Educating the youth on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) is highly relevant all over the world. In collaboration with the Ethiopian Midwives Association (EMwA) we are conducting the SRHR[e]Program as part of the Orange Knowledge Project funded by Nuffic in Ethiopia. This program not only focuses on training health professionals on SRHR, but also on performing outreach activities to reach adolescents with empowering knowledge, increasing their awareness.
Simon Mesfin, project assistant at EMwA and valued implementer of this project, has played a major role in the facilitation of these outreach activities in multiple Ethiopian schools and institutions, alongside with Benyam Timotewos. As an inspirational and enthusiastic key player, we are grateful Simon wants to share his experience.
In a world where 35% of the community consists of adolescents and youth, we must consider the high demand for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights knowledge and understanding, especially considering the undeniable impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on SRHR-related issues.
As part of equipping pre-service midwives with knowledge and skills through the SRHR[e]Education blended-learning training, outreach activities raising SRHR awareness were conducted in Primary schools, High schools, TVET colleges, and Youth Centers.
These outreach activities included SRHR presentations and discussion sessions with the students. In addition, SRHR, GBV, and HIV Clubs were established and strengthened in all institutions. In this way we have reached 1568 adolescents and youth from 9 institutions (964 females and 604 males).
Some of the feedback and passionate questions of the students during the sessions at the Primary and Secondary Schools concerned:
“Why is gender-based violence highly prevalent against women?”
“How can we prudently manage menstruation and the pains related to it?”
“How can we tackle addiction and drug consumption which is increasing in an alarming rate among high school students?”
These questions mark the existing knowledge gap which is being addressed during the outreach activities. As this still needs much more work and focus, a series of new outreach activity rounds are planned in the upcoming months.