. And when you see that most of the girls in my area are already pregnant by the age of 14, I think that now I have my role to play so that other girls do not have to go through the same issues and that young boys have more responsible behaviours. My goal now, and surely that of the young peer educators that have been trained, is to make sure that the young people of Tsihombe return to the right path, no longer tend towards unhealthy behaviours (drugs, alcohol, unprotected sex, ...), and we will rely on the existence of this youth centre to make it happen. I can tell you that it will not be easy but at the same time I can also count on the support of my parents who encourage me in this step even though talking about sexuality is still a taboo." 

Tiana Lalaina, 30 years old, teacher 

"I'm really happy! Happy now that the youth of Tsihombe can have a recreational centre that put them back in the right path and adopt healthy behaviour. It is sad to see such talented youth who are addicted to alcohol, tobacco or drugs because of lack of leisure in our community. The consequences are devastating with our young girls who get pregnant too early and are forced to drop out of school. Today, we are already beginning to see the results of this Youth Centre. At the sports tournament organised before this inauguration, we were seeing more and more young people come to support their friends who were participating instead of going to bars, and a handful of youngsters also beginning to learn to play basketball and volleyball. I am, once again, optimistic about the future of the youth of our area and particularly wish to thank the Ministry of Youth and UNFPA for this action which is the pride of our village."