VISION SPRING INITIATIVES CELEBRATES INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2018!

Unsafe abortions are one of the most significant and preventable contributions of maternal mortality and morbidity in Nigeria. Research carried out by the Guttmacher Institute in partnership with the university of Ibadan, reported that 1.25 million induced abortions occurred in 2012 alone. On the other hand, evidence from a consultant OB/GYN at the University Teaching Hospital in Gwagwalada reported that unsafe abortions contribute to at least 13% of maternal deaths in the country yearly. He also reported that over 450,000 unsafe abortions were carried out yearly in Nigeria.

media personality from the Nation Newspaper asking a question

In the light of this discovery, vision spring initiative and the beneficiaries of its Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) training launched the #mybodymyright on the 8th of March, to commemorate the international women’s’ day celebration. We had two print media teams and one radio media present.

We had the honour of having the Chairman of Nigerian Union Journalists (NUJ), Dr. Qasim Akinreti. In his words he said womanhood is our pride. He salutes our courage and steadfastness in the pursuit of eradicating ancient laws that has handicapped our progress in the area of sexual and reproductive rights for women and girls in our country. He promised to partner with us to ensure the #mybodymyright reaches a wider range of girls and women in the country.

The press release statement was read by Imisi Johnson, one of the SRHR beneficiaries, she stated clearly the demands the campaign centres on and what is expected from the government after the campaign. Few of demands included:

  • Improved access to safe SRHR services by removing legal restrictions and ensuring that services are safe and accessible to all women who need them in a timely manner.
  • Address in a systematic way the various forms of abuse faced by the adolescent girl in the home and society.

Vision Spring Initiatives visits service delivery sites on the global fund project

Medical staff at Epe General Hospital explains their services to VSI staff
  • Vision Spring Initiatives partnering with POSITIVE ACTION FOR TREATMENT ACCESS and others visited a total of four (4) health service centres toward ensuring that robust services are provided to service recipients. Some of the services received at the centres visited include: Family planning, HIV Counselling and Testing, Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission, Counselling, TB treatment (DOT). Facilities visited include Onigbongbo LCDA, Oregun LCDA and General Hospital Epe. Some of the successes of the services provided as recorded by our staff include:
  • have strong referral system, treat all cases from other smaller units
  • Have record of all cases treated and registered monthly, sex and age disaggregated
  • Patients attended to timely and in a professional manner
  • Provide robust VCT services
  • Follow up with patients
  • Training beneficiaries are staff of the centre, so sustainability is ensured.

Some of the challenges recorded included the following:

  • Lack of drugs; there is constant drug stock out
  • Follow up is a challenge, there is high migration of patients
  • The protocol and processes before drugs are procured is worrisome
  • The current funding does not cover support group.

Capacity strengthening of 15 nascent CBOs in Lagos, Oyo, Enugu, Anambra and Imo states

Project Director of VSI explaining a point during one of the trainings in Ibadan Oyo state.

From February to November 2017, Vision Spring Initiative through consultancies built the capacity of 15 nascent CBOS on proposal Writing, governance, Safety and Security, Human Rights Education and Resource Mobilisation. These trainings were geared towards building the capacities of these organisations to support service delivery to its constituencies under the Global Fund new Funding Model.

Group exercise by participants during the governance training.

Vision Spring Initiatives hosts ending abortion stigma event in Lagos Nigeria

The goal of the project was to enhance beneficiary’s capacity on SRHR decision making and subsequently become advocates on SRHR issues at their various areas of influence.

The objective of the project which was collation of entries, award ceremony and training on ending unsafe abortion include the following:

● Promote sexual and reproductive health knowledge amongst adolescents aged 18-24.
● Partner with adolescents to end all forms of abortion stigma
● Create awareness on the challenges of unsafe abortion and build capacity and knowledge of beneficiaries to reach out to peers
● Enhance capacity of young persons to commence advocacy for repeal of negative abortion laws in partnership with Vision Spring Initiatives
● Increase knowledge on safer sex practices which will ultimately be stepped down to other adolescents, leading to reduced unsafe abortion and stigma.

VSI awards price to Tobi, best essay writer to end abortion stigma in Nigeria

Our greatest lesson was the desire of young people to be equipped with information. During the award ceremony, we had to spend extra two hours responding to SRHR needs of young people. We also realized that young people have been socialized to think that abortion stigma is necessary to stop young people from engaging in abortion.

Temidayo, a fresh student at University of Lagos wins the 3rd price to become an intern with Vision Spring Initiatives.

We are planning to make the event either a yearly or biennial event. The first prize of laptop computer was won by an undergraduate of Yaba College of Technology who is very excited to own a laptop computer to facilitate her course work. The second prize winner is a youth activist is really excited, while the third winner is a fresh undergraduate of University of Lagos and currently interning with the organisation. We will like to be able to do more in the coming year and keep building knowledge on safe abortion and how girls can support themselves instead of stigma.

Second price went to Josephine Aseme, a youth activist and Executive Director of Executive Director, Greater Women Initiative for Health and Right{GWIHR}. Here Ese receives the award on her behalf.

Poem by Tobi-First prize winner
I am unashamed:By Oluwatobi Ayodele
I am unashamed
I am uncompromising
I am bold
I am compassionate

I care for myself
I care for my health
I care for my future
I care for my family!

I walk out fearless
Fearless of the discrimination
Fearless of the hate
Fearless of the stigma!

Stigma that comes before abortion
Stigma that comes after abortion
Stigma that comes the month after and the year after
Stigma that stays for life!

But do you know I am a woman as you are?
That I have rights as you do?
That I have beliefs as you do?
That I have a future as you do?

And I need support not shame
I need comfort not comments
I need love not rejection
I need understanding not judgements!

And that abortion is safe
And it doesn’t make me less feminine
That abortion is clean and healthy
And it should be legalized not stigmatised!

Enough of the stigma!
Enough of the discrimination!
Enough of the negativity!
Enough of the hate!

Award winners celebrate with friends and well-wishers at the end of the ceremony which took place at Citi height Hotel, Ikeja Lagos Nigeria.

I stand to raise awareness of our rights and advocate for the adoption and implementation of laws and policies to legalize abortion in our country and mobilising girls and women against all forms of stigma!!!