Well-nourished women are healthier; they also have safer pregnancies and deliver healthier babies – protecting their lives and the lives and futures of their infants.
Tabora, the largest and most remote region of Tanzania, is home to more than 400,000 adolescent girls who experience low socio-economic status and lack of agency due to existing traditional gender and age-based norms that hinder their demand for SRH and nutrition services and perpetuate gender disparities. Gender-based discrimination and violence, including early and forced marriage of girls, transactional sex, misconceptions about the use of contraceptive methods, as well as myths and social norms related to certain foods to eat and/or avoid, are some of the cultural and gender beliefs reported by adolescents and their key influencers.
Sexual and reproductive health and nutrition are interconnected and mutually reinforcing. Inadequate nutrition before, during and after pregnancy increases the risk of malnutrition for adolescent girls and contributes to poor pregnancy outcomes. This is of particular concern in Tabora where of girls aged 15-19 have already begun childbearing. Furthermore, the prevalence of anaemia among women a of reproductive age (15-49 years) is 34.5%, which is associated with maternal and perinatal mortality. Gender-based violence is also rampant in the region, with 71% of married women aged 15-49 having experienced physical, sexual or emotional violence committed by their husband/partner, and 54.3% of women aged 15-49 reporting having experienced physical violence since the age of 15.