Busiku Handema Reflects on the Movement Building Forum

The movement building forum on SRHR was very interesting just from the preparation we were told to expect respect and that is what we got. To begin with getting people to sign the petition on “free sanitary wear in Africa” the response was great from my community everyone I approached said it is a good idea.

The forum was very interesting from the first day to the last. We were warmly welcomed by the team, the room, the food and the sessions we had were amazing, and especially those I got to participate and interact with different people. Ending child marriages session, here I helped on the research concerning solutions to end child marriages. I also enjoyed the contraception and family planning here we got to understand the relationship between family planning and SRHR. I liked prioritizing the students SRHR here we had an interactive session were different experiences were pointed out.

Furthermore breaking the silence on uncomfortable conversations I learnt what these are. I liked engaging men and boys to end GBV. Additionally I liked celebrating regional SRHR campaigns and creating joint advocacy and solidarity in fragmented spaces. Here the speakers were really passionate about this forum and were able to point out interesting issues that affect them personally and was never discussed #expecting respect. On child marriages I liked the fact that FGM was brought up and we were able to watch a video on how a Gambian woman Faji fought this practice in her community and country, it showed this is what a lot of girls and women are living with everyday due to traditional and religious beliefs. Consequently I liked the fact that during the session’s young women pointed out that any man who works for SRHR should never be a perpetrator therefore should lead by example.

This forum was really yielding I had a lot of take always and lessons, I will point out. To stop the culture of silence, when it comes to SRHR it’s not about what will sell or benefit me individually. There is need to criticize those religious and traditions that violets one‘s SRHR not following blindly. We need to admit that if there is no education and proper sensitization policy does not work. There is need for collective action and ways that is, personal commitment, empowerment, use of social media and change of mindset, speaking out whenever you are given a platform. Accept the fact that gender inequality affects everyone. To be conscious of own privileges, also the need for healing spaces as they are important for people to speak out about things that affect them personally.

I would like to say thank you for this rare opportunity SRAN, all the organizations and all the individuals that took time out of their busy schedules to prepare this forum, I will treasure it, I am grateful – I will try  to share these issues that are affecting  Africa  by speaking out on SRHR.