Save the Children Philippines launched today a groundbreaking set of books tackling adolescent rights and reproductive health issues penned and illustrated by teenagers themselves.
This set of books consists of 30 titles—six of which to be published in June—address timely issues faced by Filipino teens such as teenage pregnancy, gender-based violence and early marriage. The books were selected through a story writing competition in 2015 for primary and high school students in Quezon City and South Central Mindanao.
In Southeast Asia, Philippines has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancies. Save the Children cited the 2013 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study (YAFS) which reveals that teenage pregnancy incidence has doubled in the last decade: from 6.3% in 2002 to 13.6% in 2013. Results of the 2013 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) indicate that one in ten young Filipino girls aged 15-19 has begun childbearing.
“Through these books, we aim to empower inform and empower youth as well as contribute to the Philippine Government’s Adolescent Youth and Development Program’s overall goal of addressing adolescent sexual and reproductive health,” according to Ned Olney, Country Director of Save the Children Philippines.
Along with the book launch today, an exhibit was staged at The Elements Centris in Quezon City, featuring the covers of the 30 illustrated books, with some young artists coming all the way from South Cotabato and Sarangani.
“Teenagers nowadays are very much exposed to modernity and technology. They are very curious in exploring their sexuality, which can sometimes lead to making rushed decisions,” says Rose Marie Canonaso, one of the finalists from Quezon City.
“My story may be short, but I know it will have an impact on the lives of others, and hopefully they open their hearts for acceptance,” Edrian, one of the winners, says.
The storybook collection is made possible through the support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
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About Save the Children
Save the Children Philippines is part of the global Save the Children movement working in over 120 countries. Present in the country for over three decades, Save the Children delivers programs for Filipino children which gives them a better education and easier access to healthcare, supports them during emergencies while also educating communities on disaster preparedness.
Save the Children has been advocating for policies and holistic programs and projects for mothers, children and their families. We do this by training frontline health and nutrition workers on live-saving care for newborns and their mothers, promoting exclusive breastfeeding, managing community and school-based health and nutrition programs and promoting reproductive health to adolescents. Our work also includes making families more food secure and resilient, for example to natural disaster, by working with governments and other partners to generate alternative incomes and grow nutritious food.