Les droits et la santé sexuels et reproductifs et le VIH en Afrique francophone

Par Falolou F. Lucrèce, membre de la YWCA du Bénin

L’atelier régional des YWCA francophones d’Afrique qui s’est déroulé au Bénin du 15 au 17 novembre 2012 sur le thème des droits et de la santé sexuels et reproductif (DSSR) et le VIH chez les jeunes femmes a été un excellent moment d’échanges, de partage de connaissances et des meilleures pratiques. L’atelier a réuni des membres des YWCA du Bénin, du Burkina Faso, du Cameroun, de la République Démocratique du Congo, du Mali et du Togo. Etait présente également Hendrica Okondo, du bureau mondial de la YWCA et Directrice mondiale des programmes relatifs aux DSSR et VIH. Au cours de cet atelier, le point de la situation de la santé sexuelle et reproductive dans la région a été posé et des orientations futures ont été définies. De plus, la rencontre a permis d’apprécier un certain nombre d’avancées dans le domaine de la santé de la reproduction et ce à travers le développement de projets mettant l’accent notamment sur le renforcement des services de santé sexuelle et reproductifs,  l’accroissement de l’accès aux services de maternité (incluant la lutte contre les fistule obstétricales qui reste un fléau dans de nombreux pays d’Afrique, la gratuité de la césarienne) sans risque et de survie de l’enfant .

Les participantes ont identifié un certain nombre d’obstacles qui retardent l’atteinte des objectifs visés par ces différents projets. Les deux plus importants sont la forte croissance démographique et ses conséquences sociales et la faible productivité économique. A travers nos échanges, nous avons également remarqué que trois domaines d’activités contribuent grandement à la  réduction de la mortalité maternelle. Il s’agit des domaines :

  • de la planification familiale ;
  • des soins obstétricaux néonatals d’urgence ;
  • de l’accouchement assisté par un personnel qualifié.

Il ressort de ce qui précède que les pays africains représentés dans ces ateliers ont fourni des efforts dans l’avancement des droits et de la santé sexuels et reproductifs chez les jeunes. Et pourtant, « les indicateurs de santé sont peu reluisants et stagnent depuis plusieurs décennies », comme le souligne Hendrica Okondo. Au Bénin par exemple, selon la dernière enquête démographique de la santé (EDS, 2006) le ratio de la mortalité maternelle est de 397 pour 100.000 naissances (selon les derniers chiffres de l’Organisation Mondiale de la Santé, le ratio de mortalité maternelle dans les pays en développement est en moyenne de 240 pour 100 000 naissances, contre 16 pour 100 000 dans les pays développés) ; la mortalité néonatale (cela correspond aux quatre premières semaines suivant la naissance) est de 32 pour 1000 naissances et la mortalité infanto-juvénile (avant l’âge de cinq ans)  est de 125 pour 1000 naissances. Quant au pourcentage de femmes/partenaires sexuels qui utilisent toute forme de contraception, il a régressé et est passée de 7,1% en 2001 à 6,2% en 2006.

De plus, l’âge des premiers rapports sexuels est de 15 ans maximum chez les adolescents et jeunes de 10 à 24 ans (13,2% des filles contre 12,9% des garçons) ; nous sommes confrontées ici au problème des mariages précoces et/ou forcés qui se soldent par des grossesses non désirées avec complications et un faible accès à l’information et aux services de planification familiale. Face à ce tableau peu brillant, la santé sexuelle et reproductive chez les jeunes femmes est menacée avec pour cause principale la mortalité suite à des complications liées à la grossesse et à l’accouchement ou encore au VIH et SIDA.

Des défis restent à relever, et en tant que membre de la YWCA, nous devons redoubler d’effort pour inverser la tendance. Des solutions ont été avancées et comprennent la promotion en matière des droits et de la santé sexuels et reproductifs dans le programme scolaire, ceci incluant l’éducation sexuelle ;  l’encouragement auprès des autorités nationales à mettre en place des fonds nécessaires pour le développement de la santé de la reproduction incluant une bonne gouvernance de ces fonds ; la lutte contre la déscolarisation des filles, le développement du leadership des jeunes femmes ; un meilleur accès à  des services de santé qui permettent aux femmes de mener à bien leur grossesse et leur accouchement.

