Spreading the word on Unwanted Pregnancy and Self-Esteem

Over the past weekend, I helped lead a few events targeted at young people on the topics of preventing unwanted pregnancy and early marriage. The focus was also on self-esteem building, staying in school, and how to assert oneself as a woman. My site-mate Nathalie and I organized the events, which took place at a school and in an open public area, although we did none of the talking. We used Awa Traore, a motivational speaker who works for Peace Corps, to facilitate discussion among girls and between young men and women. We also had a local youth theatre group in Kolda do performances on the subject of unwanted teen pregnancy. It was overall a successful weekend, if exhausting and a bit chaotic. We estimated that we spread the message to over 300 people.

Kawral, the theatre group, performing. Their presentation was about a teenage girl who gets pregnant, and her family who must then deal with the consequences.

The crowd at the public event

Awa Traore speaking to young women and men. She has charisma and is forward-thinking. Among her messages: Women want sex too. If abstinence doesn't work, how does one protect themself? Women can be assertive/work outside the home, and still be good mothers. The two aren't mutually exclusive. The subject of unwanted pregnancy is not only for women to speak about. Men must take responsibility too.

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