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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

“YAM YAG NINYINO MALIBU”- NO ONE KNOWS IT ALL...




We are at the Regional Advisory Information and Network Systems (RAINS) as International Service volunteers on the International Citizen Service (ICS) working on the “Safe Choices “project which is focused on creating awareness on sexual and reproductive health.  This is to increase or maintain enrollment in schools sited in communities we work in, which are in the northern region of Ghana.

Our Meeting with the Chief Linguist and elders Of Zokuga.
The community sensitization at Zokuga was the first awareness raising activity planned by the team. On 5th May, 2016, the ICS-RAINS team left Tamale for Zokuga which is just about an hour journey .Our first engagement with the community was paying homage to the elders by presenting ‘kolanuts’ which is a customary practice in order to seek permission from the chief to work in his community. We were happily welcomed by the elders on behalf of the chief who was not present then.
 
 
As an ice breaker and drawing the attention of more people to the sensitization centre, we engaged them in a dancing competition. The medium of communication of the people of Zokuga is Dabgani so the whole sensitization was delivered in Dagbani. We were expecting to meet about 100 people but over 250 participants were present. We created four demographic groups (Male and female adults and teen boys and girls) which was a recommendation from the previous cohort.
 Morning session for adults’ started from 10: 45am to 12: 35pm whereas the teenagers’ sessions also began around 1:45pm immediately after afternoon prayers. The team sensitized the people on puberty, contraceptives, teenage pregnancy, sexual consent, relevance of education and misconceptions on sexual health. Both the adults and teenagers were very involved and passionate in the session especially when the condom demonstration begun. This topic attracted massive participation.
A STORY FROM A BENEFICIARY IN ZOKUGA                                                                              
“This is not the first time I am attending an awareness raising event organized by the RAINS-International service volunteers. I have improved my knowledge on puberty and contraceptives during their sensitisations. Teenage pregnancy is an issue that the community frowns upon and the ideas from the team on how to curb teenage pregnancy are great.”

Condom demonstration In Zokuga Community Sensitization.
 
 Most of the adult men and teenagers thought using condom was not the right thing to do and also had the perception that the lubricant in the condom can weaken the male sexual organ. These were some of the misconceptions we cleared  through our awareness raising.  Similar issues were raised at women’s session with more emphasis placed on sexual consent to clear the misconception that the woman cannot say no to her partner when he request sex. The teenagers’ session was very educative and interesting as the team facilitated a discussion on sexual and reproductive health which they already had little knowledge on.
Some of the volunteers engaged the Children in football, volleyball and other activities just to keep them away from our discussions. This was one of the interesting parts of our sensitization, where children were very participative and happy of activities.  


DISCUSSION ON CONTRACEPTIVES WITH THE TEENAGE BOYS OF ZOKUGA.
 
 At the end of the sensitization session, the Non Traditional Condom Distributors (NTCDs) and Peer educators who were already selected and trained in the community were introduced to the members of the community so they could be contacted if need be.  After which questionnaires were administered to see the  impact of the session. The people of Zokuga never wanted us to leave their community, we had to leave for Tamale and the bus left at 4:30pm. There was exchange of ideas between volunteers and community members and this has proved that one individual do not have all the ideas.
 
Actually, the ICS programme is a platform for personal development. This has given me the opportunity to share and learn ideas from team members.  I had the opportunity to stand in front of a community to talk about issues relating to sexual health which is a massive improvement on my communication and presentation skills. This I strongly believe is shaping me to be a better person.    
NAME; YAKUBU ABDUL AZIZ
PROJECT; ‘SAFE CHOICES’
ICS-RAINS VOLUNTEER