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Personal, Professional and Political Growth at the Global Youth Forum

By Pauline Musoke from the YWCA of UK

I am sat on the flight on my way back to the UK, it is snowing, and I am filled with a warm, humble feeling inside having experienced what has been one of the best events of my personal, political, professional, and other reasons starting with the letter P, in my life. Indeed, the Global Youth Forum 2012 was a international platform to get scholars, ministers, but most importantly youth to come together for three days of hard work that involved a great deal of thinking, sharing and debating.

Pauline Musoke

Pauline Musoke

We addressed a wide range of issues within the five main themes (Staying Healthy, Comprehensive Education, Promoting Transition to Decent Work, Families, Youth Rights and Well-being, including sexuality, Leadership and Meaningful Youth Participation). This allowed us to work and think along vertical and horizontal lines, in what was a short amount of time that required one to maintain focused and efficient. One of the challenges that was repeatedly raised and was undermining youth’s right across all of the main themes was (negative) cultural practises, stigma, taboos, financial problems and lack of sustainability.

One of my personal highlights was working with the issue of ‘sexual rights’ and recognising that it ought to be a human right. I was very impressed with the ways in which the different groups addressed this matter. Not only were there direct references to already existing definitions of sexual rights but we identified gaps and filled them with additional categories that were missing and was important to us as youths – I was delighted to see that most of the participants were on the same page and how this was captured in the language of the final recommendation.

Throughout the course of the forum I was frequently reminded by my colleagues and the huge screen in the main hall projecting the words, ‘young people account for 43% of the world’. This meant that we, as young people, are major stakeholders in the process of development in the world. This made me feel like I mattered and made us feel empowered. In addition, the participants that took part virtually was like the wind propelling us forward through the drowsiness from the jetlag and reminded us all that we are speaking out for people who needed to see these political, cultural, environmental and financial changes.

Lucky, joyful and privileged are some more of the words that describe how I feel now that the forum has come to an end. To have heard the different stories, some of which are closer to home and others not, but all making me engage in self-reflection. Furthermore, it was lovely to have the support from my YWCA colleges and it was pleasure to have made friends with people from different corners of the world. My hat goes off to UNFPA, ICPD, volunteers and other groups of people involved in the different technicalities of organising such an event. Great efforts was made into making sure that we enjoyed ourselves as we managed to squeeze in a bit of dancing and absorb some of Indonesia’s wonderful culture in to the conference centre.

I hope that you join me together with other youth to continue to work with the issues raised in the Global Youth Forum in your YWCA centres or become active on Beyond 2015 website to influence the global development framework.

Youth Rights at the Heart of Development – Global Youth Forum

The ICPD Global Youth Forum 4-6 December 2012, in Bali Indonesia is taking place with the theme  Youth Rights at the Heart of Development. The outcomes and recommendations from the Forum shall contribute directly to the process of defining the future global development agenda. World YWCA delegate Josie Swords, from the YWCA of Australia shares her impressions.

Josie Swoords

Josie Swords

 

I was so excited when I learnt that I had been accepted as a delegate to the Global Youth Forum. I became more excited when I was asked to also be a facilitator and rapporteur for some of the World Cafe sessions. And soon after I experienced the euphoria of excitement I became completely terrified. First of all, I wasn’t sure of what a World Cafe session was, and what on earth is a rapporteur? In addition, it seemed that I was going to be the only national youth representative from Australia. Plus I had many, many emails – every day – from multiple people at UNFPA about organising my travel and providing me with visa information. It was very overwhelming, to say the least.

However, once I arrived in Bali for two days of training before the Global Youth Forum, my panic subsided. All of the facilitators and rapporteurs spent two days before the forum talking about the Forum’s key themes, tips and tricks for facilitating and the process for synthesising the recommendations coming out of the World Cafe session. Also, such a diversity of skills and backgrounds made the two days of training a fantastic experience to learn from one another. I was pleased to note, as well, the strong representation of young women in this group.

What really struck me over the two days was the opportunity we had, and were responsible for taking full advantage of, in taking youth voices into the ICPD Operational Review process. The wonderful thing about the Global Youth Forum is that the recommendations gathered from participants in the World Cafe sessions would be fed directly into the outcomes documents for the Forum. We didn’t need to have approval of governments, or UN agencies – only each other. In addition, the voices of thousands of youth unable to attend the forum would also be fed in through the Global Youth Forum’s virtual platform. Thus, the recommendations would reflect the will of the global youth and hopefully feed directly into the processes of setting the global development agenda..

