Journal

Araba
Posted December 26, 2016 from Ghana

I have always wanted to bring a change in my community. I believe in determination, courage, the technical knowhow and the spirit of” Do it Your Self” will always contribute to a positive change in my community.

I have always had a passion for community work and always want to start an initiative to move my community to a better stage. To follow my dreams I have worked with women and girls focused organizations that aims at law and policy reforms, advocacy and leadership building for the betterment of conditions of women and girls. Women and girls bear the brunt of hardship in most communities in Africa.

My job took me to most places in Ghana, rural, peri -urban and urban towns. Lessons I gathered from my work on why most communities are behind development were attributed to Ignorance of the laws, ignorance of their civic rights and responsibilities, inhumane cultural and traditional practices meted out to girls and women, lack of education on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), ignorance of their human rights, the rights to stand up for oneself, and lack of self-confidence etc.

With early and forced marriages a problem, in some rural communities in Ghana, I worked in a team to reduce the prevalence of early and forced marriages among adolescent girls and teenagers in some selected regions in Ghana known for its high rate of teenage pregnancies, and school dropout. This was a project which aimed at educating young girls and boys on sexual and reproductive health and rights. The project’s objectives among others was for the teenagers to own their bodies, have a voice on what they think is not good or bad for their body, have confidence in themselves, have their own values, and knowledge on domestic violence etc.

In my team, we work with the community structures, school children and teachers. We have formed peer educators, gender and leadership clubs etc, to encourage young people to ask questions about their sexuality and to report sexual abuses meted out to them. The sad experience of some of these young girls from sexual abuse, both in school and in their domestic settings leaves much questions to be answered.

The question is, what happened to other teenagers and young adults who do not have access to such information? How do we reach them? How do we equip them with such information?

How do they stand up for their rights, own their bodies, voice out issues of sexual abuse and all abusive act meted out to them? How do they get the courage to brave through challenges and visualize themselves as change makers in their communities and work hard to achieve their dreams?

Knowing how education matters and the fact that not all people are privileged to get education on reproductive health and rights, I took it upon myself to go extra mile to make such information easy to be assessed by all regardless of how culture makes it difficult for them to openly talk about it or get information on it.

It is for this reason that I figured out that digital tools can be of great help. In this era of social media, and smart phones, it will be a good avenue to share such information to reach many teenagers and young people and adults on such topics and issues. Animation or cartoons on such topics and other apps can be a great help to send such messages to lots of people. In this our era of smart phones, it is an easy and fun way to learn new information to equip ourselves and to gather a mass of people to join forces to do away with negative practices that hinder our development.

Comments 9

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Jill Langhus
Dec 26, 2016
Dec 26, 2016

Hi Araba,

Welcome to World Pulse, and thank you for sharing your story. I'd like to hear more about what organization your are working for and the initiatives that you are involved in. I'm also looking forward to hearing more stories and updates from you on how you are using the social media to reach out to girls and women in your community that you were having trouble reaching previously.

Araba
Dec 26, 2016
Dec 26, 2016

Hello jlanghus,

Thanks for your comments. currently I work with a women's rights organization called Gender Centre, and I volunteer with another called women Aspire Ghana.  it is a women and girls focus organization that works for the betterment of women and girls.  most often for communities that we have challenges reaching them, we  are present there ourselves to give our delivery.  we recently developed a toll free hotline which is very new, for people who have issues to call for assistance

Jill Langhus
Dec 27, 2016
Dec 27, 2016

Sounds great, Araba:-) Thanks for the clarification.

WorldCare
Jan 02, 2017
Jan 02, 2017

Hello Araba, I admire your commitment to your community, and other communities, where women often do not understand their rights. Teaching them about the law, as well as their own bodies is a prime way to raise their awareness. Thank you for writing this good description of your projects. It appears you have already made good progress. It might seem overwhelming. Stay strong. Your efforts will help so many. I am glad to read of all you are doing there. Thank you. 

Araba
Jan 17, 2017
Jan 17, 2017

Thanks for encouraging me

JulieG
Feb 03, 2017
Feb 03, 2017

Dear Araba,

Welcome to World Pulse.  I hope you find this community supports you in the meaningful work you are doing with reproductive health, rights and education in Ghana.   I wish you much strength and inspiration as you continue this campaign.

Best wishes,

Julie

Araba
Feb 06, 2017
Feb 06, 2017

Thanks Julie for your encouragement

Tamarack Verrall
Feb 07, 2017
Feb 07, 2017

Dear Araba,

When I read deeply held convictions like believing in "Do it yourself", "passion for community" and "follow my dreams" I know I am reading from a grassroots leader, and this is to be celebrated. That you have managed to reach girls in both urban and rural issues, and been able to get into schools with such important information for both the girls and boys, is really encouraging to hear. You are no doubt affecting many young lives in profound and life-saving ways. I look forward to news of whatever you do, and send a big welcome into World Pulse. 

In sisterhood,

Tam

Araba
Feb 07, 2017
Feb 07, 2017

Thanks Tam.You have inspired me to do more.