The first ever World Contraception Day was organized in Cambodia by a group of young people in order to raise awareness about teenage pregnancy and correct misconceptions about the use of contraceptives and family planning among young people. A series of activities, both off-line and online, were held, including a flash mob dance, a concert, quiz, press conference, distribution of leaflets and IEC materials, short clips from celebrities, posts on the facebook page and workshops. Although the total fertility rate for women of reproductive age has sharply declined in the last decade, pregnancy rate among girls aged 15-19 has increased from 8% in 2010 to 12% in 2014. Approximately 1 in 8 Cambodian women have become mothers or are currently pregnant with their first child.
On World Contraception Day, about 300 students met and discussed with experts about teenage pregnancy, family planning methods, benefits of using contraception as well as commonly encountered side-effects. Understanding sexual reproductive health and rights and where to access reliable services for family planning will change the mindsets of young people about contraception. As a result youth will adopt healthy sexual behaviours that bring positive impacts for communities and economies.
Young people showed high interest during a plenary discussion at the workshop. They had a chance to clarify their concerns about teenage pregnancy, misconceptions and side-effects of contraceptives. About three fourths of participants expressed their excitement to attend the workshop and to have the opportunity to interact with expertise speakers about sexual and reproductive health issues. Experts from the Ministry of Health and donor agencies including UNFPA, USAID, PSK, MSI Cambodia and Bayer Company not only elaborated on their strategies to reduce maternal mortality and address youth sexual reproductive health and rights, but also emphasized the importance of family planning and how it can help to improve the living standards of everyone.