“Society doesn’t expect young people to have sex, and reacts violently when they ask for sexual health services” – Omolewa Adedipe

"Society doesn't expect young people to have sex, and reacts violently when they ask for sexual health services" - Omolewa Adedipe

by Christiana Ibiwoye and Ayomitide Aina.

Today on Tell! Interviews, we have with us Omolewa Adedipe, a highly motivated sexual and reproductive health and rights advocate from Obafemi Awolowo University.

 

Welcome, Lewa.

 

Can you please introduce yourself

I am Omolewa Adedipe, user experience content strategist and final year medical student at OAU. I currently lead a group of about 30 students to advocate for sexual and reproductive health and rights at CHRI OAU.

 

So can you tell us a little about what CHRI does?

CHRI is short for Campus Health and Rights Initiatives. We work to improve the sexual and reproductive health and rights of students on campus through youth led advocacy and peer health education.

We curate youth friendly content for sexual health education and also provide youth friendly support in cases of sexual rights violation

 

Why would you say what you do is important?

Sexual health is not talked about enough in Nigeria, and for a community like OAU, it is remarkable how little people know about sexual and reproductive health. Young people are adventurous and prone to mistakes that are often costly, and therefore they need guidance. Young people are more likely to take advice from other young people like them, because they can relate more closely with their needs and challenges. Hence the need for a group like CHRI

 

Nigerians can be very conservative when it comes to talking about sex, what would you say is the most challenging part of trying to educate people about it?

Society doesn’t expect young people to have sex, and often reacts violently when young people ask for sexual health services, this has a negative effect on health seeking behaviour. Young people hardly go to hospitals for STI symptoms because they know the healthcare givers who are mostly condescending adults would judge them, so they’d rather talk to other young people like them because they think it is safer. This exposes them to wrong and sometimes, harmful beliefs.

 

What’s a common misconception people tend to have about their sexual health?

The commonest misconception I have personally come up against is the idea that unwanted pregnancy is the only thing to guard against. A lot of young people act like STIs aren’t a thing. They think everything is alright as long as they don’t get pregnant and that’s quite alarming.

What’s the most memorable encounter you’ve had while in CHRI?

My experience since the lockdown started last year. I have worked with a team of over 20 awesome individuals I’ve not seen, we have been able to complete exciting projects, and I think that’s pretty cool.

What do you love the most about your role?

I love the diversity, CHRI has 6 teams (research, editorials, media, logistics, training and helpdesk) and being coordinator means I have to be directly involved with all the teams. That has been really demanding but  extremely rewarding, I’m learning a lot.

 

If you had the opportunity to talk to every youth in Nigeria, what would you say?

what I’d like to say to every Nigerian youth “the past year has shown how incredibly resilient and resourceful we can all be and I’m proud of us. I hope that our spirits remain unbroken, and that we continue to find ways to innovate and solve problems in our society”.

How does CHRI get funding for operations?

Our work is funded through donations and membership fees. You can support our work financially at bit.ly/givetochri

 

How do we interact with CHRI?

Ask us anything about sex anonymously on curious cat: https://curiouscat.qa/Chri_oauife

Follow us on twitter and ig @chri_oauife

Read our blog: chri.com.ng/blog

Join us: bit.ly/joinchri


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