Sep 5, 2017

Equipping Adolescents For A Future With Zero HIV Infections Through The Myquestion Service

Educating Adolescents on the MyQuestion Service
Educating Adolescents on the MyQuestion Service

''… thank you for saving my Life yesterday", a 17-year-old female from FCT-Abuja. (A text message from a girl who has been helped to make an informed decision).

Our vision is to ensure that young people in Nigeria reach their full potential using youth friendly approaches to provide information and counseling on sexual and reproductive health and engage them in positive activities capable of growing their potentials and building their skills.

This quarter has been overwhelming as we have been reaching out to adolescents and young people in various ways as we share one of our interesting moments.

The aim of the MyQuestion service is to help provide adolescents and young people AYPs with sexual and reproductive health information and services on their own terms to help them make informed decisions. AYPs are usually faced with challenges around their sexual and reproductive health but have little or no access to accurate and non judgmental sexual and reproductive information. And so we seek out ways and avenues to reach out to AYPs with the right information and with the MyQuestion Service that is non-judgmental.

We participated in an annual programme organized by UNICEF for adolescents and young people between the age of 10-18 with over 150 participants in attendance. The theme for the programme was " Educating the children for a future without HIV and AIDS".  This gave us the opportunity to reach out to more  AYPs with the MyQuestion Service.

Various activities outlined were made interactive beginning with tips on personal hygiene. At various intervals in the programme, young people presented poems in line on the theme of the programme. The next activity was a quiz session about the transmission and  prevention of HIV. 

The Quiz question was " A recent research on HIV found that young people below the age of 25years have _______ % of HIV prevalence in the world " with options to choose from. A girl provided the right answer as 50%. A follow up question was thrown back to the audience to find out reasons why this was so.

The young people discussed at length, giving reasons such as peer influence, lack of parental care and lack of sexuality education. This bring to mind that young people when provided with the right tools and information are capable of influencing their peers positively, and using the information provided to make informed decisions. This what the MyQuestion service aims to achieve.  After this we had question and answer session, they asked their questions and we provided responses and introduced the MyQuestion service to them to ask more question at their convenience.

During the Question and answer session a boy wanted to know if it were possible for HIV to be transmitted through foods and drinks, if an HIV infected blood was introduced into them.

 Just to mention a few. 

 

Children and adolescents were grouped according to their ages. One very interesting part was the group discussions where adolescents between the age of 14 – 18 were grouped into four and asked to discuss on the topic “Should young people seek their parent consents to get HIV testing. Why or Why not?” This was very interesting because one would have thought that young people would want to go for HIV test without parent consent, but 70% of the adolescents were of the opinion that young people should seek parental consents before they get HIV testing with reasons such as:

  • Parents are capable of providing their wards/children with counseling to be emotionally stable
  • Parents can help to be proactive in ensuring that the others are not infected if the child tested positive.
  • Parents would provide their wards with support and care needed.
  • Parents are more enlightened, therefore, are in a better position to provide adequate care and support to the concerned child/ward.

However, 30% of the young people were of the opinion that they could get HIV testing without their parents' consent as not all parents are understanding adding that they could relate the result to their parents when  necessary. This percentage felt that parents might judge them if they say they want to take HIV test and hence their reasons.

While facilitating the group sessions we careful to listen to the adolescent's concerns so that we can devise more innovative ways addressing their through the MyQuestion service.

To ensure that they understood how to use the MyQuestion Service we had practical sessions demonstrating how the sexual and reproductive health information could be accessed using the MyQuestion Service.

Days following we received calls from participants of the programme.

Here is one of the calls we  received from a disturbed 15 year old girl " If a Girl is in the university and a boy who is in the cult approaches her for a relationship, what should she do?"

Another call froma 12year girl old who participated in the programme wantedto know why people say the phrase "ladies first" in her exact words " is it that girls are better than boys"

We have been reaching adolescents and young people with sexual and reproductive health information in many fun ways and through various media, such as; Facebook, bulk SMS, radio programme, quizzes etc, and we have been getting feedback from young people who have accessed the service and were satisfied with the it.

“I didn’t know it works so fast. Thank you for your prompt response”, a 20-year-old female from Benue State.

“Thanks for your valuable service and counsel”, an 18-year-old male from Ondo state.

We reached over 1400 AYPs with the MyQuestion Service and we will continue to do more. We have been able to do all these and helped more young people make informed decisions through your benevolence.  GRACIAS! to all our donors.

Practical demonstration on how to use the service
Practical demonstration on how to use the service
Providing them with informative materials on MyQ
Providing them with informative materials on MyQ
Facilitating a group session with adolescents.
Facilitating a group session with adolescents.
Jun 5, 2017

DEBUNKING MYTHS AND EDUCATING ADOLESCENT GIRLS ON MENSTRUAL HEALTH AND HYGIENE MANAGEMENT

Debunking Myths around menstrual health
Debunking Myths around menstrual health

"Thank you! For educating Nigerian girls." Female 15 Kaduna state.

This was a message from an adolescent girl that took part in one of our outreaches.

On the 28th of May we joined in the global commemoration of Menstrual Hygiene Day with the theme "Education - Education about menstruation changes everything". We worked around this theme educating and providing factual information about menstruation. We participated in this global campaign to provide accurate information around menstruation because, we get a lot of questions around menstruation from girls and young women on the MyQuestion Service platform. There are so many myths about menstruation out there and talk around menstruation is seen as a taboo, many adolescent girls and young women have made mistakes that have had serious impact on the sexual and reproductive health.

