From April 17-21, 2012, the World YWCA held a regional sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) training session in Arusha, Tanzania and in Nairobi, Kenya, with 20 young women participants gathering from a number of African countries, including Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Zambia. One of the participants shares
My name is Uwera Celine. I am from Rwanda; I am 30 years old and single. I have been a member of the YWCA of Rwanda since 2002 and now I am the Secretary of its Board of Directors.
I was pleased to take part in the Training on Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRHR) held in Arusha (Tanzania) and Nairobi (Kenya) from 17 to 21 April, 2012. I learnt a lot and acquired new knowledge. It was a good opportunity to share our YWCA experiences in addressing sexual reproductive health and gender based violence of women from the different countries represented – Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Zambia and Nigeria, Benin and Angola. I was specially by touched by the challenges faced by the Maasai women and girls where cultural practices such as polygamy and female genital mutilation are practiced, and girls get married at a very early age (10 years) ! And, I appreciate the way the YWCA is doing its best to eradicate these practices which increase vulnerability of young women leading to higher rate of new infections especially among young women between the ages of 15-24.
Furthermore, the training provided by the Population Council Team in Nairobi was very interesting because it gave us clarifications on young women’s SRHR needs. At this training we learnt that needs are very different according to the age of the young women, the area in which they live, their socio –economic status and their academic level, etc. They urged us to take into consideration their differences when intervening with adolescents, because all girls are not the same, and their needs and dreams are very different. For instance, we understood that there are different assets categories for girls according to their age. A four year old girl hasn’t the same needs as one of six; the same girl at 12 may have different needs and assets compared to the 18 year old.
I learnt from the Population Council that the differences between physical, financial human and social assets, how they can be used to reduce vulnerability and expand opportunities for girls in different age groups. The way of providing and managing assets for each group is also different. addition, I was interested by the choice of communication channels which should be preferred according to the target group and the number of people you wish to reach: radio, meeting, door to door, training, face to face, flyers, posters, schools and universities,…
These skills are crucial and will personally help me to improve my work as a YWCA member by participating in capacity building of young women on SRHR and providing them with accurate information and skills to prevent new infection and support those infected or affected by HIV AIDS..
I am really thankful to the YWCA Rwanda General Secretary Pudentienne Uzamukunda and World YWCA Global Programme Manager for SRHR and HIV Hendrica Okondo for the support and the opportunity to participate in this training and I congratulate the young women who participated in both the workshop and training as I will continue to network with them to ensure our voices and needs of young women are heard at national and regional level.