Host: Welcome to the indi-genius podcast. A podcast series using creative oral storytelling to document
and share real-life experiences of grassroots family planning leaders in Nigeria and the Republic of Niger;
with the aim of facilitating knowledge exchange and highlighting what works and what doesn’t in
reproductive health programming. I am your host Seyi Bolaji, on today’s episode, we walk through the
town of Ikorodu in Lagos State, Southwest Nigeria. The hometown of our youth champion, Idowu
Ayobami Elizabeth. This is Elizabeth’s story, join me.
I welcome you all to my community, this is the city of Lagos. We are currently in Ikorodu town, my name
is Ayobami Idowu Elizabeth. Our host has introduced me to you all already. I am a teacher but I would
like to tell this story in a language that everyone will understand and that is pidgin English which some
people call broken English.
I would like my story to address three major issues. The first one which surprises me is the most in my
community as a youth champion, and when I say youth champion I mean someone who talks about how
to improve a person’s sexual and reproductive health rights.
Sexual and reproductive health rights are the things one needs to know about one’s body and about
giving consent to sexual activities. Another issue I want my story to address is; that all parents should be
open to their children and guardians open to their wards. So that these children that are kept in our care
would be directed correctly on when to give their consent and so these children will be open to sharing
when things are wrong with them, as well as seek advice.
Like I said before, I am a teacher and I teach junior class students. What is a junior class you might ask?
so from JSS1 to JSS3 is junior class. One day, I was in my staff room and two of my girls ran to me, they
said, ‘please Ma, come and help us, something is happening’. At first, I was scared that it was a situation
that we would not be able to handle but when I got there, I realised that it was just basic ignorance that
caused the issue.
What happened was that I saw two girls beating up each other, so I called them by their names,
‘Teminioluwa and Fisayo’ and asked them who started the fight. Fisayo then tells me she began the fight
because she could not tolerate the way Teminioluwa cheated her. So I asked her what she was cheated
on, and she told me had been having menstrual cramps and this is what brought me to the specific
question that I want my story to address in the minds of everyone.
Can sex stop menstrual cramps? Sex cannot stop menstrual cramps but Teminioluwa told Fisayo that
there was a permanent solution to her menstrual cramps. She assured her that this solution will bring a
lasting solution to her menstrual cramps. Since Fisayo didn’t have anyone to confide in, she agreed.
Fisayo then went over to Teminioluwa’s house. Teminioluwa on the other hand had already hatched out
a plan with her brother to have sex with Fisayo. After having sex, Fisayo went home not knowing that she
would get pregnant. Fisayo continued to have cramps monthly, on the 3rd month when she could no
longer tolerate the cramps, she confronted and picked a fight with Teminioluwa.
If Fisayo was open to her parents about how she felt and the advice she had been given or if she had
friends, who were the same age as her, who were more knowledgeable about Sexual and Reproductive
Health Rights, and knew that having sex cannot end menstrual cramps, she wouldn’t be in the situation
she was in.
I want to appeal to parents with this story, to be open to discussion with their children. I also want to call
on our government to allow people and organizations to address young children in schools, and be open
to them, not feeling like these children are too young to be informed. If children can’t get the right
information, they would look to their peers who might give them the wrong information.
I call on the government once again, and teachers as well, to not keep necessary information away from
children because it will be useful to them. If you decide to keep information from them and they get to
find out from strangers, do not be surprised.
All these things made me decide to become a youth advocate for people within my age range, those
younger than me and even those older than me. If we are all aware of these things, we will move
forward in life, our society will be easier to live in and we will be saved from embarrassment. Unlike
trusting a friend and making a mistake that would hunt one for life, like having a child one will resent in
future. Thank you.
Host: Wow! Such an interesting story from Ikorodu town, Elizabeth. I’d like to clarify that what Fisayo was
experiencing is called implantation cramping and not menstrual cramps; and it happens during the first
trimester of a pregnancy. This story emphasizes the fact that knowledge is power and we must all get
involved in ensuring that every girl no matter where she lives, has access to accurate information on
sexual and reproductive health. This is non-negotiable and this is for the overall good of society.
Dear listener, we want to hear from you, what have you learned from today’s story? Please share your
comments and questions in the chat box.
Thank you for listening to the Indigenius podcast.
This podcast is brought to you by Strong Enough Girls’ Empowerment Initiative in partnership with the
Young Ambassadors for Reproductive Health and Family planning network in Niger. It is made possible by
the support of the American People, through The Pitch season 2, a competition co-sponsored by the US
Agency for International Development(USAID) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The pitch is created and managed by the knowledge success project with Johns Hopkins University.
Information provided in this podcast is the sole responsibility of Strong Enough Girls’ Empowerment
Initiative and the Young Ambassadors for Reproductive Health and Family planning network and does
not necessarily represent the views of USAID, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundations, the US
government or John a Hopkins University.
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1. We appeal to parents to be open to discussions with their children and patiently listen to them
instead of yelling and judging them on issues related to their reproductive health.
2. The government should expand the provision of quality sexual health education in schools by
updating the FLHE curriculum and implementing CSEs.
3. Training and workshops should be organized for parents, community leaders, teachers, and
health care workers by the federal government and NGOs to help people understand and
address the complexity of adolescent lives