By Sabrina- Hold My Hand
Educative, fun, and enthralling: the words I’d use to describe this event. The 3 day Sex-Ed and Reproductive Health workshop was organized by Hold My Hand Nepal, a student network group, in collaboration with Marie Stopes International, Sunaulo Parivar Nepal from 29th-31st July, to break social taboo regarding sexual and reproductive health, with due respect to cultural norms, with the following objectives in mind:
The workshop allowed the participants to acquaint themselves with their sexual and reproductive health, and rights. The participants learned quite a lot about reproductive anatomy, their sexual and reproductive rights, puberty, pregnancy, safe sex, sexuality, sex and gender, healthy relationships, and consent. It wasn’t quite the traditional way of learning, per se; it was rather fun and practical.
Our participants and volunteers had expected a few lectures accompanied with yawns, but to our surprise, we had a more hand-to-hand learning experience. We had some really interesting and argumentative group discussions on gender equality, and sexual and reproductive rights. The most rewarding part of these discussions was getting to hear multiple opinions and solutions to one issue. A lecture on these would’ve probably resulted to a more one-way thinking, but group discussions not only let you hear multiple opinions but they also result in a broad-minded approach to thinking.
Moving on from gender equality, and sexual rights, it was time for our soon-to-be advocates to learn a little more about reproductive anatomy. How did they learn about this? By using their creative minds to use whatever they had around them to create, beautiful, 3D, larger than life-sized genitalia. Not something you get to do in a classroom, is it? Huge 3D genitals sound fun, don’t they? After reproductive anatomy, it was time for the much-anticipated topic: contraceptives. Obviously, we did learn about them in a traditional way too but we did experience it in a more real life manner. A huge picture of the female reproductive organ was made on the floor and our participants were given the tasks of condoms, sperms, IUCDs, ova, and the task was as simple as placing themselves where they belong, and doing what they’re meant to be doing.
Apart from all the fun and learning, the participants had a chance to speak their minds in an hour long safe space conversation each day. They put forward questions about things like if they are masturbating too much, or if it’s okay to not masturbate, how to deal with relationship issues, is there a right way to having sex etc. They also spoke their minds about how they felt regarding judgments on sexual preference, orientation, and the decade-long debate over pro choice or pro life etc.
Though 3 days isn’t a long time, our participants did learn as much as required and more for them to soon be able to advocate people regarding sexual and reproductive choices. We got to see a lot in three days, empathy rolling down the cheeks while watching an upsetting documentary on abortion in rural areas, passion screaming from mouths while speaking about gender inequality, concern squinting in the eyes while talking about contraceptives, but most importantly we saw eagerness to learn, and willingness to make this world a better place.
At the end of the day, all the objectives of the workshop were met. We also received positive feedback from the participants saying, they did learn a lot, loved having the chance of speaking about the issues they felt dearly about, felt comfortable in the company of like-minded and open-minded people, enjoyed the food, and themselves. After all, it’s not every day that you get to channel your inner condom, sperm, ova, and uterus, say penis as loud as you want to, and openly say your clit is your best friend.