In Madagascar, shows and quizzes to spread the messages on sexual health

“We do not touch the children’s zézette, or their buttocks!” No one should ever touch that, get it? »Explains a puppet to his daughter. In the public of this disadvantaged district of Ambohipo, we laugh, we frown, we also discover. Because if the representation seems childish, in Madagascar, 36% of girls under 18 are already pregnant or mothers of at least one child. Early pregnancies due to the very low level of comprehensive sexuality education.

Powerful music, themed shows, quizzes and prizes up for grabs: an ideal cocktail to attract a crowd and make sure the message hits home. Meltine, 40, who was passing by with her children, has just attended the puppet show designed by ASOS (Action socio-santé organization relief). The theme of the day: gender-based violence. She ensures that in the event of a rape situation in her home, she will now have the keys to act. “I will ask my child questions to find out what the rapist did to him. Then I will go see the head of the neighborhood to tell him and I will file a complaint with the police. I will not let go until the person is in jail, ”she assures us.

Basics not necessarily acquired
She walks away, delighted with her morning. She also just won a bucket, condoms and soap after correctly answering a quiz on sexually transmitted diseases. Further away, facing the stage, 17-year-old Elinah listens attentively to the speakers, along with two of her friends. Sexually active since she was 15, she has just learned the function of the condom this morning. “They explained that the condom is to protect girls and boys from AIDS. It also allows couples to avoid early pregnancy. And that I didn’t know before today, ”she admits.

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Bases, far from being assimilated by everyone therefore, which are systematically repeated during these events, explains Céline Lesavre, the Sexual and Reproductive Health coordinator at Médecins du monde. “These sensitizations are really to remind people how you get pregnant and that it can happen at any time, that contraception is the ideal tool to fight against these early and unwanted pregnancies which have consequences and impacts on the very important individual and societal level. And above all, spread the message that there are public health centers that are available to provide free contraception suitable for all, ”she explains.

Information very often ignored by the population. Today, only 41% of Malagasy people use a modern method of contraception.