Developing a just society based on equity and equal opportunities for all with respect for diversity.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Making a Difference

Team RAINS volunteers with the students in Zokuga

One of our main focuses in the Safe Choices Project with RAINS is Children. We know how important it is to teach them things that they might not have learnt yet and give them access to knowledge about sexual health. We do this through Children's Community Clubs. So far we have established these clubs in 3 of the 5 communities we work with and hope to establish them in even more communities as time goes on. Our sustainability goal is that one day the Peer Educators in each community will learn how to run these clubs on their own.

Team RAINS made the first trip this cohort to Zokuga last Thursday. We were holding a Children’s Community Club where we would discuss STIs and teenage pregnancy. A number of clubs have been held in Zokuga by previous cohorts.

We arrived at a beautiful school where we were greeted by the Headmaster and the Community Volunteers. The children, who all looked around 15 years old, were waiting for us under a tree so we began right away. We began with a drama and a presentation on STIs.

From our experience in other communities, we expected them to already be fairly knowledgeable on the topics we were discussing. Therefore, we were very surprised that most of the children could only name one STI (HIV) and many didn’t know what a condom was. We realised then that we could teach these children some very valuable lessons that could help them protect themselves from diseases and unwanted pregnancy.
RAINS volunteer Latifah speaking to the students
When we moved on to teenage pregnancy, the children were much more knowledgeable on this topic. They discussed issues such as peer pressure, girls having to drop out of education and the health issues which can occur when someone young and not fully developed becomes pregnant.

The girls were very concerned about what they call ‘Kayayee’. This is when a girl is sent to the city to work with the expectation that she will send money home. Work is hard to get and badly paid so many turn to prostitution and fall pregnant. Some of the girls from Zokuga are forced to do this by their family while they should still be in school.

We also conducted some interviews with the community volunteers who take on the roles of Peer Educators and Non-Traditional Condom Distributors (NTCDs). Peer Educators are the go-to people for anyone who has questions about sexual health. The NTCDs are people who distribute condoms to the community. They often work as barbers or seamstresses or other roles where they regularly interact with the general public. This is so people can go to them discretely. 

We found that the community volunteers here are very pro-active. Providing people all over the community with essential information about sexual health. The NTCDs are even providing condoms beyond Zokuga to people in the surrounding communities. We were really pleased to hear about the progress they have made so far. This only shows us how a little bit of hard work can pay off and bit by bit we are helping make changes in these communities. We cannot wait to continue our work with Zokuga and more communities so that we can keep making changes and educating people!
Volunteers Linda and Rebecca speaking to the Peer Educators in Zokuga
Written by Katie Mullen

No comments:

Post a Comment