I’m playing my part by speaking up and encouraging young girls like me to speak up about sexual reproductive health issues, and advocating for comprehensive sexual reproductive health and rights education for young people.
WRA Nigeria not only encouraged young girls like me to find and speak in our authentic voice, they were willing to provide a platform for my voice and that of other girls like me to be heard.
My name is Maryam Ahmed and I am a Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights activist. I became interested in White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria during the Action 2015 campaign. In Nigeria, it is almost a taboo to talk about sexual reproductive health in public. One has to talk in hushed tones and scripted speeches not to offend people. I was moved by how interested they were in listening to young people’s views and needs. WRA Nigeria not only encouraged young girls like me to find and speak in our authentic voice, they were willing to provide a platform for my voice and that of other girls like me to be heard. Right after the Action 2015 campaign, I held my first press conference in WRA Nigeria office supported by the WRA Nigeria team.
Two years later, in preparation to participate at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, WRA Nigeria supported a safe space dialogue on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights with about 30 girls in a remote community in Abuja. I had a few realizations that changed my perspective about life. Firstly, I was shocked that not too far away from my own house were communities where girls knew nothing about their sexual reproductive health and rights. This finding led me to realize how privileged I was to have the information I have, and if more girls had the right information, they would make better decisions about their lives.
For the first time in my life, I was able to see how these issues affect communities and the urgent need do to take action ensuring more girls could speak up. That safe space discussion opened my eyes to the realities of girls my age and gave me the courage to be even a stronger advocate. It was a defining moment for me and it was my proudest moment supporting WRA Nigeria.
Thank youMaryam Ahmed
for playing your part.