Art Can! Reaching Young People about SRH through Art

Adequate and appropriate information on Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) including HIV/AIDS, is fundamentally important to a healthy and productive life, especially for young people. As young people grow, they face important decisions about relationships, sexuality, and their sexual behaviours. The decisions they make can impact their health and well-being for the rest of their lives. Young people have the right to lead healthy lives and society has the responsibility to prepare them by providing them with comprehensive sexual health education that gives them the tools they need to make healthy decisions.

Creative arts refer to a range of activities that allow for artistic and imaginative expressions, such as music, art, creative movement, and drama. Creative arts engage young people’s minds, bodies, and senses. It inspires people to listen, observe, discuss, move, solve problems, and imagine using multiple modes of thought and self‐expression. Creative art in SRH is an approach that allows us to look at our life experiences and understand better why we behave as we do and the effects of our behaviours. It helps us find ways to improve our sexual health and develop habits that are safe and healthy for everyone. This is different from the types of health promotion approaches that gives young people direct rules and message. It also allows young people to analyse problems, generate and explore alternative solutions

Creative arts can play a range of roles in SRH programmes for young people; it brings people together and creates the opportunity for collective problem solving, stimulates discussion and critical understanding of sexual health concerns, allows young people explore their sexuality and query social and gender norms, develop individual and group skills and gives young people ability to have more control over lives, creates mutual support and positive peer pressure.

Recently, HACEY’s Safe Space organized a 3-day art camp for young girls from underserved communities in Lagos State. The Safe Space Art Camp used the BuildaBridge model for learning and taught the beneficiaries about leadership and career, sexual reproductive health and rights and life-skills through art.

 BuildaBridge is a non-profit arts education and intervention organization based in New York. Their mission is to engage creative people and the transformative power of art to bring hope and healing to marginalized communities in the contexts of crisis and poverty.

The Safe Space is a program that provides the opportunity for girls aged 14-20 to learn about their sexual and reproductive health, leadership, career and feel free to openly express themselves in a safe, confidential and non-judgmental environment.

By Mary Adeoye

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