In Nigeria, young people particularly adolescent girls and young women have limited knowledge about their Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). Most adolescents and young women receive little or no sexuality education, and any such teaching often serves to perpetuate popular misconceptions about the use of contraceptives. They are frequently exposed to unprotected sex, which can lead to unwanted pregnancy, unsafe abortion and related complications, sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS, and maternal death.
The Sustainable Impact and Development Initiative with support from We Lead organized 2 days of training which was aimed at building the capacity of 13 youth advocates in using social media to advocate for young people’s SRHR. The girls were trained by seasoned experts on SRHR and Advocacy. They were given an overview of SRHR covering areas such as bodily autonomy, consent, and access to contraceptives, including sexual and gender-based violence. On the other hand, the girls developed their skills in social media advocacy and learned new ways of promoting their SRHR messages through this medium. Upon completion of the training, they developed and implemented innovative social media campaigns that sensitized over 100000 young people online on different SRHR issues namely contraceptives, sexual harassment, and female genital mutilation.
The participants of the training highlighted some of the learnings. Aboyade Ayomide said, “I learned about SRHR and consent and how this affects young women in Nigeria”. Another participant, Ifeomo Ilobodo said that “The training opened my eyes to how I can prepare an advocacy plan”. The Executive Director, Sustainable Impact and Development Initiative, Elizabeth Talatu Williams,commended the girls for participating actively in the training and embarking on an impactful 3-day social media campaign. She encouraged them to continue the advocacy and not relent. She further called on the government to support such initiatives which build the agency of adolescent girls and young women who are technology savvy and vibrant to advocate for their SRHR.
The Sustainable Impact and Development Initiative for Adolescent and Youth is a youth-led non-governmental organization that is dedicated to advancing the sexual reproductive health and rights of adolescents and young people in urban and rural communities in Nigeria. Our vision is to build a society where every young person can reach their full potential free of sexual health challenges regardless of their socio-economic status.
We Lead is an innovative and far-reaching program that aims to strengthen the influence and position of young women whose sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRH-R) are neglected the most. It targets young women and adolescent girls who: live with HIV; identify as lesbian, bisexual, trans, or intersex (LBTI); live with a disability; and/or are affected by displacement.