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youthagainstabortionstigma

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February 2018

Sensitization on abortion stigma in my community, Njai Town, Sierra Leone

By Alimatu Harding, youth volunteer at Planned Parenthood Association of Sierra Leone

Joining the Stop Abortion Stigma project has helped me grow more confident than ever! Having been in the project for the last five months, I have learnt something about myself that I never knew.

I’m Alimatu Harding; working with the Stop Abortion Stigma project in Sierra Leone. It was an eye opener to me and other young people in this community. Having been with the project for five months, I have realized something about myself that I never knew before. I am more confident and assertive in addressing abortion and other related stigma in my community. My engagements in the project have further improved my social interaction and behaviour. Before this time, I found it difficult to engage people on issues relating to abortion.

The abortion project transformed my life. This was as a result of the training we received at the commencement of the project. I was part of the sensitization in schools and communities. This project has empowered me to talk about issues relating to abortion.

Abortion was viewed as an evil practice in my community, and if a woman ends a pregnancy intentionally, people thought that she will lose the chance to conceive in future.  Despite these numerous challenges based on religious values and traditional beliefs that were deeply rooted in my community, the intervention of the project brought positive transformation.

During the implementation of the project I engaged young women and girls on issues of abortion stigma and how we could work together to stop it. The project has helped me to interact with fellow young women and girls in the Njai Town community.

My involvement on a radio panel discussion, to talk to my peers and gather their contributions through text messages and phone calls was a remarkable experience.

Although abortion is legally restricted in Sierra Leone, the community stakeholders supported this project because they want to save our lives as their daughters and wives. Above all we ask that they recognize our sexual reproductive rights and stop stigmatizing us.

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Reducing abortion stigma in Palpa, Nepal

By Sunil Karki, youth volunteer at the Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN)

Every generation of today is familiar with this word abortion. Some take it in a positive way whereas some take it negatively. Most people from developed countries are more open to abortion but in Nepal, especially in under-developed places or rural areas this is kept a confidential topic – it is very difficult to accept the word ‘abortion’. So our FPAN Palpa branch members took this initiative on abortion stigma and made a successful project.

On 25th September 2017 we, the active members of FPAN Palpa, with Bangsha Gopal youth club, made this project a huge success. Teenagers, youths, as well as their parents, were involved in this programme. It was a great privilege to see their active participation and involvement beyond our expectation. Almost everybody spoke and gave their views and perceptions on this topic without any hesitation. There were many sessions such as sexuality and reproductive health, contraceptive devices, safe and unsafe abortion, ways and types of abortion and so on.

nepal young woman 2

Many female participants talked about the experiences they had gone through and the circumstances they had to face during abortion. They knew that unsafe abortion may lead to the death of the woman, or cause mental health problems, but still feared opening up to society. Our great achievement was to start a change in people’s education and thinking. After the project they developed a bit of guts and a new way of thinking. This project was a small approach to change the way people think about abortion. This was not so easy – some of them had an argument on this too because accepting this challenge in such a rural area is not so easy, but after a long discussion we were successful.

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