World Contraception Day focuses on empowering young people to think ahead and build contraception into their future plans, to prevent unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. It aims for a world where EVERY pregnancy is wanted.
It sounds simple, but it is actually more complicated than it seems. The young people we work with know almost nothing and what they do know is full of misconceptions. But they want to learn more. They want to know how pills and injectable contraceptives work, want to know if condoms are the safest choice.
Young women often don’t have the resources to buy family planning commodities and are even more embarrassed to buy pills or condoms, or even to talk about them with their boyfriends. Thinking ahead, and taking responsibility for oneself, are often not the cultural norm. Many of these younger women often feel that they have few choices about their futures anyway, so an early, unintended pregnancy would not make that much difference. But when given education and the space to imagine a different kind of future, , the old paradigms are thrown out the window. In this new context they can see what a setback an early and unintended pregnancy would be.
The idea of contraception really starts with empowerment. Women and girls must have self-respect, self care, and believe the idea that one actually can have a good future, and a future which one can create. That is why we work with young people on these personal levels. We help them identify their goals and figure out what they have to do to reach their ideal future.
That is why this World Contraception Day, we are in communities and high schools talking with young people about how to make decisions that will result in the futures they want.
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