Hello and welcome to SHE SOARS. Her Voice. Her Rights.
We are CARE Canada’s Youth Champions, a group of young people across Canada who are passionate advocates for Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights.
We’re excited to discuss and raise awareness about young women’s rights and choices in Kenya, Uganda and Zambia.
Together we will explore how these global issues connect to our lives as Canadian youth and discover ways in which we can all take action.
We will also talk about the SHE SOARS project, which improves access to health and education, which are areas we want to see change in.
Hello and welcome to episode one of the SHE SOARS podcast. We are the Youth Champions with CARE Canada and we’re six Canadian youth. Today we have Madeline, Amal, and myself, Lauren, and other members of the committee are Shannon, Nour and Mishika. I’ll start off by introducing myself briefly. I’m Lauren. I am from New Brunswick and I’ve currently spent the last year in the UK doing my Master’s in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies. Currently I’m working as a professional consultant for IOM Ukraine. In my free time I like hiking, traveling, and reading as much as possible. I’m excited to to work on this podcast. I’ll pass it over to Amal.
Thanks Lauren. Hi everyone. My name is Amal. I’m from Toronto originally but I currently live in Baltimore where I am completing my Master’s of Public Health. I’m currently working as a research assistant and ironically my project is based in Zambia where I’m doing HIV work. That’s a little bit about me and I’ll pass it over to Madeline.
Hello everyone. Before I introduce myself, I just want to say, I know people listening don’t know what my voice normally sounds like but it’s not like this. I have a bit of a cold so I kind of sound like I’m dying but my name is Madeline. I am currently living in Paris but I’m from Ottawa originally. I’m in Paris doing my Master’s in Global Health Policy and I’m also working in rare disease policy communications. In my spare time I also really like reading and crafting, like crochet and stuff.
Okay, cool. First we’re going to kind of dive into what we are as the Youth Champions and what project we’re associated with at CARE Canada. We are CARE Canada’s Youth Public Engagement Champions. We’ll just be referring to ourselves as the Youth Champions going forward. We are associated with the SHE SOARS project, which is a very long acronym, which we’ll be diving into later, but basically it’s a project that’s working in Kenya, Uganda and Zambia for Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights. The Youth Champions team was formed kind of as a counterpart to a lot of the youth leadership that’s on the Kenya, Uganda and Zambia side. We’re just going to be kind of engaging Canadian youth with this project and talking about issues of global Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights. Amal, I’m going to pass it over to you and you can maybe talk to people about what SRHR, Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights, means.
Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights – They’re kind of an important element of women’s rights. They stand for women having the knowledge, rights and ability to make their own choices regarding their bodies and their sexuality. Sexual and Reproductive Health activities can really vary depending on the setting or where you’re from. They can be educational, like providing safer education for sexual activities. They could be service-oriented like strengthening family planning services or contraceptive use. They can also be done in a healthcare setting, for example, introducing programs for Sexually Transmitted Infections. Lastly, Sexual and Reproductive Health activities can be in an advocacy focus, so working to amplify women’s voices in the community. Improving Sexual and Reproductive Health for young women and especially girls enables them to stay in school and advance their gender equality. Within this project, CARE Canada is working alongside global and local partners, healthcare providers, governments and communities to improve health services, provide accessible information and address root causes for gender-based inequalities.
Within the context of the SHE SOARS project, I think it might be good to speak a little bit more to what role, our role as Youth Champions, is and sort of what we’ve been doing so far. I know Lauren already mentioned that we’re really doing sort of public engagement, trying to draw attention to a lot of the issues that the project is working on. Really our role is sort of, I like to think of it as acting as a bit of a bridge in between the youth-led efforts that are happening as part of the SHE SOARS project in the three countries, in Kenya, Uganda and Zambia – between that and youth in Canada, whom are often maybe not as informed about a lot of the issues that the project is working on. Our role is really just sharing that information and drawing those connections to show other Canadian youth, our peers, why they should be invested in the project, how it impacts their lives, why it should be important to us as well as to people who live in those countries.
So far obviously we have this podcast. In addition to that, we’ve also been doing a lot of work on social media, so a little plug, you can see what we’ve been doing @carecanada on Instagram. We’ve been producing some sort of educational content just to explain some of the concepts and to draw those connections like I mentioned. You can also see there a SHE SOARS highlight so you can see that we have previously introduced ourselves on Instagram stories if you want to sort of put a face to a name, learn a little bit more about us on a personal level, and hear what my voice normally sounds like when I’m not sick. I think it would also be good if maybe we each say a little bit about how we became involved with YPEC and why we’re interested in being a part of this project.
I can start. I actually heard about the project from my mom. She’s very plugged into sort of social justice, sustainable development type spheres, that whole ecosystem online. She came across the call for applications for people to join the Youth Champions from CARE. She sent it to me because she thought it seemed like something I would be interested in and it really was. I’m very passionate about access to healthcare and health equity and like I said, I work in policy communications, so I’m also really interested in knowledge translation. It really just sounded like sort of a perfect thing for me to get involved in so I applied and here we are. Maybe Lauren, do you want to talk a little bit about how you came to be involved?
