It has been a hectic fall season with so much going on but I am happy to say that the project has come to a close – a bittersweet ending to my year. As mentioned in my previous blog, I had encountered a few bumps along the way during my planning and implementation phase. However, with a little encouragement and persistence, I was able to secure my target university and execute my project. 

I connected with two of my old undergraduate professors from the Public Health Department at William Paterson University (WPU), both of whom were extremely supportive and excited about my project. WPU is a diverse campus located in Wayne, New Jersey, almost 45 minutes away from New York City. I was thrilled to receive their approval and we proceeded with the next steps in order to implement my project on the WPU campus. 

After submitting and receiving approval from the WPU Institutional Review Board (IRB), the Public Health Department provided me the entire Public Health Club on campus to assist me with my project.  They helped ensure that I was able to collect all of the data needed to complete the project successfully. 

I set up a booth in the Student Center of WPU, which ran from 10AM-5PM, There, I provided informational materials on contraceptive methods and insurance coverage from the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) , a red carpet backdrop for photo and video opportunity for students who supported the mission and vision of World Contraception Day, and baked goods to attract students to my booth. The volunteers and I engaged the students, discussing their options when it comes to contraceptive methods and informing them about the affordability and accessibility of the more highly effective methods.

One of the project highlights was the effectiveness with which Public Health students further promoted WCD to other millennials in the United States. The volunteers helped at the booth and they also participated in the photo-story video component of my project. Being millennials themselves, they understand the importance of their sexual and reproductive and health rights (SRHR). This knowledge was evident in the vibrant ways they participated and promoted WCD that day, and it attracted even more students to the booth than I could have ever done on my own. I learned that peer-to-peer engagement is a more effective way to relay information about contraception than an intergenerational conversation Students were able to ask us difficult and personal questions, and some even shared personal stories to further show their support. 

The major lesson that I learned from this project was the importance of time management. Balancing the demands of a full-time job and the new-found freedom of just graduating was definitely challenging. This project required me to reach out to external partners and universities during business hours, but it was tough as I was also working at that time. Once I was able to connect with the right people, I was able to move forward with and successfully implement my project I now know, that next time, I need to be better at time management to ensure that any future projects will be executed in a timely and substantive manner.

I commend the efforts of my fellow ambassadors and I am proud to be a part of this project. I wish the best to Women Deliver and Bayer as we all work towards the day when “all pregnancies are wanted.

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.