Addressing the Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs of Young People Working on Flower Farms Through Outreach

Addressing the Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs of Young People Working on Flower Farms Through Outreach 1

In Ethiopia, floriculture is an emerging industry with promising economic prospects for the country. The labor demands of the industry have attracted a workforce of primarily young people between the ages of 18 to 30 years old, of which more than 80% are female and most have completed at least a secondary level of education. The predominantly young industry, both in terms of workforce and its economic growth, has a workforce with poor SRH outcomes, and low levels of SRH awareness and knowledge. 

In one of the Yes I DO Alliance (YIDA) project’s target districts, Bahir-Dar Zuria, there are three flower farms the project works with: Tana Flora at Wonjeta kebele, TAL Flower Farm at Yinesa kebele, and Ethio Agrisafe at Robit kebele.  Together, these flower farms employ 1,459 (974 females) young workers. Many of the young workers have come from rural areas in pursuit of work opportunities. They come to the flower farms with little knowledge on sexual and reproductive health (SRH), and lack adequate access to SRH information and services. The demanding work environment often prevents them from even seeking care from health professionals within health facilities. In 2018 alone, there were 10 unintended pregnancies and three suicides due to unwanted pregnancies reported at Tana Flora.

Tsegereda Muche is a 25-year-old clinical nurse at Tana Flora who supports onsite outreach activities. Tsegerada shared, “the YIDA community outreach program enabled our young workers to have better information and knowledge on key SRH issues.  It has also strengthened the partnership and collaboration between public health facilities and flower farms.” She is optimistic that the existing partnership with the district health office will continue, even after the YIDA project phases out.  Unlike previous periods, Tsegereda served many more young people in the past six months. She provided HIV testing to 81 (58 female) young people and family planning services to 50 young individuals.

Addressing the Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs of Young People Working on Flower Farms Through Outreach 1

Similarly, Wude Endalamaw is a 24-year-old woman working at the Tana Flora flower farm green house. Through YIDA, Wude completed the Community Conversation (CC) facilitators training and went on to facilitate sessions to 20 of her friends and colleagues working in same green house.  

Wude shared, “there were SRH problems on our farm due to lack of information and lack of SRH service availability. Through the CC sessions, we discussed SRH issues such as causes and consequences of unwanted pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, child marriage, and other topics.” She observed that her and her friends did not have the time to go to health facilities and utilize family planning and other SRH services because of their workload and limited time. Through active outreach and onsite service delivery, flower farm workers have the opportunity to protect their SRH. Wude confidently stated, “I currently use family planning and was tested for HIV/AIDS through the YIDA outreach program.”

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