Felicitas Bergström, sakkunnig på RFSU, har träffat Kennedy Mudala, som arbetar med sexualundervisning på skolan NECT Education Trust i Choma, Zambia. På Kennedys skola är de flesta barn föräldralösa eller har en förälder som har dött till följd av aids. RFSU arbetar tillsammans med den zambiska organisationen PPAZ (Planned Parenthood Association of Zambia) i ett program som bland annat handlar om sexualundervisning och sexuell hälsoservice för ungdomar (http://www.rfsu.se/sv/Internationellt/Samarbeten-och-projekt/Zambia/).
Hello Kennedy, please explain how you first became involved with PPAZ and how you became interested in becoming a peer educator?
I first found PPAZ not out of interest but curiosity. The “Planned Parenthood” phrase in the organizations name did not attract me as a youth at that time. My joining in 1999 happened when a friend of mine, who was a member, invited me to take part in a drama performance they were going to present at a meeting. At the meeting I learnt that PPAZ was not only meant for parents, as the name may imply, but also young people. Teaching others has always been part of me at home, church, school etcetera and when PPAZ selected me for a training I took the opportunity to exploit my potential.
How have you benefited personally from the experience – as a young man, peer educator, trainer and teacher?
My benefits from the involvement in PPAZ/YMEP activities are many! I changed, in a positive direction, my view of girls and women, I am socially and sexually responsible and I have built a lot of self confidence due to the role model status I have in my community. I have also gained leadership skills due to of the various positions I have served. As a teacher who deals with youths everyday, my handling of youth related matters has changed, today I reason freely with them regarding issues of concern like abortion, HIV, aids, sex and drugs.
How do you use what you have learnt in your work today?
What I have learnt assists me in counseling pupils whenever they have burning issues. I also talk about sexually issues with my fellow teachers during staff meetings. And I encourage other teachers to talk about sexuality issues with their pupils.
Kennedy asks the boys in class to imagine that they are girls and the girls to imagine that they are boys. The task is to reflect on how they would want to be treated if that was the case.
Have you seen changes in the students (boys and girls), school and community as a result of the programme?
Yes, I have and I will try to give you some examples. One is that students are now very free to talk about sexuality not only in the Youth Club but also during non compelling situations like break time. Another is that the pregnancy rates rate has dropped – in 2009 we only recorded two pregnancy cases. Also the number of pupils asking me about counseling and testing for HIV and other sexual and reproductive health services has increased. And with the introduction of the PPAZ Centre in Choma, it will serve their needs! I have also noticed that during discussions, boys and girls are now able to proudly say it is possible to be in a relationship without engaging in sex. A lot of boys are now changing their perception of who a real man is. If you asked them some years ago they would have told you that a real man is one with multiple sexual partners, one who beats his girlfriends, one who makes girls pregnant. Today being a real man is considered very different from this.
The pupils are between 10-12 years old, many of them orphans, and often because their parents have died of AIDS.
Why is it important to work on sexual and reproductive rights issues in your community?
I work at a school for orphans and vulnerable children, children that at many times cannot tell you about abuse of their rights they do not know what it means to have rights. Most of them have been raised in homes/societies were early marriages, rape, physical and emotional abuse and gender violence is the order of the day and a “normal” part of life. This is why the YMEP programme is very important!
Text: Kennedy Mudala /Felicitas Bergström.
Bilder: Agneta Falck