SCEFI Emblematic Stories on Empowering Teen Mothers in Vuda District
The issue of teenage pregnancies in Fiji is rarely discussed in community forums, even as the Health Ministry acknowledges that teenage pregnancies are on the rise. Young single mothers are vulnerable to poverty and social exclusion. Sound public policies on sexual and reproductive health which target young people are a matter of critical importance. In 2014 with assistance from UNDP’s Strengthening Citizen Engagement in Fiji Initiative (SCEFI), community health workers from the Viseisei Sai Health Centre in Ba province initiated a project to empower 33 single mothers with information and skill building in two villages of Vuda district. All mothers who participated in the initiative were unemployed. Using a holistic approach that included engagement of several stakeholders, including government ministries, the project imparted life-changing information to teen mothers, helped them form support groups, and open up possibilities for concerted action towards their welfare.