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Friday, 12th April 2019

International Women's Day: Meet Tsinjo

By Nicole Axford

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Tsinjo at the International Conference on Family Planning in Rwanda (2018)

“I admire every single young woman leader who (has) achieved small but meaningful change in their communities. No matter how old they are, they are aware that they are agents of change. From a very remote rural area to a very high-level position, there is always a woman who tries her best for women’s voices to be heard since our voices matter.”

This International Women’s Day, SEED Madagascar is celebrating the vivacity of Malagasy women by showcasing individuals that have demonstrated individual strength and inspired change in their communities. One of these #WomenOfSEED is Tsinjo, the Project Coordinator of Project Safidy, SEED Madagascar’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) project. As Coordinator, she manages the project at both the national level, with the implementation of SRHR in the new high school National Curriculum and setting up an SRHR network, and at the regional level, supporting staff to achieve targets, problem-solve and maintain relationships with partner organisations and ministries.

A passionate advocate for SRHR education, Tsinjo emphasises that SRHR is a right. “A right for all young people to enjoy: right to access information and services… SRHR education helps young people to tackle gender issues and discriminations”. For Tsinjo, this passion for youth empowerment as well as defying age and gender stereotypes have developed over time and through many influencers. As a teenager, it was the Spice Girls who inspired her and her friends to dance in public, despite their age and gender differences. Later it was the Girl Scout Association, which she joined at 19, who showed her what young people are capable of and ignited the spark inside her to begin actively advocating.

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Tsinjo at International Women's Day celebrations in Fort Dauphin

She admits being a young woman in power can be challenging, especially when trying to express her voice in regions that are still heavily patriarchal and view her as ‘too young’.  This only reinforced her commitment to youth advocacy. At times, she finds it hard to strike the balance between her home and work life. “Being a leader and a wife at the same time is not easy. It requires [a] flexible mindset. At the office, we could be a manager, mentor and coach but at home, we are advisor and counsellor”. However, Tsinjo wouldn’t have it any other way.

SEED Madagascar projects, like Project Safidy, would not run as effectively without the effort and dedication of remarkable women who work tirelessly in order to improve health outcomes in their communities. We are proud to name Tsinjo as one of our #WomenOfSEED and thank her for all the incredible work she has done for SEED Madagascar.