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  • Writer's pictureTahiry Anjarasoa

‘How was school?’ Hop into a PJL partner school to find out.

We’re heading to the middle school in Imito, a small village surrounded by rice fields in Madagascar’s Amoron’i Mania region.

The school serves 517 students, many of whom walk or bike up to 5 kilometers each way to get to school.

We added Imito as one of Projet Jeune Leader's partner schools in 2021.

At Imito, PJL Educator Lanja teaches a year-long, timetabled comprehensive sexuality education course, leads afterschool activities, offers confidential counseling sessions, and organizes engagement activities for parents and teachers.

As we’ve heard from our constituents, though, that’s just the start of his impact.

When we first met the principal of Imito middle school, she was highly enthusiastic about our program, but had one concern: “Kids won’t take it seriously.” Within a few months, those fears were allayed: “Usually during this time of the school year, there are already 20 or more students that have dropped out. But this first trimester, there has been a major decrease. It’s probably because of the presence of the PJL Educator. They help keep the kids in school. They motivate students to learn.”

“I’ve become more engaged and take in lessons easier,” says 6th grader Anjara.

“And I am excited to go to school, especially on Wednesday mornings because that’s when my PJL class is.” Lanja’s impact as an Educator starts with the tangible support, knowledge, and services he provides, but ultimately, he is driving transformations in school culture and educational outcomes.

This impact doesn’t end at the school gate: Lanja is also known and respected in the community at large.

He lives full-time in the school’s community, and his daily interactions with parents outside school grounds are fundamental for building sustained trust and support. He also engages parents in more formal ways, including through workshops on communication and adolescent development. “Parents really end up trusting the PJL Educator after their workshops with us. Many come to us afterwards, and ask us to look after their child, to help guide their child,” Lanja explains. “It’s one of the things about my work that I am most proud of.”

Although our core program is school-based, we have increasingly seen that our Educators play a critical role in rural communities to engage parents, strengthen adolescent-parent relationships, and foster linkages between school and home.

Imito had never experienced comprehensive sexuality education before Projet Jeune Leader. Despite this, sexuality education has become one of their highest priorities.

Why? Because they see that Lanja is highly specialized, professional, and effective, and they see how his work strengthens the school system, engages parents with respect, and improves adolescents’ health and education. “We parents thank you PJL Educators because you help our children,” one parent wrote to us. “Recently, we have seen that our child has changed because of the education you provide and the way you teach. We are grateful for that.”

This grassroots support—from parents, school principals, and kids themselves—fuels our growth.

Naina, an Educator at nearby Zanabahona school, captured it best: “No matter where you go, kids recognize the PJL Educator. People and kids who do not directly participate in Projet Jeune Leader call out and say, ‘We want to do Projet Jeune Leader!’” Naina, Lanja, and their fellow PJL Educators are not only touching students’ lives and their respective schools, but they are inspiring demand and support for comprehensive sexuality education across Madagascar.

Dive deeper into our work in action at Imito and neighboring schools below!


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