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Young people do-it-themselves #4

Hello boys and girls. Mr and Mrs Rutgers are here to tell you what’s good for you. Forget it. Young people in developing countries are not just an important target group, they are our most valued colleagues. They are best at improving their situation. They get the knowledge and tools in the do-it-yourself store of Mr and Mrs Rutgers.

“The best way to reach young people is to involve them.’’

Arnold Nyaboga Gekonge (participant in the Kenya youth programme)

From nightmare to dream

The roots of a sexually healthy generation need sufficient nutrients to grow. These are lacking in many African and Asian countries. Because of a persistent taboo on the sexual needs of young people, they are excluded from good information and healthcare. As a result, all nightmares come true, such as HIV infections, maternal mortality and rape.

In the programme Access, Service, Knowledge (ASK), we train young people in developing countries to stop such nightmares. They develop information materials, educate their peers, campaign against taboos, lobby the government and evaluate the programme themselves. When young people are at the wheel, the activities meet their needs and other young people are easily reached. This yields a double harvest: more access to youth-friendly healthcare and a group of skilled young men and women.

Ethiopian young people (credits: Jeroen van Loon)

“Adults don’t have enough time and we can’t really have a good conversation with them about the things that matter to us. We feel more at ease among other young people. We lead the same lives.’’

(participant in the Senegal youth programme )

Going forward

With no fewer than two new programmes, Right Here Right Now and Get Up Speak Out, we continue to equip young people to stand up for their sexual rights and health themselves.

Flash lobby

Our DIY store also stocks photo cameras. We teach young people in Pakistan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Ghana and Indonesia to convey their message in images. The so-called PhotoVoice method encourages them to develop their own opinion and express it in a creative way. They use the visual arguments they have created to convince policymakers of the importance of comprehensive sexuality education and accessible healthcare.

Indonesian participants of PhotoVoice (credits: Athifa Rahmah)

Going forward

We continue to use PhotoVoice in our programmes and call on other organisations to do the same. This is supported by a new manual.

The world starts with young people

Young people are the best youth experts. That’s why they are given an active role in the development of each activity that is aimed at them. The digital sexuality education in our programme The World Starts With Me (WSWM) is no exception. In each of the twelve countries in which the programme runs, young people are involved in adapting the lessons to issues around sexuality that matter in their own lives. The programme itself too starts with them.

#Didyouknow the sexuality education programme WSWM has a special version for deaf or blind young people in Indonesia? #RutgersNL

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