Even though we have been providing information about menstruation through the MyQ service, we understood that it was an opportunity to do something more. So we carried out social media campaigns on Twitter and Facebook to educate, inform and debunk myths around menstruation.

Myths such as

                     Menstrual pain will stop when you have sex.

                     Menstruation will first start when you have sex.

                     Menstrual blood is bad blood and is dirty.

Just to mention a few myths.

We also partnered with a Faith-Based-Organization (FBO) to provide adolescent girls with information about menstrual health/hygiene and how it relates to their sexual and reproductive health. The girls were drawn from different secondary schools and were about 70 adolescent girls all together. We taught them about menstruation, how to calculate their menstrual cycles and we showed them a video on how to fix and dispose of a menstrual pad properly. Also some myths around menstruation were identified and debunked. The girls were also given the opportunity to ask questions, and we were able to provide them with right answers to their questions.

Some of their questions were

" why is it that a girl will see my period in the first week of a month and she will see it again on the last week of the same month. Is it normal? It happens to me" From a 15 years old female.

We didn’t just tweet, post or visit schools we also were featured on a radio program.  On the radio program we talked about menstruation, menstrual hygiene and debunked myths around menstruation. We also advocated for better sanitation in schools,  availability of good toilets and water so that girls can feel comfortable in school especially when they are menstruating. By providing better sanitation, girls would be less likely to miss school whenever they are on their periods.

We also seized the opportunity to create awareness for our 3-in1 menstrual health and hygiene app "DIVA" that allows girls to track the menstrual cycle, learn about menstruation and ask questions.

The aim of our activities was to enable girls and young women to feel free to ask questions around menstruation through the free My Q platforms and they did.  We received 100 questions and counting.

…And the questions kept coming on the MyQuestion platform

" I am 17years old now I started my period last year when I was 16years old. But my period is not regular it comes sometimes after two months or three months what is the problem?

"I am 13 I haven’t started seen my period what should I do."

"How to take care of yourself when on your period … I am fourteen years old."

"tell me about good hygiene about menstruation" female 15 Abuja

Questions did not only come from girls but boys too

On our facebook page a boy asked "Which day is more likely for woman to get pregnant, during menstruation or after menstruation?"

The girls were happy that we came to their school and they expressed themselves through sms, facebook post and calls

A girl named Deborah posted on our facebook page, she said " Thanks for coming to My school"

SMS received on the Myquestion platform said

"Thanks very much for being able to answer all my questions From a 15year old female in Lagos.

"Thanks I was so worried when my period came twice in a month, now I know" 17 years  Female. Her next question was  "Can I ask another question on Menstruation" 

 …and sure she was free to ask more questions.

We are glad that we were able to provide information and counseling services to adolescent girls and young women that is helping them make informed decisions about their menstrual health and their reproductive health as a whole. 

These achievements were made possible through your kind donations and we truly appreciate the support that makes it possible to fill the knowledge gap of young people on sexual and reproductive health.

We will continue to help adolescents and young people lead better lives by providing information, services and stop stigma and shame around these issues.

A girl asking a menstrual health question.
A girl asking a menstrual health question.
Girl taking charge of their menstrual health
Girl taking charge of their menstrual health
Mar 6, 2017

One Million Questions Answered On Sexual And Reproductive Health.

Ways MyQuestion Service has helped young people
Ways MyQuestion Service has helped young people

"Thank you very much for answering my questions. This is the only platform I can pour out my heart. Female 16 Abuja".

It's Amazing! One Millions Questions answered, thanks to you.

One of the goals of this service is to  provide a platform for young people to ask the questions that they have about their sexual and reproductive health but are not able to ask out loud.

And this what we have been doing.

The MyQuestion and Answer service has received over ONE MILLION questions since inception and has been providing factual, confidential and non- judgmental information to adolescents and young people at no cost to the users.

Thanks to your support:

  • 40.2% of our users are young women and girls. They have used the service to ask questions about their sexual and reproductive health and rights.
  • 50.8% of our users are out-of-school adolescents and young people
  • The service reaches users in urban, semi-urban and rural areas in every state in Nigeria including some communities in Cameroon and Niger Republic.
  • Young people have sent their questions through various media platforms  such as Facebook, Web email in addition to voice calls and sms.
  •  59.56% of the questions answered were about sexual and reproductive health questions, 11.16% were relationship questions and 29.28% wanted general health information.

We reached out to our users through our annual evaluation and this is what they had to say about the MyQuestion and Answer Service:

Our users said that the service has helped them

  • Improve  their self confidence.
  • Improve  their relationships.
  • Improve their health practice and attitudes and
  • Improve  their access to STIs, HIV and SRH information.

And 77% of our users said that they were satisfied with the service they received.

They also said

"Thank you counsellor. Now I have confidence in myself, I go to places without fear of being discriminated on. God bless you" Male 18, Katsina

"Thank you very much for answering my questions because am very wise and know how to protect myself about some disease like HIV&AIDS and Hepatitis and others." Male 19, Kaduna

Success stories like these motivates us to do more.

With your support we are well on our way to answering a million more questions and are committed to helping more adolescents and young people make informed decisions about their sexual  and reproductive health.

You our donors made all of these possible through your kind donations, we truly appreciate your support.

Thank you.

Why young people us MyQuestion Service
Why young people us MyQuestion Service
Young people were satisfied with the service
Young people were satisfied with the service
 
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