Bensah Gifty is 15 years old and a form three (3) student at Ho Dome R/C Junior High School. Initially, she does not want to be part of a school club that teaches sexuality and child rights lessons. “I thought it will not benefit me in any form to belong to this club besides I am always warned not to delay coming home after school”, she said.
Gifty comes from a Christian home. Based on their religious beliefs, Gifty’s parents follow a pattern of life. “My parents will not like to see me associating myself with others perceived to be bad children They think I may be influenced to adopt their bad behaviors”, she said. It was difficult for Gifty to join the WSWM club whose activities take place after school.
What then is the WSWM?
The World Starts With Me (WSWM) is a computerbased, rights-based, Comprehensive Sexuality Education programme designed for in- and out-ofschool youth between the ages of 12 and 19 years. The WSWM has 14 lessons curriculum that combines Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) education with building IT skills and creative expression.
The project is being implemented by Savana Signatures in 14 schools in the Northern and Volta Regions of Ghana and supported by RFSU. Gifty is among other peer educators of the WSWM project who are assisting their peers to access SRHR information and linking them to service providers in the Ho Municipality.
“We organize community and school sensitizations or exhibitions for students and parents. We hope to get every young person talking about sexuality and making the right decisions regarding their reproductive health”, she said.
When my parents finally learned more about the WSWM project that it does not encourage young people to engage in sexual intercourse, rather it prepares young people to avoid behaviors that could affect their physical, economic, emotional and educational development they encouraged me to continue the campaign on SRHR to benefit more young people.
This project is unique and participatory that activates and build young people’s confidence.
Having been impressed by the positive impact of the WSWM, Gifty’s parents have compromised their family values a bit.
“Now, I am allowed to participate in and discuss issues about sexuality. My parents are happy that I have gained in-depth knowledge about sexuality”, Gifty said. “Before joining the club, I was not happy with my physiological makeup particularly my height. My friends used to mock at my height which used to disturb me a lot but not anymore”, she said.
She will always isolate herself from her peers in school to avoid being mocked at. “Because of this, I will not mingle in school, I was always sad”, she said. “The most significant change I realized after participating in the WSWM project is that I no longer feel shy in discussing sexuality issues with my peers”, she said.
she added “I can now mention sensitive parts of the human body such as the vagina, penis, and breast easily.
It was difficult mentioning these things before I join the WSWM project”, she said. Gifty now opens up to her class teacher, parents and friends anytime she is menstruating.
“I am feeling good about myself now. The knowledge I gained from the WSWM project is guiding me against teenage pregnancy and peer pressure. Many of my friends who are not part of the club are expressing interest in joining too”, she said.
She appealed to Savana Signatures to not only increase the number of the WSWM clubs but expand to cover the entire student body in Ho Dome R/C JSS.
Gifty likes the methods used to facilitate the WSWM 14 lessons and hope that all her school teachers will join and adopt the facilitation style.
“What I like most about the WSWM project is that, you learn through games. The style of facilitation combined with games makes learning interesting and fun. The WSWM is a life changer”, she said. Gifty has fallen in love with her books and aspiring to be among the top brilliant students in her school. She wants to be a great woman in the near future. Dowmload Cotober october-newsletter-2016 to read more.