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"At 15 years old, I became pregnant whilst in grade nine. For the three years that followed, from 2015 to 2018, I was not able to go to school, because I had to take care of my baby. This depressed me.

However, I did not lose hope. In 2018, I finally went back to school, but this time around in grade seven. I could not continue to grade nine because my examination number had expired. But this did not discourage me. I worked hard, passed my exams and proceeded to grade eight. I was extremely happy.

One day, whilst at the hospital for under-5 clinic, I saw posters of youth friendly services. I got interested and later asked if I could join the young people that I saw receiving and sharing information with their friends at the hospital. In 2021, I applied to be a volunteer peer educator, and was subsequently invited to attend a training for peer educators at Lukulu District Hospital.

The training was fulfilling. I learnt a lot of things about teenage pregnancy, family planning, HIV and STIs, among many other topics. I am now a qualified peer educator! Whenever school lessons end, I am always eager to walk to the hospital to facilitate training sessions on various topics around sexual and reproductive health. I have also continued with my education, and now in grade ten. When I complete my education, I want to become a nurse so that I can continue helping young people, especially adolescent girls, to access the information and services they need to prevent unplanned pregnancies and achieve their dreams" - narrates Nampaka, from rural Lukulu District in Western Province.

With funding from the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), UNFPA continues to support ongoing efforts by the Government of Zambia and partners, to improve adolescent health outcomes in Western and Central Provinces, through the Family Planning and Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (FP-ASRH) Programme. Through partners such as the Planned Parenthood Association of Zambia (PPAZ), the programme has so far reached over 87,304 adolescents with a standard package of adolescent friendly sexual and reproductive services.

“The most rewarding thing about being a peer educator is being able to help my fellow girls overcome some of the challenges they face, including limited access to information on the prevention of teenage pregnancy, which I did not have when I became a young mother. This is why I love being a peer educator” concludes Nampaka with a smile.