A Business Man Becomes a Champion of AYSRH
MPPR's community engagement in Adolescent and Youth Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (AYSRHR) Action Planning transform many ordinary citizens into capable and enthusiastic leaders in communities. One such example was U Than Htun. He was a business man in a township in Southern Shan who had a teenage daughter but never really thought seriously about the issue of AYSRHR. When he was invited to the township action planning meeting, he initially had little interest in the topic. However, after listening to MPPR's talk about rising teenage pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and a high maternal mortality rate among young girls, he realized the matter was serious. He began to ask questions such as "how is this relevant to our township?" When group work started, he became actively involved and led discussions on what they can do to protect their children from unwanted pregnancies while nurturing their development. Under his leadership, his group provided numerous inputs to identify actionable issues related to AYSRHR.
He pointed out that there had been no discussions on this issue in the past, and that this was the first time to openly talk about AYSRH for him. He noted that in his village, many young people were arranged to marry and have 2 or 3 children before reaching 20 years old. He encouraged people to "urgently take actions and provide sexual and reproductive health education in villages". He became active so much that he was made one of three facilitators to represent the community and business leaders in a larger joint workshop. There, he enthusiastically led the discussions once again, and guided the group in the selection of indicators and strategy development in the workshop. He even committed his personal resources saying that "since I grew up in this township, I will donate funds to solve this issue and take actions according to our plans. This town is one of the tourist attractions in Myanmar, and we want our township to be a good model." He volunteered himself to be a member of Township Task Force Committee and is actively helping to implement township action plans that they have developed together with the township health team.