[who we are]
[investing in the sexual reproductive rights of Sierra Leonean youth]
The Survivor Dream Project’s (SDP) Sexual Rights & Innovation program is rooted in creating ‘safe spaces’ for women, girls and young men in Sierra Leone. The initiative to establish this program was driven by the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak that saw the loss of over 4,000 lives nation-wide.
The development of Women and Girls’ Safe Spaces (WGSS) is a key strategic intervention for the protection and empowerment of women and girls who were disproportionately affected by the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone. Over the last ten months, SDP has provided support-network sessions for a group of twenty young women and girls who survived Ebola as part of the WGSS program. SDP is committed to establishing ‘Safe Spaces’ in Sierra Leone’s current context, and beyond, as the country emerges from a humanitarian and post-crisis context.
A safe space is a formal or informal place where women and girls feel physically and emotionally safe. The term ‘safe,’ in this context, refers to a space where women and girls, being the intended beneficiaries, enjoy the freedom to express themselves without the fear of judgment, oppression or harm.
[innovation in sexual
rights & well-being]
The Survivor Dream Project (SDP) is aware that the laws and policies that govern sexual and reproductive rights in Sierra Leone will evolve and change over-time. The pace at which this will occur does not guarantee the self-agency, growth and safety of young women, girls and young men in Sierra Leone.
SDP therefore aims to develop a ‘Light Up Hub’ which will allow participants in the program to come up with their own solutions for building a sexual rights & well-being discourse, in addition to combating sexual violence in their communities.
The ‘Light Up Hub’ will incubate social-innovation driven ideas and will support their implementation in the six-months following the initial phase of our Sexual Rights and Innovation program. All participants of the sexual rights and innovation program are encouraged to develop community-designed and led solutions.
[why does sexual rights education matter?]
In many societies of developing countries, women have limited spaces to meet as public spaces are often largely inhabited by men. Traditionally, women’s responsibilities include taking care of children, cooking, carrying out household chores, and generally looking after their family. While these roles may be modified during crisis, during which women may find themselves working or becoming the breadwinner, they remain responsible for the household nevertheless.
In Sierra Leone there has been a significant increase in rape and sexual assault cases largely attributed to the outbreak of Ebola. This rise in sexual violence can be attributed to closing of all schools for over a nine-month period, socioeconomic limitations and lack of effective punitive action against sexual violence perpetrators. Traditional and religious attitudes also perpetuate Violence Against Women and Girls (WAWG) and discourage open discussion of sexuality. Consistently, evidence shows that Sierra Leonean women continue to have limited control over their sexual and reproductive lives, nor are they able to make informed decisions, as they continue to lack access to adequate information and quality Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) services.
The Survivor Dream Project (SDP), is determined to improve women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights has developed a comprehensive sexual education program for young people between the ages of 13-30.