Friday, February 21, 2014

Peer Educators in Doti

As part of the United Mission to Nepal (UMN) program on Integrated Community Development, we have been engaging youth in peer educator training for adolescent sexual reproductive health (ASRH). Last week I was in the far western region of Nepal in the district of Doti with two other UMN Health Team staff, Anu G. and Anu B. To conduct these trainings with child club members in grades six to nine from six schools. The mixed-gender component included the topics of self-esteem, my changing body, sex and gender, STIs and HIV, communication and life-skills and dialogue about the anonymous question box queries.
Students discussing modes of transmission of HIV

Anonymous question box
In this region of Nepal, the practice of Chaupadi (certain purity restrictions during menstration) can often inhibit the ability of girls to attend school. We spent extra days with girls groups to dialogue about their fears, embarrassment and worries and conduct training on menstrual hygiene which culminates in sewing improved washable pads.

Discussions at Rampur Higher Secondary School
Disposable pads are available in the market here, but they are relatively expensive, embarrassing to buy and difficult to dispose (they must be buried deeply to prevent animals digging them up and they decompose slowly). Of the 50+ girls in our trainings this week only 6 are purchasing disposable pads. The rest are using the standard practice of a folded cloth. The main disadvantage of this is that it doesn't stay in place well and makes it uncomfortable and difficult to walk to school or play games. To counter this, we introduced an improved washable pad that they can sew.

Improved washable sanitary pad sewing supplies
Several of the girls don't have scissor at home and so the activity of tracing a pattern onto the cloth, cutting it out and sewing the pocket together was a new challenge. But, working together, everyone was able to complete their project and took home the completed sample as well as a pattern to teach others. Included in our training this week also were three deaf girls and one blind girl.
Tracing patterns and cutting

Girls with their completed "improved washable sanitary pad"
We are also offering a parallel training to youth leaders of the church in Nepal called Christian Family Life Education (CFLE) that incorporates values articulation for decision making, protecting myself from harm, contraceptives & family planning and dialog about equality in marriage and equal valuing of boy and girl children. A short video about CFLE is available from the UMN YouTube channel.


Orangeblossoms said...

This is great, Katherine! Particularly the work with girls so they can go to school when they are menstruating! Rock on!

Kelly said...

Wonderful work, Katherine! Thanks for sharing!

Judy said...

The news of UMN program will be broadcast throughout Northern California. Thanks for you faithfulness!