One community at a time

Working in a programme for improvement in the reproductive health sector in public health systems. It was intended as a space to independently implement my ideas and to fulfill my desire for interacting with the rural communities in the sub-county of Kiambu, Kenya. We have focused on education and issues, such as livelihood and reproductive health. which is a network working for the reduction of stigma and other barriers to accessing information and services. Realizing the importance of this issue, I joined SAFIRE and participated in the training which was organized to build our capacities. To begin with, we held discussions with girls’ groups in the community to learn about their experiences of accessing reproductive health services from the public health system. The girls shared that they were not treated properly, they were not respected, they had to make several visits, and not all girls or young women got all of the benefits and services that they are entitled to. Each young woman had a different story to tell. It was intended as a space to independently implement each and every adolescent young girl’s ideas. We focussed on reproductive health services and then moved on to address other issues, such as livelihood and health. It is through the big sister sessions that fellow small sisters have been impacted with sexual and reproductive health information with examples of the various ways one could prevent themselves from contracting HIV/AIDS and unintended pregnancies that could ultimately lead to unsafe abortions. In the community where Elizabeth comes from, sensitization on various emotive topics continues, to reduce and eventually end the stigma around these SRH issues. It is the hope of the big sister that adolescents and young people live healthy and happy lives with neither external nor internal barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health services that are friendly.

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