Yeah, thanks Madeline. I’ve been following CARE Canada on social media for quite a while now. I’ve been really interested in international development and kind of working in this space since I was in high school really. I’ve pursued a couple degrees sort of in the area, but I haven’t necessarily ever worked precisely like with gender equality and projects on that frontline. During my Master’s we had a lot of aspects of our courses that were talking about different gender vulnerabilities and things like that, and I got really interested in this side of things. When I saw this opportunity I thought that it would be a great opportunity to kind of bring my knowledge to the table about similar projects to this, but also I haven’t had any sort of hands-on experience.
I thought something like this would be just a really cool learning opportunity for me to see how a gender equality and kind of Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights project actually works, and also getting to work alongside some very smart ladies from across the country who know a lot about this topic. I was definitely right. I’ve learned a lot so far, and just have been spending most of my time so far with this project kind of developing the podcast a bit more and working on social media and some blog posts. Amal, do you want to take it away?
Yeah, thanks guys. It’s really interesting to hear how you both got involved with the project because I don’t think we had an in-depth conversation among our team about this. Personally, I’ve kind of been interested in the Sexual and Reproductive space probably since near the end of high school. My interest really comes from my experiences and my background, particularly through my family. We’re from an Eastern African country, so a lot of these issues that are presented in the project of contraceptive use, access to Sexual and Reproductive services, was something I did see when I visited our home country and seeing that within our family kind of sparked my interest to go into that academically. That’s like now in my studies. I’m studying a Master of Public Health and I want to focus solely on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights for adolescent girls. That’s kind of how I found myself drawn to this project and I thought it would be a really great learning opportunity to get involved in an advocacy space and see what organizations here Canada are doing and the various projects that they’re involved in. I think that’s kind of where I found myself wanting to apply and be involved in this type of project.
Nice. Okay, cool. So you’re probably wondering what this podcast is going to look like, like how long the episodes are going to be, who we’re going to be talking with, what we’re actually going to be talking about. I’ll provide a little bit more of that context now and I’m sure the podcast will kind of evolve as it grows. This is kind of what we’ve hammered out right now for what we are hoping that it will look like. We’re going to be releasing the podcast in 15 minute increments so make sure you subscribe to our channel for those releases. Some topics that we’ve kind of thought we wanted to focus on so far were discussing sex education and maybe how that’s looked across Canada and our experiences with the sex education system – also different kind of reforms and things like that and what it looks like globally.
Discussing healthy relationships and gender roles across the globe and within Canada, LGBTQ2IA+ healthcare access, maybe contraceptive use and access, period poverty and more. I’m sure that there will be opportunities for you folks to engage with us in comments so if there are things that you want us to look at, we’re more than happy to kind of take that into consideration. In terms of speakers and guests that we want to have on the podcast, we’re thinking kind of a broad range of people, but we’re thinking other young people across Canada, other young people from Zambia, Kenya and Uganda, people working on the SHE SOARS project in the partner countries and within Canada, different experts in this field, advocates working on SRHR and different service providers. Again, if there is anything that everyone is hoping to see, let us know. We’re more than open to that stuff. I guess we’ll give you a debrief of what you can expect in the next podcast. You can be looking forward to that.
I just wanted to add, in terms of hosts, I don’t think it’s always going to be just the three of us. We will be cycling through the other YPEC, the other Youth Champions, as well so you’ll get a chance to hear from everyone.
Yeah, thanks both of you for explaining about what our future podcast is going to look like and what topics we’re going to cover, which is really exciting. I’m really looking forward to going through all that. In the next episode of the SHE SOARS podcast, we’re going to be digging a little bit deeper into what Sexual and Reproductive Health really means, both in the global context and in the Canadian context. We’re also going to explain more about the SHE SOARS project, which is CARE Canada’s project that we’re all working on. That’s probably my cat in the background that’s meowing so everyone please disregard that. We’re just going to be talking about the SHE SOARS project, like what that project really wants to achieve and how that project is really taking steps to improve the lives of youth in Kenya, Uganda and Zambia. We’ll also be discussing a little bit about what YPEC really is doing on the project and other areas that we might be involved in so look forward to that.
Well that’s all from us for this episode but we’re looking forward to engaging with you in the comments. You know, give us a like and make sure to subscribe to our channel for next time and we’re really excited to see where this podcast takes us.
Yeah. Thanks everyone for listening.
Thank you everyone. Thanks for listening to SHE SOARS. If you liked this episode, please share it on social media, connect with us in the comments or give us a like.
Make sure to catch our next episode by subscribing to our channel and following us wherever you get your podcasts.
Follow @carecanada on Instagram for updates on our show and the project.
SHE SOARS stands for Sexual and reproductive Health and Economic empowerment Supporting Out-of-school Adolescent girls’ Rights and Skills in Kenya, Uganda and Zambia.
The project is funded by Global Affairs Canada. Check out our Global Partner Organizations:
Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and Restless Development for even more project updates.
Thanks again for listening – until next time!
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the SHE SOARS podcast are the speakers’ own and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, standards and policies of CARE Canada. The SHE SOARS podcast is a youth-led initiative that provides space for young people to discuss global Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights with the purpose of raising awareness in Canada. Listeners acknowledge that the material and information presented in the podcast are for informational purposes only and do not constitute advice or services. The podcast is for private, non-commercial use and speakers do not necessarily reflect any organization they work for.
Disclaimer: Transcripts are for private use for accessibility and informational purposes only. The views and opinions expressed in the SHE SOARS podcast are the speakers’ own and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, standards and policies of CARE Canada. Speakers do not necessarily reflect any organization they work for. Readers acknowledge that the material and information presented does not constitute advice or services.