By Foday Moriba Conteh
As part of their efforts towards equipping women with disabilities on sexual reproductive health rights in the country, Inclusive Change Makers Sierra Leone Chapter with support from Children’s Rights Innovation Fund, Purposeful and One Family People has on Tuesday 8th June, 2023 concluded a one day engagement with 25 women and girls with disabilities on improving access to sexual reproductive health right. The one day engagement was held at the One Family People’s Head Office on Congo Cross in Freetown.
Speaking during the ceremony, the Team Lead for Inclusive Change Makers Sierra Leone Chapter, Monica Y. Galiwa, said that Inclusive Change Makers is a group of young persons with disabilities who are in Sierra Leone, Kenya, and Rwanda
She added that the group came into existence during the 10th Africa Conference on Sexual Health Rights, a landmark moment that brought together feminist activists, Governments, UN Agencies, development partners and civil society from across the continent to learn, connect and build consensus to end violence against women and girls in our lifetimes convened by the African Federation for Sexual Health and Rights, and hosted by Purposeful in partnership with the Government of Sierra Leone and international collaborators.
Monica Y. Galiwa maintained that during the conference groups were asked to come together and pitch a project idea which will be funded for implementation, furthering that they decided to come together and pitch a project idea Access to Reproductive Health Rights for Girls and Young Women with Disabilities without stigma.
She stated that they were fortunate to be awarded a grant in order to implement a project .
The Team Lead said that the one day engagement with women and girls with disabilities on improving access to sexual reproductive health right which includes sex education, access to family planning etc. is geared towards bridging the gap between these women and girls with disabilities and the various health centers in the country, adding that there has been a lot of concerns from women and girls with disabilities accessing the facilities which are not disable friendly and sometimes discriminated against.
She said that they are very pleased that representatives from some of these facilities were present at the ceremony of which they also made commitment towards ensuring that women and girls with disabilities have better treatment whenever they visit this facilities.
Monica Y. Galiwa called on participants to make good use of the knowledge acquired during the training in order to help educate other women and girls with disabilities in their various communities on improving access to sexual reproductive health right.
The Service Marketing Manager, Marie Stopes Sierra Leone, Fayia Foray, commended Inclusive Change Makers Sierra Leone Chapter for the laudable venture in bringing together women and girls with disabilities in order to engage them on improving access to sexual reproductive health right.
He said that it is evident that women and girls with disabilities need a lot of information when it comes to sexual reproductive health services especially the services provided by Marie Stopes Sierra Leone of which he described the engagement as a step in the right direction.
The Service Marketing Manager said that during the endearment he informed women and girls with disabilities present at the event on how they can access their services provided at their different clinics and outreaches.
He said that he further informed them that they can mobilize themselves in a team were their outreach team can provide some of their services especially family planning to them on a free of charge basis.
The Head of Family Planning Unit, Aberdeen Women’s Center, Hawa Koroma who was also in attendance also made statement of which she also made commitment towards supporting women and girls with disabilities on improving access to sexual reproductive health right.
Beneficiaries of the engagement used the opportunity to applaud Inclusive Change Makers Sierra Leone Chapter for the engagement which they described as not only important but very timely in helping towards improving access to sexual reproductive health right for women and girls with disabilities.
They assured all that they will put into practice all what they have learnt during the engagement in order to improve reproductive health among women and girls with disabilities in their communities.