Marta Eusebio Bambo, a 17-year-old adolescent, lives with her mother Isaura Nhabete and two siblings in Mavila community, Zavala district in Inhambane province, Mozambique. Isaura was always willing to discuss with her daughter Marta about her dreams and ambitions, however, she found it difficult to address issues related to sexuality.
Both Isaura and Marta participated in community dialogues, implemented in their community by the Kusingata project which is financed by Aidsfonds. The community dialogue activity includes seven interactive weekly sessions, each lasting about two hours, during which different themes are presented by a community facilitator and discussed in the group. The aim of the dialogues in this project is to raise awareness and sensitize the community members and community leaders about topics such as: gender norms; family planning; prevention, testing and treatment of HIV, with a special focus on prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and the importance of testing and treating children of mothers who live with HIV. The dialogues also discuss the rights and responsibilities of health care users and aim to increase the use of health services through provision of information and referrals, based on the participants’ individual needs.
Isaura and Marta said that participation in the community dialogue activity broke the barrier of discussing sexual and reproductive health in their family, and after that they were able to talk freely about these topics.
"Of all the themes of the community dialogue sessions, I liked most the ones about sexuality and family planning. This allowed me to break the taboo to talk about these topics, and I was motivated to discuss with my daughter, because I had a bad experience with my older daughter, who had an unintended pregnancy. She was abandoned by her partner, and as I did not want the same to happen with Marta, I decided to advise her to use contraceptive methods. I want to make sure my daughter has a healthy life, advising her to prevent early pregnancy, HIV and sexually transmitted infections," Isaura said.
Her daughter Marta agreed: "After the conversation I had with my mother, I was very happy that she advised me to avoid unintended pregnancy and prevent diseases by using contraceptives. Before, my mother only talked to me about school, but now she discusses with me also other subjects and that is good. After the conversation with my mother, following our participation in the community dialogue sessions, I accepted and wanted the referral provided in the sessions for consultation at the youth-friendly health services in the health facility, because I want to guarantee my future at school and also take care of my health".
Marta continued: “Participating in the community dialogue sessions provided me great benefits. I received friendly care in the health facility, and now I feel prepared to plan my pregnancy without haste and give priority to my studies. And I encourage my friends to participate in the community dialogue activity, because it is like a second school in life, through which we learn many things that help us in our development."
This is an example of how the community dialogue activity has a positive influence on adolescents and parents. Equipped with the information they receive during the sessions, they are able to make positive changes in their lives and receive the health services they need, in order to improve their health and quality of life.