The goal of “Inclusively friendly SRHR” is advancing SRHR of youth with visual impairment ages 14 – 25 in Ethiopia through improving their knowledge in SRHR by developing Braille and Audio SRHR dictionary and shape coded menstrual cycle tracking bracelets. It aims to ensure that SRHR education is not only youth-friendly but also inclusive of youth with visual impairment. The project will develop an SRHR dictionary in Braille and audio and Menstrual Cycle tracking bracelets that are shape coded. The target groups are high school students with visual impairment supported by Together! Eshet Children and Youth Development Organization (ECYDO) and College students with visual impairment supported by Tsehay Zewde memorial scholarship at Addis Ababa University. It will extend for 1 year. The project will be conducted by Mahlet Alemayehu (M.D), Youth Champion 2019, along with youth from different sectors including disability advisors, Medical Doctors, and students with visual impairment supported by Together Eshet Children and Youth Development Organization (ECYDO) and Tsehay Zewde memorial scholarship showing the importance of applying a multisectoral approach to advance SRHR. Through the project, health care professionals and health care leaders will also be trained on addressing the barriers youth with visual impairment face within health institutions.
Braille SRHR Dictionary with stories
Most SRHR information materials remain to be inaccessible for youth with visual impairment in Ethiopia. Even when the information is accessible, the terminologies are not clearly defined. The Braille and audio SRHR dictionary will bridge this gap. In order to make it engaging and youth-friendly, the Braille and Audio SRHR dictionary will start with the stories of the lives of a girl and a boy. Within their and their friends’ and families’ lives different SRHR terminologies will be covered including but not limited to bodily changes during puberty, Consent, Gender-based violence, different forms of contraceptives, early pregnancy, safe abortion, barriers for youth with visual impairment, and sexual and reproductive rights. The different terminologies within the stories will be linked with page numbers for definitions on the following Braille dictionary pages/ time on an audio dictionary.
Shape Coded Menstrual cycle tracking Bracelets
The shape coded menstrual cycle tracking bracelets will help youth with visual impairment to understand their menstrual cycles. Color-coded menstrual cycle tracking bracelets have been used in different parts of the world since 1989 but they remain to be inaccessible for people with visual impairment. The shape-coded menstrual cycle tracking bracelets will replace colors with shapes making it accessible for youth with visual impairment. Different shapes will represent different phases within the menstrual cycle. The knot will have two long ends for easy tactile perception and will be used to designate the time within the menstrual cycle the girl is on. For example, if a girl will start her menses tomorrow, the knot will be before the beads that represent the days of her menses. Let us say star-shaped beads will represent days of menses and round shaped beads will represent the days right after her menses. Every morning the girl will pass one bead over the knot. On her first day of menses, she will pass the first star-shaped bead over the knot, on the second day of menses she will pass the second star-shaped bead over the knot, and so on. When she feels and counts how many star-shaped beads remain after the knot and before the round-shaped beads, she will know the number of days that remain before she finishes her menses. This works for the other phases within her menstrual cycle as well. The bracelets will be made with the youth with visual impairment by asking them about the duration of their individual cycles. The bracelet will also help them to understand their cycles further including when ovulation occurs and the fertile interval within their own individual cycles. A Braille manual that comes with the bracelet will be developed. The bracelets are going to be made with the youth with visual impairment in a workshop with volunteer facilitators. Sanitary napkins that are enough for a year will be provided for each of the 100-female youth with visual impairment along with the cycle tracking bracelets.