In the month of March 2016, under the Gender and Health Budgets Programme, ZWRCN embarked on a series of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) workshops in two districts of Mutoko and Shurugwi. A number of SRH education workshops were held in 5 Wards each in the above mentioned districts targeting women between the ages 18-65. The training workshops aimed at providing life skills and sexual health information using various approaches as well as increasing SRH awareness among young and mature women and their communities. Among the topics covered, the facilitators tried by all means to influence positive health seeking behaviours and ability of women to make smart life decisions.
The women were taught the basics of sexual and reproductive health beginning with the important topic of knowing their own bodies. It was puzzling to note that most women both the young and the mature were not aware of the functions of some their reproductive organs. The training also focused on personal hygiene and cleanliness where the women were taught the importance of hygiene as it relates to sexual and reproductive health. The facilitators also took time to educate the women on cancers of the reproductive system, sexually transmitted infections and behaviour change. The training sessions were very interactive as the women were really eager to know more about these topics.
However, ZWRCN noted that most young women failed to attend the training workshops as they were mostly attending to household chores and the few who attended were not as participative as the older women perhaps because they lack knowledge in the specific topics or maybe they felt voiceless in the presence of their elders whom culturally they regard as mothers and grandmothers. This was not a good thing as most young women suffer because of lack of knowledge of their sexual and reproductive health rights. It was also very disturbing to note that most women due to cultural beliefs thought that they were created to please men and therefore there do all sorts of life threatening practices such as using herbs on their reproductive organs which are very dangerous and in some cases lead to cervical cancer. ZWRCN will continue working with women in these two districts providing SRH education as it is very important in women’s lives.