By Zoe Colgin
In 2016, Together for Girls launched the Every Hour Matters (EHM) campaign to increase awareness of the importance of quickly accessing post-rape care. We wanted to spread a critical but little-known message: every hour matters after rape to receive time-sensitive services, including post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent HIV, and emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy. But we wanted to ensure that this information was reaching young people. The Violence Against Children Surveys (VACS), led by CDC as part of the Together for Girls partnership, showed us that when young survivors do disclose about rape, they are most likely to disclose to a peer. So we decided to create a toolkit that arms young people with the information they need to guide one another to vital post-rape care resources.
The EHM Youth Engagement Toolkits are unique new resources created for the campaign. They include key messages and organizing tools designed specifically to guide youth-led organizations in delivering information on post-rape care to the youth populations they serve in the form of educational workshops.
In addition to providing information on the critical timelines for accessing post-exposure prophylaxis and emergency contraception after rape, the workshops also foster dialogue around gender dynamics, power structures, and stigma surrounding sexual violence, and they teach young people the importance of reacting empathetically to survivors.
What is most unique about the toolkits is that they were designed by youth for youth. Over the past year, 10 young professionals working for HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health, child counselling, and girls’ empowerment youth-serving organizations in Kenya and Uganda helped create and successfully pilot the toolkits. There is one for Kenya and one for Uganda. Though they were created with inputs from Kenyan and Ugandan youth professionals with those country contexts in mind, these tools can be adapted for other countries and regions around the world. Stay tuned for a replication guide, which will be available soon on our website.
This toolkit can be used to show young people how to properly respond to and support peers who disclose to them. Our hope is that it will be utilized widely and spark a movement of young people serving a critical role in supporting the health and wellbeing of survivors in their communities.
The toolkits can be found online at www.everyhourmatters.org.
Photo: Youth participants of the Every Hour Matters Youth Engagement pilot in Kampala, Uganda. Courtesy of Uganda Youth Development Link.