Geneviève Doukoya, a 22-year-old student at the University of Maroua, Cameroon, started on the road to a healthier life four years ago when she picked up an issue of 100%Jeune, a magazine created by youth for youth, addressing sexual and reproductive health issues.
About 35 percent of girls in Cameroon aged 15-24 face unwanted pregnancies and 3 percent of youth in that age group have HIV.1 The situation is aggravated by lack of dialog between children and parents about sexual and reproductive health, early marriage, rape and poverty.
But the 100%Jeune magazine inspired Geneviève. “When I finished reading that copy, it was like my eyes were opened. I started to see all of the dangers surrounding me,” she said. “I want to become a great woman, and I don’t want anything to hinder me from achieving that goal.”
The magazine is one component the 100%Jeune project, which includes a youth radio show, website and Réglo Clubs – groups of secondary school students working together to talk to their friends about safer sex and reproductive health. The project is implemented by PSI/ Cameroon with support from KfW, the German government’s development bank.
100%Jeune has reached more than 3.9 million youth, just like Geneviève. Through the skills gained from the project, Geneviève has begun communicating with her parents on sensitive issues and knows how to avoid unwanted pregnancies, prevent sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, and use both a female and male condom.
Geneviève also has been tested for HIV. “Doing the test has been one of the greatest challenges of my Réglo life. But I had to do it in order to feel secure and to encourage my friends,” she says. “Now, I’m more careful than ever before.”
In December 2011, Geneviève was awarded the 1st national prize for youth leadership by the Regional Forum of Youth of Central Africa in the Fight against AIDS.
“100%Jeune has changed me,” she says. “It has had a positive impact on my sexual life, and on the lives of my relatives.”
– PSI Author: Agnès Aurore Balep, Editor, 100%Jeune Magazine, PSI/Cameroon; Martine Laurette Moguem, Assistant Editor, 100%Jeune Magazine, PSI/Cameroon; Rose Walsh, Program Assistant, West & Central Africa, Washington, D.C.