Happy Birthday Watipa

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Today is one year since Watipa Community Interest Company was officially registered in the UK. So we have celebrated the day with a chocolate cake…. and the launch of our YouTube channel, that profiles 5 of the first Watipa scholars.

Watch, enjoy, eat some cake and celebrate with us in your part of the world today!

Want to reduce stigma? Move a building!

IMG_8402 copyConstruction, urban planning and stigma reduction to ensure access to medicine for people living with HIV are not obviously linked. Yet in one part of South Sudan, space and the layout of buildings may in fact be key for enabling more people to test and receive the life saving treatment they need if diagnosed positive for HIV.

I listened today to a healthcare worker talk about the sites where a potential client at his facility – in one of the regions of South Sudan – may experience stigma or discrimination during a typical journey to test for HIV.  Continue reading “Want to reduce stigma? Move a building!”

A different type of ball: Reducing teenage pregnancies through soccer

IMG_8212One of the best things about being a lady in Uganda is that you are the in charge of a home; as an adolescent you are trained to have a high sense of responsibility and critical decision making skills. A typical day is to wake up and prepare for school, and prepare the little ones (young brothers, sisters, cousins) as well. After school is a routine of house chores and home work.

Raising a lady in Africa also includes tackling gender biases that are seconded by the myths and misconceptions surrounding areas of sexual reproductive health. Take for instance that a girl cannot shake hands with other people during menstruation or that a girl cannot ride a bike or play soccer because it may affect her virginity.

Having spent time at three Grassroot Soccer centers over the last few weeks, my view has completely widened on how sport and gender can bring about gender equity and influence mindsets to reduce the transmission rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted illnesses as well as unintended pregnancies amongst adolescent girls and young women. Continue reading “A different type of ball: Reducing teenage pregnancies through soccer”

Happy Africa Day! Young people are our leaders of today and tomorrow…

18620183_2282994858592301_6116508137057125130_nWatipa’s Advisory Group member and friend, Georgina Caswell-Chiluba, had this to say for Africa Day today… celebrating and calling to harness the power of the energy, creativity and passion of young people.

Georgina’s vision has been profiled on This is Africa (TIA), a forum for Africans, by Africans, to reclaim identity, heritage and the continent’s rightful political, economic and cultural position in the globalised world and in the global consciousness.  Continue reading “Happy Africa Day! Young people are our leaders of today and tomorrow…”

Experiential learning: more than words

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We have just finished a brilliant fortnight working with Grassroot Soccer, an organisation that aims to harness the power of soccer to connect young people to the information, health services and mentors they need to thrive. The workshops took place in South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe to support the expansion of the focus of Grassroots Soccer to include a comprehensive approach to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), and adolescent health and well-being.

Sport can be a powerful tool for personal development, and also tackling some wider social and interpersonal concerns for young people.  Continue reading “Experiential learning: more than words”

Meet a scholar: Prudence Chavula, Malawi

IMG_8157My name is Prudence Chavula and I come from Malawi. Growing up in a community that doesn’t support girls education has taught me to value education as the only thing that can empower and transform a female’s life. 

I consider myself an agent of change, committed to the regeneration of my community and addressing the needs of my community. I am passionate about promoting education for all, especially among women and to reduce inequalities, prevent HIV transmission, end child marriages and reduce unplanned pregnancies. With that in mind, I do a number of philanthropic activities in my community. 

Continue reading “Meet a scholar: Prudence Chavula, Malawi”

#SRHR Matters!

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) is critical for the health and well-being of adolescents, particularly for girls and young women. The headline in the Guardian newspaper today is: “Pregnancy problems are leading global killer of ​​females aged 15 to 19.”

Maternal and reproductive ill-health are the leading cause of death globally among females aged 15-19, with self-harm in second place, a new report released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has found.

Continue reading “#SRHR Matters!”

Cambodia: Buy Social

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Did you know that eating a meal could also give someone the chance of an education? Or having a good night’s sleep in a hotel could support a vocational training programme?

Everyday we all make tiny decisions and transactions about spending money. Each time we make a purchase, do we take a minute and think about where we buy our goods and services from, and the positive or negative social impact of those decisions? Do we consider if the materials are recycled or recyclable? Or if they have been sourced ethically and/or are Fairtrade? Or if we are spending money with a business that is giving something back to the community?

Continue reading “Cambodia: Buy Social”

The thoughtful traveller

IMG_6603Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
~ Robert Frost, poem titled The Road Not Taken, 1916

It is a real privilege to travel. Many people never have that luxury – to have the time and the resources to journey somewhere unfamiliar, and to smell, taste, listen, experience a world that is different from every day life. Continue reading “The thoughtful traveller”