Teenage pregnancy disproportionately affects populations in the lower socioeconomic levels: girls and adolescents who are in the lowest wealth quintile report 18.4% more incidence in pregnancies than those in the highest quintile, according to the Colombian Family Welfare Institute.
Nowadays, it is recognized as one of the main factors that perpetuate poverty in middle- and low-income countries: its social, economic and medical consequences have a significant impact on the life quality of both the young woman and her child, as well as on the well-being of her family and community.
Our main objective is breaking the poverty cycles of adolescent mothers. In order to achieve it, we have designed and implemented a comprehensive model that offers health care services, education, job training and employment opportunities, so that the young women know and exercise their rights, acquire emotional intelligence and independence, fully participate in society, and generate decent and stable income to overcome their poverty situation. In this way, they create cycles of well-being for their children, families and communities as well.
In addition, we prevent subsequent pregnancies in this type of population, which is highly likely to have a second pregnancy, through education and promotion of sexual and reproductive rights. A study by Universidad de los Andes and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that 20% of Colombian adolescents become pregnant for the second time between 7 and 14 months after the first birth and 33% within the 14 and 24 following months. In other words, 53% of adolescents who have a child, have a second child in a period of 2 years. This implies higher social and economic costs, as well as a zero probability of overcoming the poverty situation. Meanwhile, 99.7% of our beneficiaries do not get pregnant again in the 6-7 years after our intervention.
In this way, we change cultural paradigms, break harmful patterns and save the Colombian health system 45,279,999 pesos (14,157 dollars) for every adolescent pregnancy avoided.
So far, we have transformed the reality of more than 250,000 people: we have worked with 4,326 young women in Cartagena and 250 in Medellín, and their children, families and communities have also benefited through our intervention programs.
Our actions are oriented to goals 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, and 1.5 of the END OF POVERTY Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).