South Sudan: Silvia is satisfied with the WISH project

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Thanks to HI and the WISH project in South Sudan, Silvia has acquired new resources to better understand her sexual and reproductive health.

Silvia Poni Philip, a 23-year-old student, lives on the island of Moneyit. She is hard of hearing and recently took part in the activities offered by the WISH project teams. As a young woman with a disability in her community, it is sometimes difficult to broach the subject of sexual and reproductive health, due to the lack of access to information.

Acquiring new knowledge

The WISH (Women’s Integrated Sexual Health) project is a project designed by the FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office) in the United Kingdom, which was then deployed in several countries by a consortium of several NGOs, including HI. This project aims to strengthen support for integrated sexual and reproductive health and rights services in countries in Africa and Asia. Today, the project is present in 26 countries.

In South Sudan, the main objectives of the project teams are to strengthen family planning services for women with disabilities and young women, and to increase awareness among the latter through engaging activities with the community. The WISH South Sudan team trains local health personnel to promote sexual and reproductive health among all audiences.

These activities can be simple, such as dialogue. Silvia really enjoyed talking with the teams because it was very informative for her: she learned to manage her emotions and to understand prevention mechanisms for reproduction. In addition to helping her, Silvia is happy to have new keys to help and advise her friends.

Before the deployment of the WISH project in South Sudan, Silvia had no access to resources on the subject of sexual and reproductive health, she did not know any means of prevention. She only knew what her mother taught her: traditional reproduction. Today, she knows where to find information and who to turn to if necessary.

“I gained knowledge about reproductive health. […] I feel free from the worry of getting pregnant before I finish my studies.”

Challenges and solutions

However, in your community, it is very difficult to approach the subject of sexuality, even more so when you are a young woman with a disability. Since sexuality is considered a taboo subject, young people do not feel comfortable discussing it with their elders. In addition, the lack of documentary resources makes access to information even more difficult. This is why Silvia tells us that she will continue to follow the teachings of the WISH teams.

Overall, Silvia learned a lot through the program, she now knows what it means to be old enough to have children and even offers solutions to make the project known to a wider audience, especially her village. She would like her community to be made aware of the topic of sexual health. It also offers to send messages in different formats: sign language, audio, braille, in order to reach everyone, including people with disabilities.

This article is originally published on hi.org

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