In 2014 Women’s Health West FARREP worker, Shukria Alewi, led a series of community consultations across Melbourne’s west with members of different African communities known to have high practice rates of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), such as those from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan. The consultations explored community perspectives about the sexual and reproductive health of young African Australian women.
The consultations identified that young African women who have undergone FGM/C require a tailored sexual and reproductive health project that responds to their different health, safety and wellbeing needs. The Caught Between Two Cultures Project was developed as a response to this need, made possible by the generous support of the Victorian Women’s Benevolent Trust.
The project included the delivery of a program for young African women that aimed to enhance their confidence, independence and capacity to make informed decisions about their health and wellbeing now and into the future. Caught Between Two Cultures: A young African women’s sexual and reproductive health program manual has been developed as a valuable resource designed to assist professionals delivering similar sexual and reproductive health education programs to young African women aged between 16 and 25.
The manual provides an overview of a seven-day program with activities and resources covering:
- Puberty, menstruation and respectful relationships
- Contraception and pregnancy
- Sexually transmitted infections and cervical cancer
- Body image and skin bleaching and toning
- Sexual decision-making, consent and FGM/C
- Leadership and advocacy
The manual also provides information on good facilitation techniques, the importance of cultural sensitivity, working with interpreters, and creating a safe and supportive learning environment.
For any questions about the project or the manual, please contact the Action for Equity Team Leader on 9689 9588.