Ghana’s law on abortion is considered one of the most progressive in Africa. However, statistics have shown that the number of unsafe abortions keep on increasing at an alarming rate mainly because of the stigma surrounding abortions.
This was one of the reasons for which, the Youth Action Movement-Ghana, had to design and implement the peer2peer project, which was aimed at tackling abortion – related stigma on the University of Ghana campus.
At the Africa Region Youth Forum, I had a discussion with the participants and delegates on the project. I explained to them, the law on abortion in Ghana. They were shocked at the fact that despite the liberal abortion law in Ghana, women and girls still opted for unsafe abortions. I explained that in the Ghanaian society abortion and conversations surrounding it are regarded as taboos subject area as such it is difficult for the law to function effectively.
On the peer2peer, I illustrated the need for the project, how it was implemented, it’s successes and the challenges faced.
Peer education and social media (Facebook, tTwitter, Whatsapp, YouTube) were the most powerful means of reaching the students of the University of Ghana with information on Comprehensive Abortion Care (CAC), as well as the law on abortion. With the use both social media and the traditional media (T.V and radio), the project reached at least 2,017 people.
At the end on the project, through an end line survey, we gathered that knowledge on safe abortion and the law had increased which in turn led to an increase in the number of people who said that they would not stigmatize individuals who may have had an abortion.
I shared my personal challenges with the Youth Forum. The name-calling and stigmatization that I personally went through by implementing this project wasn’t at all easy.
Participants were curious to know how I dealt with such frustrations during and after the project. The answer to that was simple; “Was the name-calling worth it? Well, yes it was! In the end I would have saved one more girl from an unsafe abortion that could have cost her life. As long as it’s worth it, I’m cool with it.”
The Youth Forum gave me an amazing opportunity to share this success story and I am ready and willing to share it anywhere at anytime over and over till all abortions are kept safe and legal!