Sexuality Education: SID Initiative launches ‘Girls’ Corner Project’ for girls in marginalised communities

Sexuality Education: SID Initiative launches ‘Girls’ Corner Project’ for girls in marginalised communities
By Ekene Agbor, Osogbo
Blessing Ashi addressing the girls at one of the safe spaces during the project
One of the facilitators addressing the girls at one of the safe spaces during the project
A Non-Governmental Organisation, Sustainable Impact and Development (SID) Initiative for Adolescent and Youth (SID Initiative) has launched Girls’ Corner Project to help girls in marginalised communities access sexuality education.
According to Blessing Ashi, Program Manager at SID Initiative, the sexuality education was carried out in a non-judgmental and stigma-free environment.
Ashi said that SID designed a safe space program for 100 girls in low-income communities of Ebute Ilaje and Agege of Lagos State.
This project was necessitated judging by the the low levels of knowledge on sexual and reproductive health and limited access to and use of SRH services and contraceptives among adolescents and youth in Nigeria.
The project, according to Ashi, was sponsored by GAD Studio and ShareYourself and implemented in three weeks in the two communities simultaneously with the following thematic areas in focus;  sexuality education, menstrual hygiene management, skill acquisition, music and arts. 
The Program Manager who was a safe space facilitator while speaking at one of the classes stated that safe spaces are important for young people especially girls because it helps them learn in spaces free of judgement and discrimination. 
She added that “ample and appropriate information on Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) including HIV/AIDS and GBV is pivotal to helping girls live healthily and stay productive.”
One of the beneficiaries of the project, Tomi, aged 17  (not real name) who lives in Agege, while narrating her experience to one of the facilitators of SID Initiative revealed how she gave birth when she was 14.
Tomi regretted not having a safe space or youth-friendly centre where she would have obtained a life-saving information on safe sex methods.
Ashi noted that Tomi had to drop out of school and now volunteers with the young mum’s club in Agege. “Tomi’s story is not uncommon in our society and this is one of the driving forces for SID’s interventions,” Ashi opined
Also speaking at one of the centres is Remilekun, a safe space volunteer who explained that the integration of economic empowerment into safe space programs is an innovative way of improving the health and wellbeing of girls because when girls are financially independent, they can support their families and this reduces the prevalence of transactional sex and in some cases, sexual violence.
To achieve what Remilekun disclosed, SID Initiative invited a girl-child advocate and entrepreneur, Anita Graham who taught the beneficiaries how to use locally sourced fabrics like Ankara to make accessories such as bangles, earrings, hair bands, and belts. 
The girls during graduation at the completion of the project
The girls during graduation at the completion of the project
The Girls’ Corner project rounded off with graduation ceremonies in the two locations where beneficiaries leveraged on music and art to illustrate lessons-learned and knowledge gained from the safe space classes.
The sexuality education modules focused on Values, Self-Esteem, Goal-Setting, Assertiveness, Finding Help, Relationships, Gender, Sexual Abuse, Reproductive Anatomy and Physiology, Sexually Transmitted Infections including HIV/AIDS, and Family Planning. As a contribution to ending period poverty and improving awareness on Menstrual Hygiene Management Rjay Initiative in partnership with SID distributed sanitary pads to the beneficiaries, the supply of sanitary pads can last up to three (3) months.
Shedding more lights on Sustainable Impact and Development (SID) Initiative for Adolescent and Youth, Ashi said it is a youth-led and youth-focused non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the sexual reproductive health and wellbeing of young people in urban and rural communities in Nigeria.
“We achieve this through a three-point approach which are: Education, Advocacy and Capacity Building. We employ innovative and strategic approaches while leveraging on Information Communication Technology (ICT) and media to achieve our mission.
“ShareYourself is an open project management and social engagement platform designed from the ground up to guide change-makers by providing opportunities for creators of social initiative projects through grants and strategic partnerships,” she revealed.


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