We have slowly started the implementation of the project and now we are at the midway point! During this last month, we met young people in different places (community, youth organization office, university, etc) to give them the opportunity to have their say on the issue of sexual and reproductive health including contraception.
Young people had to agree allow us to use their photo and personal message without payment and they had to sign a form consenting to this which serves as ''contract'' for the project. Of course, all young people are unanimous on the fact that something must be done to improve contraceptive services for adolescents and young people but many wished to speak anonymously due to the presidential elections to be held on October 25th, 2015. Even with this concern, the idea of being heard at international level was sometime sufficient to motivate some passionate young people to share their photo and video. We have collected about 30 photos and 3 videos so far and we have developed the project website which was launched on Monday, October 12th, 2015. I am impressed by the commitment and bravery of our young people who have shared their photo and message with the project. Most of them asked for access to accurate information on sexual and reproduction health, specifically information about contraception and family planning. As these young girls from Yopougon, in the populous district of Abidjan, said: “We all have the right to information on contraception.” Yes they need it! They do not ask for access to information only but also they ask for the right to access sexual and reproductive health including contraception commodities and services.
In addition to the photos, we have developed a survey to be filled online by young people about their thoughts of sexual and reproductive health. Due to difficulties in accessing the internet, we have printed the document and have asked young people to fill-out hard copies which we will input for them.
We had planned a World Contraception Day celebration in Côte d’Ivoire to occur on September 26th. Unfortunately, #WCD2015 activities we planned with Bayer HealthCare Country office in Côte d’Ivoire have been cancelled for security raisons due to the coming presidential election. We had planned to run a communication activity with the theme “Your Life, Your Responsibility” to help adolescents and young people to take control of their body and their life.
As an alternative, we have promoted #WCD2015 at the University of Felix Houphouet Boigny using tee-shirts provided by Bayer HealthCare. It was very striking that most of student don’t know there is a day #Contraception are celebrated around the world. But now, I am sure that some of them who visited us, will remember that #Contraception is celebrated each year on September 26th.
The next step of the “Ivorian Youth Voices on Contraception” will consist of promoting the project website, organizing a workshop for young people on contraception, and creating an infographic regarding data we have collected from the online survey. The workshop will focused on Your Life campaign’s objectives “Know your body, Know your option,” with the goal of helping these young people to be well-informed about their options.
About World Contraception Day:
In support of World Contraception Day and Women Deliver’s Young Leaders Program, Women Deliver and Bayer will work in partnership on a three-year World Contraception Day (WCD) Ambassadors Project. The project equips young people with the skills they need to collect and share digital stories about young people’s SRHR and access to contraception in their home countries. The project includes a storytelling and digital media training, a seed grant, and advocacy opportunities for the Ambassadors to showcase their work at the international level.