IAWG members are addressing sexual and reproductive rights during COVID-19 humanitarian response. Read More>>

Youth-Led, Youth-Run, Youth-Serving: Community-based Organization Uplifts SRH for Youth in Goma and Beyond

The leaders of tomorrow are leading today in Goma. The Youth Alliance for Reproductive Health Democratic Republic of Congo (YARH DRC) is a grassroots organization of youth who want to create communities that uplift and empower adolescents through sexual and reproductive health education.

YARH DRC seeks to remove barriers preventing young Congolese from accessing essential sexual and reproductive health (SRH) education and services, particularly focused on sexually transmitted diseases, early pregnancy, sexual and reproductive rights, and child marriage. Based in Goma, the organization’s commitment to serving youth reflects estimates that approximately 60% of the country is younger than age 25, making it one of the youngest countries in the world.

YARH DRC primarily works with and through community schools by connecting YARH DRC’s team of peer educators with youth.

“Young people feel better when getting information and services from…our young team.”

Dr. Binezero Mambo Simo

Co-founder and Coordinator

In addition to peer-to-peer discussions, YARH DRC convenes virtual discussions, community workshops, and panels.

As a key success from 2020 – the organization’s first full year of operation, according to Dr. Simon – the organization held a virtual, community fundraiser in support of an orphanage in Goma. YARH DRC maximized the funds collected and held a sensitization workshop addressing puberty and early pregnancy in adolescents. Menstrual hygiene products and food were also provided for the adolescent girls at the orphanage, added Dr. Simon.

ASRH-focused programming is complemented by leadership and social change-focused workshops targeted at increasing access to opportunities as antidotes to unemployment and poverty.

Outside of youth-facing programming, YARH DRC advocates more broadly for ASRH access and services in regions of the DRC affected by conflict. Their website is designed as a hub for hard-to-reach adolescents, particularly in the North Kivu region, to access evidence-based information regarding their bodies, sexuality, and support services. The organization also undertakes data collection and reporting with an eye toward increasing the database for SRH in DRC.

“We aim to live in a society where every young person is able to make life choices fully backed by the availability of sexual and reproductive health and rights information and services,” said Dr. Simon.

YAHR DRC Invites You to Follow their Work

Sexual and reproductive health services remain critical during COVID-19

IAWG members and partners are producing clinical and programmatic guidance, assessments, policy papers, and statements to ensure continued prioritization of sexual and reproductive health and rights throughout COVID-19 response in humanitarian settings.