Since the official Global Youth Forum has commenced, I’ve learnt – first hand – the hard work, energy and time that goes into making these international forums work. I have had very long days, met lots of people and processed a huge volume of information in a very short amount of time. Despite the fatigue, I was struck by the unwavering commitment of all of the rapporteurs and facilitators to transparently and meaningfully capture the views, perspectives and recommendations of all the participants. Hopefully the final declaration of the Global Youth Forum will reflect this commitment and hard work!

Now that the Global Youth Forum is coming to a close, I’m feeling a bit sad at the prospect of having to go back to real life. It’s been a privilege to soak up all of the knowledge and understanding that the participants have of the world around them and things they are passionate about. I would love to stay here with all of my fellow delegates who are so forward-looking, enthusiastic, passionate and inclusive – if only I could live my entire life like this! But sadly, real life beckons and the job of promoting the outcomes of the Global Youth Forum is only just beginning.

From Seoul to Anyang – A journey I will never forget

Visiting the Sexual Violence Relief Centre

Visiting the Sexual Violence Relief Centre

By Nagham Nassar – World YWCA Progamme Associate Communications

After the International Training Institute (ITI) in Seoul I had the privilege to visit other YWCAs in Korea. My first stop was at the National YWCA of Korea in Seoul. There I met the General Secretary Mrs. Yoo,Sung hee and the YWCA Staff. I was welcomed by everyone and Miss Choe, Yoon-young, the International Affairs Coordinator in the National Office, kindly explained to me how the National YWCA in Korea operates. The National Office in Korea is divided into two departments: the Management Department that supports the local branches of the YWCA and the Movement Department that undertakes several projects. One of the most important projects of the YWCA of Korea is to send milk to children in North Korea.

I felt very welcomed by the National Office. It reminded me of a beehive where everyone is really busy and the General Secretary is like the queen bee making sure everything is running smoothly and efficiently.

After this special meeting at the National Office, I continued my journey with Yoon-young to the “Korea Sexual Violence Relief Centre”. This is not a YWCA centre but it is coordinated by one of the YWCA Board Members, and it was created over 20 years ago. At first, they raised the issue from going from human rights to women’s rights and then they tackled the subject of sexual abuse. What is really important is that the centre began talking about sexual violence before even the government, who only in 1994 established a new law on violence against women and started helping this centre. The Korea Sexual Violence Centre organises many projects and events, including: Moonlight Slot Walk, Speak Out, to name but a few.

Our last stop was the YWCA of Anyang, another beehive of the YWCA of Korea. We met with Mrs Pak, the General Secretary of the YWCA of Anyang. It was amazing to hear the history of this 26 year-old member association. During its first year of existence they operate from a small room that was a donation of a local church. Other donations soon followed, among them a phone which was used as a hotline. Since day one, the YWCA of Anyang focused their work on women’s issues and women’s rights which made them the first women’s organisation and the first to talk about these issues in Anyang.

The YWCA of Anyang is trying to change the mindset of its citizens and fight all types of discrimination and especially violence against women and domestic violence. When they initiated the hotline they received many calls on domestic violence leading them to quickly open a counselling centre. This led them in 1995, to separate the counselling from the business work. They also noticed the need to have a shelter to accept these women. So in 1998 they opened a shelter, calling it the “House with Dream”. In 2004, the government began to funding the survivors of violence which made the work of the YWCA of Anyang easier. The YWCA of Anyang also works with the children of the women that seek their help and has opened day care centres which offer speech therapy and access to psychologists and teachers for studying support.

Another project run by the YWCA of Anyang is the “Women Resources Development Centre”, which offers 71 different courses aiming to help the women become self sufficient. As the General Secretary of the YWCA of Anyang says: “Just supporting the survivor is not enough. It is important to change the mindset of the people. As long as society believes the social level of women to be inferior to men, violence will continue to exist because it is more or less a normal thing to violate the weak in the society!! And to solve these types of problems, women have to be more involved in the decision making process.” This is why the YWCA of Anyang also focuses on lobbying for equal rights and to have female representation in the governance committee, which currently isn’t the case even though the population of Anyang is composed of 51% women. After all the work done by the YWCA of Anyang, this year around 30% of the committee is composed of women.

The people of Anyang have a lot of trust in their YWCA and this is demonstrated by all the donations they give. For example, the YWCA was able to raise around 100.000.000 Wong which equals USD100.000 in less then 3 months for the shelter.

In two days, I was able to experience the real Korean work of the YWCAs. I will never forget the hospitality, the warmth and the information I gained during my visit. It is amazing how a YWCA Member will feel at home all over the world in any YWCA office and how all our Member Associations are similar no matter where you go. I feel so lucky to be a member in this incredible movement.