Host: welcome to the indi-genius podcast. A podcast series using creative oral storytelling to document and share real life experiences of grassroot 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 travel to the town of Doman Nasarawa State, North central, Nigeria where we look at the story of our youth champion Ummanah Peace. This is her story; let’s go.

Champion: I believe every young person should be able to decide when, where and how they would want to have children so they can live better and healthier lives. I started my career when I got posted for my National Youth Service Corps also known as NYSC and when it was time for NYSC government to share and allocate PPAs that’s places of primary assignment they did not have enough organizations to post us to so they told us that if you had any organization in mind you should put it down in writing which was what I did and attached to my documents. It so happened that I got accepted into Society for Family Health after going through an exam and also an interview. I was opportune to work on the Adolescent 360 project which was where they met the needs of adolescent girls aged fifteen to nineteen, through the provision of contraceptives allowing them to achieve their life’s goal. When I joined the organization, I worked as a program officer and I was exposed to the lives of girls and adolescents in the communities where we went to. There’s also an aspect of the project that focuses on life skills, building these girls up, allowing them to economically empower themselves through family planning. The role of family planning in economic empowerment allows them to confidently space their children, while focusing on their businesses and their own children which they already have. A particular case that made me proud of my work was the case of Zainab; a nineteen year old girl with two children in the community of Domah, Nasarawa State, North Central Nigeria who did not have any money to cater for herself and her children. She told me of how her husband has two other wives apart from her who have other children. Whenever she asked him for money he always said he didn’t have, or he found an excuse just not to give her because he could not only meet her needs but the needs of his other wives. It was until she came in contact with our facility and learned a skill and took up a method to properly allow her focus on growing her business and taking care of her children. The skill she learnt from our facility was the soap making skill which she took advantage of and began selling liquid soap in her community. She became so famous from selling that liquid soap that everyone in the community began to identify her as Mama liquid soap. She told me of how she could finally afford Ramadan clothes for her children as it was a hassle whenever it was time for Ramadan and she saw other people dressed up looking beautiful with their children, but she could not do that for her children due to the economic status of her family. Zainab was able to make an informed choice on how she wanted to grow her business, plan her life and achieve her economic goals.
What I have learned is that there are so many adolescent girls and young women who have children that they are either not ready for or they are not economically empowered to take care of themselves and those children, and whenever I asked how this happened, I get answers like “I did not know.” “Oh I thought it was not going to happen.” “Oh, I took salt and lime.” Like I get so many answers and I’m shocked at the answers people give to me because that is the information they have been exposed to. I also get responses about people not knowing about the type of contraceptives that are available. Some of them also said that availability to these contraceptives is not as easy because some of them do not have the financial resources to pay for contraceptive methods as any out-of-pocket expense will be detrimental to their finances.
I would want my listeners to be more aware of the modern contraceptive methods that will enable you plan your life and help you plan your economic goals while having a safe sexual life. I believe that every young person should be able to decide when, where, and how they would want to have children so they can live better and healthier lives. I would like to call on the government to provide access to more family planning information and engage more civil society organizations in the implementation of contraceptive commodities and services. The stronger your women, the better your economy.
I am Peace Umanah and this is my indi-genius story.

Host: wow this is such a great story Peace. You know it is important that we continue to promote family planning because this is essential and this would also bring about economic empowerment and a sustainable society. And so it makes women even more powerful and it gives us a better society. Yes we can have access to more information about family planning and sexual and reproductive health in our societies.
Dear listener, we want to hear from you. What have you learnt from today’s story please share your comment and questions in the chat box. Thank you for listening to the indi-genius 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 and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Pitch is created and managed by the Knowledge Success project with the Johns Hopkins University. The 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 reflect the views of USAID, The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, The US Government or Johns Hopkins University.
The featured soundtrack is by Advanced Universe. Don’t miss an episode; subscribe to apple podcast, google play, spotify and co or wherever you get your podcast and turn on notifications. If you liked today’s episode like, rate, review, download or share. Follow the indi-genius podcast on instagram at indi.genius_podcast. I N D I dot G E N I U S underscore podcast.
Thank you for listening.

soundtrack

CALL TO ACTION
● We call on the Government to offer contraceptives through a wider range of providers to better meet the needs of adolescents and young women as some often prefer accessing contraceptives through pharmacies and drug shops which are more convenient and discreet than health clinics.
● A lot more awareness and sensitization on reproductive health and family planning should be carried out in every community in the country.
● Family planning methods and contraceptives should be given out free of charge to women who go to government hospitals and health centers.

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