Ryculture Health and Social Innovation team partnered with Pharmacy Students’ Association of Kenya (KEPhSA), RESPEKT, Marie-Stopes, Pink Shoes-Kenya, DKT International and National AIDs Council to host a sexual reproductive health and rights workshop at Mount Kenya University main campus in Thika hosted by the Mount Kenya Pharmacy Students’ Association (MKUPA) on the 23rd of February 2019. This was a follow-up on a previous session held at Kenyatta University in the previous year having been hosted by the Kenyatta University Pharmacy Students’ Association (KUPhSA).
The workshop was organized to cover: Abortions; sexuality and clinical practices around SRH, Sexual and Gender Based Violence, the correlation between drug abuse and SRH, Contraceptives and Family Planning, HIV/AIDs: PreP, PEP and drivers, Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR); SRH and Social Justice; FGM
The objectives of the workshop were to:
Promote awareness about SRH&R
Engage students on the discussion around abortions as this is a hot issue in the country with the youth being mostly affected
Promote social responsibility in tackling SRH concerns
Champion for and encourage the youth to be health advocates for SRH
Sexual and Reproductive Health refers to sexual development free from illness and violence. It covers absence of any physical, emotional, social or economic constraints that may cause an anomaly.
Health is a human right as enshrined in the Kenyan Constitution which means that every individual has the right to access healthcare services when and where they need them without facing any barriers which can be financial, social, cultural etc. SRH services are covered in the purview of what the government should provide under the essential package of healthcare services thus a need to ensure these services are available. It’s our role as young people to speak up and hold the government to account to ensure these services are provided in youth friendly spaces.
A right is a privilege that an individual has and is provided for under the legal structures of a state or organization and can exercise without any special resources. Within the confines of SRHR every individual has a right to chose whether to have sex or not, when to have sex and with whom to have sex with. This downplays the rampant cases of sexual assault and rape which we have been made accustomed to. As a society it is our responsibility to speak up, challenge retrogressive norms and stand for what is right, just and humane. As we will be having the launch of #SheDecidesKenya on 2nd March 2019 we have to advocate for autonomy that individuals especially ladies have on their bodies.
Every sexual act that takes place whether just or unjust involves human beings and this comes with a responsibility for which by thinking through the whole span of the probable outcomes we need to be socially conscious and take responsibility. We owe ourselves and the future generations the decency to act right, to be responsible and be socially just in our dealings.
The workshop was conducted in different formats i.e. group activities where gender roles as perceived by communities contribute to SRH concerns, presentations by guest speakers: consent as a topic on sexuality, safe abortions, HIV/AIDs, and social Responsibility in SRH, discussions on abortion and legal provisions on the same; the take of the youth on this topic, role play on how social norms and cultures contribute to SRH injustices especially SGBV, demonstrations on various contraceptive methods; how they are used, how differently they work and discussion on whose responsibility it is on the contraception methods to use.
Keywords: SRHR, Social Responsibility, Contraceptives, Sexuality Education and Health Advocacy.