After spending a good time in the needs assessment, curriculum design and logistics work, it was time to start the action! The first reproductive health training is to be delivered in Edfa, one of Sohag’s central villages.

We’re super excited to start the on-ground work, training Sa’idi youth on reproductive health and gender issues, empowering them to design community initiatives that spread awareness on a larger scale.

It was the first group in Sohag to receive the training, participants were from different parts of Edfa, yet the number of female attendees exceeded that of the male attendees; attributing to various reasons like the misconception that reproductive health is a female interest, the sociological pressure on males to provide money for their families, and the non-familiarity of the concept of volunteerism in Upper Egypt, especially for males.

This batch was really interesting and motivating, they were very enthusiastic to learn and interact with each other and with the trainers. As they are living in a village in Sohag’s city center, they were relatively more open to work in mixed groups. Their shared true stories were an added-value to the sessions as they reflected the reality they’re living and gave the sessions an emotional aspect, it went far to the extent that one of the female participants – in her mid-thirties, housewife with two children- started with tears in her eyes unfolding her disappointment in her marriage life and how she wished for a different path.
Having some participants who have previous knowledge in the field of reproductive health because of their past experience working in health messages and home visits (counseling), helped in building on their information and delivering the training messages to others who have no previous experience in the field. The training tools were diverse, ranging from interactive focus groups, open discussions, games and role plays which was preferred the most for the participants, through which they uncovered their talents and sense of humor.

Participants wanted to learn more about how to design an effective community initiative, and we were amazed by their level of interest in the project and in this topic specifically. Every time they shared a personal story with that unshakeable passion in their voices, we gained more confidence in our mission and vision. We discussed the most sensitive topics and participants -especially females- showed great open-mindedness and full interest. This encouraged us not to separate between male and female participants throughout the training and it didn’t affect the level of engagement in the hot topics discussed.

The initiative design workshops were fruitful, the participants came up with really interesting ideas for the initiatives that would be implemented according to a wide-scale technique so as to cover most parts of Edfa village.

 

Sandy Raafat

Program Specialist