Tell us about the community that you engage? eg. economic conditions, political structures, norms and values, demographic trends, history, and experience with engagement efforts.
Burkina Faso's population is predominantly young. According to the 2006 RGPH (General Census of Population and Housing), those less than 20 years old make up 57% of the total population. Adolescents and young women aged 10-24 constitute 31% of the total population and are its poorest segment.
Young people generally face the same health problems as adults but with more acuity because of social, biological, psychological, environmental, and economic factors. Thus, the main health problems of youth are the following:
- Early and unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions;
- Alcoholism, smoking and drug abuse;
- Harmful traditional practices like female circumcision that continue despite the many-sided efforts undertaken. According to the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) 2003, in the age bracket 15-49, almost three-fourths (75%) of the female population have been circumcised;
- Food and nutritional deficiencies affect children aged 2-10 as wells as high school students;
- Endemic and epidemic diseases such as dracunculiasis, onchocerciasis, the resurgence of tuberculosis due to AIDS;
- Forced and early marriages.
The SRH (sexual and reproductive health) of young people remains a concern. According to DHS-II, one quarter of adolescents aged 15-19 had a child or were having their first pregnancy at the time of the survey.
Early sexual activity and insufficient access to appropriate services, stemming from ignorance, lack of resources, and social inhibitions (fear, embarrassment, the absence of communication with parents, and even among young people), lead not only to the risks of STIs and AIDS already mentioned but also to increasingly more cases of early pregnancy and/or unwanted abortions. Still according to DHS III:
- 52.4% in the survey have already had at least one sexual encounter;
- 56.5% of sexually active young people have never used a contraceptive method;
- 41.6% of girls in the sample and 24% of those who go to youth centers have had at least one abortion.
A 1998 CRESAR study found that 31% of aborted births were induced, of which 50% were by adolescents. At the Yalgado National Hospital Center 15.6% of the maternal deaths are results of abortion. Those who have abortions are for the most part adolescents or young women ranging in age from 16-24 years old.
At the Sanou Sourou Regional Hospital Center, 37% of maternal deaths are due to illegal abortions and more than half are adolescents.
In 2009, at the CHUYO teaching hospital in the capital city Ouagadougou, 284 adolescents and youth aged 15-24 were treated for abortion complications, 150 said they had induced their abortions.
Young people are particularly vulnerable to alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. The average age of first use of alcohol is 14 and urban youth are most affected.
Suicides, usually due to unwanted pregnancies and unhappy love matches, are another cause of youth mortality.
Young people are confronted with other equally important issues that affect their health and development. These include:
- Generational conflict,
- Family breakdown,
- Leaving school,
- Early and forced marriages.
Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project
Bagnomboé BAKIONO made an early commitment to solving the problems of youth. In 1994, while still a college student, he and a group of friends created the Association for the Promotion of African Youth and Development (APJAD). This association came at a time when talk about sex or sexuality was taboo, especially in a university environment. He had to swim against the tide to continually give youth information at a time when the voices of youth were not valued. Having gained confidence from that work, he went on to develop the framework for meetings and discussion with state authorities. He knocked on many doors carrying an initiative to create a strong youth organization that would speak on behalf of all youth. In 2000, he went to the FDA (Foundation for the Development of Africa) and worked to adopt an initiative for the establishment of a network of youth against AIDS as a gateway to reach all of the other development issues concerning youth. By 2001 this initiative had the approval of the development partners, and in that year the RAJS/BF was created to promote youth leadership