Photo by @christian_foto ( Christian Rodriguez )
You can see this story in @natgeo magazine’s February issue.
Through the TEEN MOM project, regarding our work with the epidemic of adolescent pregnancy in Latin America, we wish to share with the world not simply the problems at hand, but also their solutions. "Bebé, piénsalo bien" (Baby, Think it over) is an educational program which was created with the intention of bringing sexual and reproductive education to young people by spreading awareness about pregnancy and family planning. For one week during school, students receive valuable sexual and reproductive health education by taking care of robot babies which imitate the behaviors of a five month old infant. They must tend to their basic needs by feeding them, changing their diapers, alleviating their stomach pains, and calming them down when they cry. These babies represent 7 different ethnicities (Caucasian, American Indian, Hispanic, light skinned and dark skinned African American, Asian, and Japanese). I followed various students as they completed this assignment by taking care of their own robot baby, and saw firsthand the way this experience greatly heightened their awareness and thinking towards having children at a young age.
One thing which caught my attention was just how much the value and importance of this program was emphasized, as the students’ performance in this project had an effect on their grades for the rest of the school year.
One of the homework assignments that the students had to complete, which was part of the family planning portion, was to figure out the costs of all the necessities for their baby, such as diapers and formula. This, to me, seemed to be a very interesting way to convey the various difficulties that come with having a child at a young age.
Without a doubt, education is key to breaking the cycles of teen pregnancy. This program has demonstrated great success, reducing the rates of adolescent parenthood by nearly 35% in the areas in which it is used. To get to know more about the TEEN MOM project, follow @christian_foto.
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