In every country of the world, young people face similar challenges. This includes difficulty in exercising and asserting their sexual and reproductive rights due to their inaccessibility to the right information. Exploitation, inequality, violence, sexual coercion and neglect of basic health services prevent many young persons from acquiring the basic knowledge and freedom to control their sexual and reproductive lives.
In Nigeria, the scenario is the same, especially within slum communities in the country. These communities which are involuntary settlements provide homes to a large percentage of the country’s population, many of who are women and youths. It is evident that the greatest problems young persons living in these settlements grapple with are lack of correct information on their sexuality and reproductive health rights. This has resulted in an alarming rate of gender based violence, leading to high occurrences of assault, rape and gross violations of human rights.
In proffering solution to this issue, as a way to educate the young persons in slum communities in Nigeria, I will use the $1,000 Young Visionaries Contest grant to organize a public forum for young persons. The public forum would be held in Mushin Olosa, a slum community in Lagos State. The forum, which would be a pilot, would provide a platform for discussions on sexual and reproductive health rights of young persons. Experiences would be shared by young persons whose courage in asserting their sexual and reproductive rights transformed their lives and the lives of others in their community.
This program is aimed at bring about behavioral changes amongst young persons. They would be able to assert their sexual and reproductive rights in the face of violence and made to see an alternative to the culture of silence in the event of violation. As a follow up, funds would be sourced to carry out this program in other slum communities across the country. This would promote the sustainability of the project.