Education, Health, Inspiration, Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights
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Youth Voices on Family Planning: Networking, Memes, and the Internet

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Stories and Photos by: Luke Nozicka and Jennifer Gonzalez, The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

Women Should be Able to Choose When and How They Want to Start a Family

If Sarah McKee could speak to the world’s leaders about family planning, she would let them know that women should be able to choose when and how they want to start a family.

McKeeMcKee, 24, of Charlottesville, Virginia, a project associate at Management Sciences for Health who works with the Leadership, Management and Governance Project, said involving people that interventions are created for is crucial.

“Having everyone at the table and making sure it’s not tokenism, ya know?” she said at the fourth International Conference on Family Planning in Bali, Indonesia.

When asked what she wants to come from this year’s conference, McKee said she hopes “policy makers and grassroots delegates” network to help provide more comprehensive education and access to family planning.

One of the Best Ways to Connect Teenagers to Family Planning is Through Internet Memes and Videos

Judith Gomez, who has been a teen advocate program assistant at the Planned Parenthood of New York City since 2011, said one of the best ways to connect teenagers to family planning is through Internet memes and videos.

GOMEZ
Gomez, a 23-year-old Dominican woman from the Bronx in New York City, works with 10 teenagers to create relatable online content for youths as a way to teach them about sex and Planned Parenthood.

She showed several examples of this during the fourth International Conference on Family Planning in Bali, Indonesia on Tuesday, which included a meme of Ash Ketchum from the Japanese animated cartoon “Pokémon,” with the caption, “Protection. I choose you!”

Another was an image of the Simpson family from the American sitcom “The Simpsons,” walking down the street with the caption, “Going to PPNYC with squad.”

“Social media is a vital source to how young people communicate,” Gomez said, adding that it is “a free or low cost way to reach out and show young people that their health is important.”

I Want to Provoke Discussion Online and Discuss Issues on Reproductive Health

Patrick Segawa, who founded Public Health Ambassadors Uganda, a youth-led community organization that seeks to address sexual and reproductive issues, said his organization educates people about family planning through performance arts, such as poetry and plays. And sometimes, even flash mobs.

SEGWAOn Dec. 1, 2014, Segawa, 25, of Wakiso, Uganda, helped organize “the first World AIDS Day flash mob in Uganda” to raise awareness of HIV. The video of the flash mob can be seen here.

Segawa said he tries “to provoke discussion online and discuss issues on reproductive health” through social media. His organization, which has more than 2,100 followers and likes on Facebook and Twitter combined, produces short videos and shares catchy phrases in the hopes to educate people online.

Segawa, who has a bachelor’s degree in public health from the International Health Sciences University in Kampala, Uganda, said he met people at the fourth International Conference on Family Planning in Bali, Indonesia, who already knew him through social media.

“People tend to associate your name with what you post,” he said. “So by the time you get to see them, they know your face and are like, ‘Oh … I’ve seen your posts — you do great stuff.”

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