Memoirs from Zanzibar : Training the Communities on Sexual Reproductive Health & Rights

I had the privilege of traveling to Zanzibar with CAC in June. Saraswati and I conducted training for five days on the grounds of a public library, in the shade of two great big almond trees. We worked with coaches from multiple organizations, including SDHO, an organization that works towards ending gender-based violence, normalizing menstruation, and educating about Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights. The partner organizations included WAJAMAMA, ZALHD, CYD, UMZ, Kids Space, the Zanzibar Library Services Board (ZLSB), and Baba Bora.

When we arrived in Zanzibar, we were warmly welcomed by SDHO’s Founder, Fatma Said. We were then introduced to the 15 coaches and administrators that we worked with over the course of the week. Saraswati and I conducted sessions every day, usually consisting of game instruction/playing the games in the morning and theory/discussions surrounding purposeful play and promoting productive conversations in the afternoon. Throughout the week, we were able to facilitate meaningful conversations about GBV and SRHR with the coaches, with the coaches leading sessions later on in the week.

Over the course of the week, I learned more about the coaches’ day-to-day lives, including home life and what their commutes looked like; as well as what their usual coaching sessions were like. We discussed cultural differences and similarities, and had in-depth talks about how our belief systems came to be and how they dictate different aspects of our lives.

At the beginning of the week, many of the participants were hesitant to share their perspectives on the topics we discussed, whether it be about GBV or SRHR. Throughout the week, there was a marked improvement in participation and by the end of the week, everyone seemed comfortable using their voice to engage with the group. It was especially rewarding to witness participants who were initially hesitant to even answer questions volunteer to lead games and sessions at the end of the week.

If you would like to connect with any of the organizations mentioned above, please contact CAC.

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