No Condom Demonstration Allowed

October 3rd, 2016 by | Tags: , , | No Comments »

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In the past couple months, I hosted several more Sexual Reproductive Health workshops.  In this post, I am going to share two of the workshops because I was faced with a similar issue at both workshops.  One workshop was done with a large group of deaf people.  Regina Awafe, a deaf interpreter who also runs a deaf group, brought in 22 deaf people.  While at all Sexual Reproductive Health workshops, we do condom demonstrations which includes putting a condom on a banana, condom demonstration could not be done at this workshop because we were on a church premise.

Like the HIV prevention workshop, which was done several months ago, administering the tests were difficult due to their very low literacy levels. This was because of their lack of exposure to language when growing up. Regina did her best to help them translate the words to sign language but the results still show that most could not grasp the language on the tests. For example, on the post-test, majority of the females circled “yes” under the question “If your partner said, “No” to sex, is it OK to force your partner to have sex?” Thus, I cannot provide the results because they do not show what knowledge they have truly gained. The most important thing is that they were truly attentive and interested by asking several questions. There were also some heated discussions about sexual consent.

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The other workshop was done in partnership with a local organization.  Antonia Bih, one of my work partners who volunteers at my host organization, Coordinating Unit of Association of Persons with Disabilities, put in me in touch with Adah Mbah, the founder and executive director of Women of Hope and we coordinated a sexual reproductive health workshop for 25 women and girls, both with and without disabilities. We were also not able to do condom demonstration for religious reasons. In this case, there was a large group of Muslim girls and they would not permit the demonstration due to their religious beliefs.

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On the pre-test, 10 scored 70% or better and on the post-test, 12 scored 70% or better.  Two scored 90% or higher on the pre-test and four scored 90% or higher on the post-test including one 100%, which that person scored 92%.  There were some noticable jumps.  10 scored 8 to 10 points higher on the post-test than the pre-test.  It’s important to note that four did not complete the post-test.  What is interesting to point out is that 6 females circled “yes” to the question “If your partner said “No” to sex, is it OK to force your partner to have sex?”  Three of those who circled “Yes” on the pre-test, circled “No” on the post-test.  One of them circled “Yes” again on the post-test and two didn’t respond on the post-test.

In Cameroon, while the population is very diverse with a percentage of people being Christians, another percentage of people being Muslims and a percentage being animist, many of those who are Christians and Muslims take their religion seriously and therefore, sometimes we have to make adjustments to our education to respect their beliefs.

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