Our inspiring team of women peacebuilders in Liberia have recently begun hosting women's circles aptly named, Girls With Open Hearts. Their aim is to support women leaders and to bring awareness to issues in the communities that directly or disproportionately affect women. Past topics have included domestic violence and abuse, Ebola and disease awareness and teenage pregnancy. This months gathering in the Lawalazu Road Community focused on the latter topic, inviting young girls to share in the fruitful discussion. everyday gandhis team leader, Esther T. James reports on the meeting.
Girls With Open Hearts participants and their children gather for a group photo
The Girls with Open Hearts group continued their community sensitization on teenage pregnancy with the Lawalazu Road Community on June 27, 2015. Among the eg women who led the meeting were, Hawa Kamara, Saybah Kullie, Kpanne Yenego, Esther T. James and Korpo Akoi. We all made a strong contribution, providing advice and encouragement regarding this issue.
The sensitization campaign attracted nearly 40 participants, which included young girls between 15 and 20 years. It was a unique gathering where our women brought the discussion of teenage pregnancy. Many questions arose during this discussion including: What is the cause of teenage pregnancy? How does it affect teenagers and the community at large? And what should be done in order to stop teenage pregnancy in our communities?
Throughout the discussion, participants were able to give their views on the various questions raised. A majority said that teenage pregnancy is a result of a lack of proper parental care and that teenagers who become pregnant suffer tremendously due to this lack of support. The participants said they do not have proper support or education in their homes. As the discussion continued, we gave them advice on how teenagers should be properly cared for especially those mothers to the teenagers. We also encouraged the use of contraceptives that would prevent pregnancy.
Later, the group head in Lawalazu Community, Madam Kumba J. Boima shared her experience saying that she was once a victim herself and expressed how she suffered and had many challenges during that period. For instance, she could not go to school for more them two years. A lack of education and increased levels of poverty are all too common patterns for young parents.
Madam Kumba presents her experience to the girls of Lawalazu
Esther T. James, the head of Girls with Open Hearts continued to encourage mothers of teenage parents to make sure their own children are informed about the difficulties that come with being a young mother so that they do not become pregnant when they are not yet mature to have a child.
In the end, the Lawalazu girls and women extended thanks and appreciation to the team for the visit to their community and many of them asked that we provide them with family planning support and continue educating their children to prevent themselves from early pregnancy.
-Esther T. Jamaes, eg Girls with Open Hearts