I am coming to the end of my World Contraception Day Ambassadors project and I must say, I have developed a newfound respect for everyone involved in the film industry. In the last stages of this project, I have been spending countless hours editing with a friend of mine. It has been a humbling experience.
In the course of my WCD Project, I have learned some lessons:
1. Youth advocacy needs time and commitment. Youth advocacy might as well be a full-time job. I am sure my fellow WCD ambassadors would agree when I say that it has not been easy, but the past couple of months have been some of the most exhilarating months of my life. I have been challenged to do and engage more so that I can become a better youth advocate for critical matters, like sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).
2. Youth advocacy on SRHR has no end as long as young people exist, and young people must be involved. There is no finish line to youth advocacy.
3. Young people are fighting many of the same injustices when it comes to SRHR, just on different levels and in different locations. I have been keenly following up on my fellow Ambassadors’ projects and we are all tackling similar cases of seclusion, marginalization, lack of information, and access to SRHR services, among others.
Initially, I had planned to create a video addressing the myths and misconceptions surrounding contraception among young people in Kenya and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). I am still working on this video but I discovered that, in the course of my project, some young people’s stories are so powerful that they have to be told in their entirety to convey the full message - I came across young women with powerful stories and I knew I had to cover them appropriately. For instance, I just published on my blog, Lavender’s story of growing up in an area plagued with many challenges and how it affected her SRHR. I plan to share more stories on this blog.
4. Finally, I have developed a keen interest in sharing the stories of disabled youth in my own country. I was inspired by Thushi, a WCD Ambassador, who worked on a powerful video that sheds a light on the SRHR of disabled Sri Lankan young people, who are all too often left out of the conversation.
It has been a challenging but fulfilling journey. The only thing I would do differently is to outsource professional help with the camera. Not everyone is meant to be good behind a camera.
Thank you to Women Deliver and Bayer for giving us a chance to learn and share.
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.