Let’s talk about it! Africa Interactive creates series on sexuality issues for Rutgers WPF

In Nyanza, a small village close to the Rwandan capital Kigali, around fifteen boys and girls sit opposite of each other in a classroom. Girls giggle as the boys share their thoughts on how to treat a woman in bed. “I think you should talk with a girl so you know what she likes and dislikes, it should be the boy that has to relax the girl before they have sex.”

This is one of the scenes from the video-series ‘Let’s talk about it’, produced by Africa Interactive on behalf of Rutgers WPF. Research for the project began end of 2010 and this month we delivered a DVD containing six inspiring episodes. These videos are produced in cooperation with our local crews filming in Rwanda, Mali, Malawi and Bangladesh and local partners of Rutgers WPF.

Six episodes to kick-start discussion

During six episodes of 5 minutes each, young people from all around the world discuss issues like sexual pleasure, respect in relationships, sexual diversity, condoms, HIV-tests and abortion. These videos are combined on a DVD which is distributed to all the partners in the participating countries so peer-educators (working with Rutgers WPF) can use the material to kick-start their sessions with young people. The goal of this project is that young people start talking about it!

Safe abortions in Mali

Another episode shot in Koulikoro, Mali. A youth group debates whether safe abortion is OK or not? “In our society and religion we cannot abort a child because it is seen as murder… when the girls tell about it, they’ll have huge problems at home”, one female participant explains. What comes out of the discussions is the big difference between an unsafe and safe abortion. “An unsafe abortion is done with sharp objects, it can cause wounds or transfer HIV or other diseases”.  The girls speak out: “The advice I want to give to my sisters… if you are going to have an abortion, you should have a safe one”.

Being gay in Bangladesh

During a workshop in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, about 30 peer educators working with Rutgers WPF, come together to talk about sexual diversity.  You would think since they are trained to talk it comes easy, but that wasn’t the case. In the beginning of their careers at Rutgers WPF the peer educators had to face their own prejudices. “We had a hard time to deal with gays, we avoided them and thought they were abnormal”, a girl explains. After learning and talking about sexual diversity, the group realizes more that ‘it is not a choice to be gay, it is in your nature”. But still: “…most gays are hiding.”

Working with local crews on ‘touchy’ subjects

For us at Africa Interactive it was very important that we work with people who have an open mind regarding the sensitivity of the subjects. We focused on some of our young and experienced reporters: for instance in Rwanda the crew already made a docu-soap about sexuality and love.

Villant, one of our best local producers in Malawi, filmed the episode in Malawi. She is a real ‘power woman’ and while coordinating the job with her (subject: respect in relationships) she let us know how she feels about men and violence. “Girls like me will never take that!” Villant was in charge of the shoot and arranged a whole village to play a role in the video as a young bride and groom walk down the isle. “I just stood in the middle of the village and said: who wants to be in a film?” Everybody came out and joined in!”

We are very curious to hear the feedback from the young women and men who participated in the videos and will watch all the six episodes at home or during work sessions. I’m sure they’ll have a lot to discuss!

View all videos on the website of Rutgers WFP!

Annamara Hamersma
Content Manager Africa Interactive

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