This National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD), Indego Africa wants to empower women and girls to make the best choices they can when it comes to protecting themselves and others from HIV. That’s why we’ve initiated a Sexual Health Training program for our Vocational Training students in Rwanda!
This past summer, a group of women at the Abasangiye Cooperative in the Kayonza district of Rwanda brought an important topic to light during their first semester of Vocational Training. While the group of Vocational Trainees were learning to sew, they overheard older members of the cooperative talking about their HIV treatment. The young women became worried that they could be infected through pin pricks while sewing and immediately raised their concerns with Indego’s Education Manager in Rwanda.
Through conversations between
our Rwanda team and the Vocational Trainees, we recognized that these young women needed training on HIV prevention and transmission, as well as sexual health education more broadly. They were concerned about their health, specifically about HIV/AIDS, but did not have sufficient information about how to protect themselves.
To address this
critical knowledge gap, we set up Sexual Health Training workshops for all of the young women participating in our Vocational Training program and invited Indego’s older artisan partners to join as well. The course, taught by an experienced female Rwandan health trainer, focused on HIV/AIDS and STI transmission, prevention, and symptoms, but also incorporated lessons on gender-based violence and reproductive health and care. The instructor provided the young women with guidance about how to discuss sexual health with partners and encouraged them to be proactive about “knowing their status” through regular check-ups and blood tests.
The workshop has given
our partners across five different cooperatives (many of whom have never learned about sexual health in an education setting) the opportunity to learn about these topics in a safe and positive environment, to ask questions about their health, and to relay important safety information to their children and families.
At Indego, we believe
true empowerment requires a holistic approach. Today, as we shed light on the impact of HIV and AIDS on women and girls around the world for #NWGHAAD, we want to highlight the success of our Sexual Health Training program in Rwanda with some quotes from Vocational Trainees themselves.
“I learned a lot from the
training including how important HIV/AIDS prevention is. It’s good to get in
the habit of having regular checkups because it helps you make valuable health decisions. It is also not good to exclude people who are HIV positive. Though
you might be infected with HIV/AIDS, there is still hope.” –Brigitte, 25, Bravers Cooperative
“It’s so important that we get this training while we are young. The youth are the ones who have a poor understanding of sexual relations here in Rwanda, especially girls of my age. Many get pregnant or get HIV because they do not have this information.” –Jennifer, 19, Cocoki
“The most important
thing I learned is how much the HIV rate has increased in Rwanda. I was also
very young when I got sexual health training before. Now at Indego, I
understand everything.” –Olive, 26, Cocoki Cooperative
“After completing Indego
Africa’s Sexual Health Training, my co-op members discussed and decided that everyone should have their own sharp sewing tools and go to the hospital for regular blood checkups.” –Francine, 28, Covanya Cooperative
“The most important thing I learned is to take care of HIV/AIDS positive people. We should never exclude them.” –Liliane, 24, Covanya Cooperative
As we strive to create a world in which young women can reach their full potential, we believe it is crucial to provide women and girls with access to relevant and comprehensive information about their bodies and their health. Indego Africa is committed to continuing and expanding its workshops for young women on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, STI transmission, and sexual and reproductive health more broadly.
and every day, we show our support for women and girls impacted by HIV and AIDS by providing them with the education, tools, and resources to change the world.