[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.

1. AN ACCESSIBLE & SAFE LOCATION

SDP support sessions are located in accessible areas that are convenient to young women and girls, where safety and privacy is assured.

2. LEADERSHIP & PARTICIPATION

SDP offers inclusive and empowering spaces for women, and girls of all ages and in all their diversity. We aim to foster a sense of solidarity and ownership that can benefit them.

3. ACCURATE & RELIABLE INFORMATION

SDP aims to share and promote evidence-based information pertaining to sexual reproductive rights that is non-discriminatory, judgmental, or biased. The information provided and shared during workshops aims to support women, young women and girls make informed choices about their sexuality and their sexual health.

4. BUILDING TRUST

SDP cultivates spaces where women, and girls can openly share their experiences, challenges and traumas, and be assured of confidentiality and effective support.

5. HOLISTIC APPROACH

SDP values the livelihood of Sierra Leoenan women and aims to deliver services that respond to the life cycle of women, young women and girls. Education and economic empowerment are recognized as fundamental tools for empowerment, personal security and claiming rights.

6. INTER-GENERATIONAL CO-OPERATION

SDP encourages intergenerational sharing, mentoring and cooperation between women and girls of all ages. These supportive relationships are based on respect, equality among different age groups, with a focus on developing young women’s leadership.

7. PARTNERSHIP & ACCOUNTABILITY

SDP aims to facilitate ownership of ‘safe spaces’ that are permanent, reliable, and sustainable, for women, young women and girls in Sierra Leone. We are cultivating partnerships with local, regional and global actors to advance women’s rights in our society.

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[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.

The Survivor Dream Project (SDP) is an organization based on community-generated solutions, dedicated to supporting women, girls and young men who have survived post-traumatic events. Our aim is to implement sustainable and impactful social change within their communities, where it matters the most.

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