YMCAs believe that equal rights play a crucial role in the fight towards gender inclusiveness and equality. One of the focuses of the YMCAs in Nairobi is to strengthen women and adolescents’ rights to information and access to resources that increase their sexual health and rights. Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights is a part of the weekly Kenya YMCA Power Space sessions at National Training Institute (NTI), a YMCA-driven TVET College in Shauri Moyo, Nairobi.
On Wednesday 8 March 2017, YMCA commemorated the International Women’s Day by dedicating a session to education about contraceptives, in collaboration with Family Health Options Kenya (FHOK).
Family Health Options Kenya is a non-governmental organization that offers youth- friendly services to young people, free of charge or at low cost.
Three volunteers from Family Health Options Kenya facilitated the sessions that included information on various types of contraceptives and family planning methods, and information about STDs and STIs. Students were also informed on where to access their clinics for services and counselling. During the sessions, the NTI students, who were about 40 in each session, were free to ask questions about contraceptives and STD/STIs, contributing to breaking myths around condom use and other contraceptives, as well as around HIV/AIDS. NTI, in collaboration with FHOK, tweeted during the day under the twitter handles #InternationalWomensDay, #BeBoldforChange and #GlobalGag – a twitter handle created in response to the reduction in funding for organizations providing education and services in sexual health.
The 2017 International Women’s Day was also commemorated with a Women’s forum on 4 March at the Kenya YMCA Shauri Moyo Branch; by women and for women. Dubbed “the Confident Woman”, it was an all-women’s forum. A safe space for women to discuss the experiences and strengths of a woman, obstacles faced by woman in a male-dominated world, and how to gain the strength to be a confident woman.
The idea of the forum originated from a previous panel discussion on Female Genital Mutilation at YMCA South C Branch in February, where the participating audience agreed that women needed to discuss about taking back their power- “women to women”. The forum was hosted by Esther Muruiri. Thirty (30) women attended the forum, to discuss the journey of a woman socially, economically and spiritually. Women in leadership roles were also discussed, as well as sexuality and women.
YMCAs are committed to empowering young people for the African Renaissance through promoting gender equality and inclusion for the holistic transformation of their communities, nation and the African continent.