Friday, September 7, 2012

Again with the pamphlets!

Looks like more pamphlet folding lined up for today. The pamphlets themselves are really interesting though, I'll get to that. I suppose I should explain a little bit more about what exactly I'm doing here and how this organization works.

So for those of you totally out of the loop, I'm getting a Masters of French Studies with a concentration in international development from the University of Wisconsin through their Professional French Masters Program. As part of the degree requirement, one must intern abroad in a French-speaking country. For the most part, this means France; however this year we do have a few people in other countries. (Haiti, Canada, Congo-Brazzavile...etc) So I'm here for three months to work for a women's health/rights organization called RENATA.

RENATA works mostly with young girls who experience teenage pregnancy, but they really do a lot of other things as well. Their biggest thing is the formation des tantines. Essentially, they go into regions and find teenage mothers who they believe are qualified to counsel others, and they train them to open up an association in their region where they counsel girls on matters concerning sexual health. This includes pregnancy, rape, incest, breast ironing, and a boatload of other issues. It's pretty efficient in the sense that you hire people who understand the problem very well already and they open the associations are autocratic, so there is not a lot of intervention from the main group. They also work on other projects outside of the associations on things like gender equality and birth control.

That being said, the pamphlet that I've been folding is for kids in elementary school. It's essentially a mini coloring book entitled "Prevention des abus sexuels sur les enfants dans les ecoles primaires et maternelles" (Prevention of sexual abuse of children in elementary school) It still shocks me occasionally that incidence of sexual abuse is so prevalent in young children here that these pamphlets are necessary. They include activities like "Color in the parts of the body where you don't want to be touched!" And "BooBoo is sad because somebody touched him and he did not want them to. When are you sad?"

The pamphlet also includes a section on gender equality and how girls can grow up to be the president or a lawyer or anything else and how boys can help out around the house! It's all very interesting, but again, it kind of takes you aback when you realize something like this is necessary.

1 comment:

jennyp said...

I am glad you explained your internship here elena. It helps me even understand the organization better. I will have to talk to you about what I can donate to them. love you much, Mom