- Implementing Agency: Municipality of Carmen, Bohol
- Year Implemented: 2018
The rising case of teenage pregnancy is a concern that has resonated amongst many local leaders. Knowing that the scenario has been existent in the Municipality of Carmen in the Province of Bohol, their Expanded Local Health Board with the leadership of Mayor Ricardo Francisco A. Toribio developed strategies to resolve the problem.
As an innovation, the “Prevent Teen Pregnancy Campaign” was launched in September 2018. Selected high schools in the municipality were identified as implementation sites and slogans bearing powerful messages about the dangers of teenage pregnancy were erected in the schools starting with the public then the private. Eventually, the campaign was extended outside of the four halls of the academe on the request of the townspeople having understood the importance of the campaign and the message it intended to send.
Background and Problem
This innovation is an offshoot of the LGU’s engagement with the Municipal Leadership and Governance Program in 2017. MLGP has become an impetus for Mayor Toribio to be acquainted with the local health system. With the engagement, he conducts “monthly deep dive activities” to different health challenges and immerses himself along with the other local leaders with the current health situation of the municipality.
In his several engagements, the rising cases of teenage pregnancy have alarmed him, hence the call to action from his fellow leaders to start sustainable solutions to the problem. There, the idea of a strong social campaign that aims to appeal at the very core of the human person was developed. The campaign intends to educate, guide and alert the community of the perils of teen pregnancy. Correspondingly, it targets the entire community including the teachers, parents, and the teenagers themselves as they are identified as important stakeholders in combating the problem.
Solution and Impact
Teenage pregnancy has been a worldwide issue, in fact in the latest National Demographic and Health Survey data, around 9% of teenagers aged 15 to 19 years old have been childbearing. The concern resonates with the localities particularly in Carmen, Bohol as there have been a growing number of teens that have been childbearing. This and the perils attached to it have attracted voluminous numbers of social awareness campaigns to combat its continuing occurrence.
The rise in cases can often be attributed with social development issues such as lack of enough and quality education, peer pressure, alcohol and drug abuse, sexual abuse, and family issues. These circumstances have been known to affect the mental, physical, social, psychological and even sexual soundness of the person. Consequently, it endangers the future of our youth. With many predisposing factors that may lead to teen pregnancy, the question that is likely to be asked is what our local leaders intend to impose. This has radiated a strong impulse to cultivate a sustainable solution to the known problem.
As the Municipality of Carmen is not spared, having experienced the same concern, the local leaders have put their best foot forward as they commit to combat the rising cases of teenage pregnancy. True to his commitment when he first saw the perils of teenage pregnancy after the conduct of several deep dives, the municipal government has activated the “Prevent Teen Pregnancy Campaign” wherein education and awareness efforts are the very core of the social crusade. It puts the family and the entire community into action by having appropriate information and education mechanisms galvanized at home and educational institutions. Along with the vision of municipal government, the Expanded Local Health Board (ELHB) along with the local stakeholders joined as they envisioned creating a livable community that offers only the best and ideal environment for the town’s teenagers.
However, there is one remaining battle that calculates the success of this innovation and it is dependent on the acceptance of the townspeople. Today, a year after the launch of the project, there has been a growing demand to expand the implementation of the program harvesting not only acceptance from the community but a strong plea for totally curbing the existence of the problem.
To this day, the municipal government, the ELHB, the stakeholders and everyone in the community continues to aspire to echo the strong impact of social movement in addressing pressing concerns in the community. Congruently, they look at a community wherein the young people are well-educated, informed, and are responsible individuals, in a future where their youth are celebrated and dreams flourish and become reality.
As this practice has just been launched in September 2018, it is still too early to harvest remarkable results. However, it is already notable that there have been small wins. After installing the campaign slogans in schools and public places, school administrators (public and private), and other organizations had signified their intent to be recipients of this innovation highlighting their support and understanding of the importance of the campaign.
Further, it is overwhelming to note that this was recognized as a practice worthy to be emulated by then Bohol Provincial Governor Edgar M. Chatto, in one of his addresses. Today, several municipalities have already replicated the campaign.Future plans include installing the campaign slogans to all public and private schools and strategic places within the municipality. The LGU also eyes the expansion of the campaign towards more meaningful strategies and innovations.