DIGRA at 10th African Conference on Sexual Health Rights

 From June 27 to July 1, 2022, Purposeful Sierra Leone hosted the 10th African Conference on Sexual Health Rights (ACSHR) in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown. The event brought together feminist activists, UN agencies, government and civil society representatives from across the continent to learn, connect and create an action plan in order to end violence against women and girls.

Promoting and advocating for gender equality in both the real and virtual world, Digital Grassroots also took part in the event. DIGRA was represented by on of our active community members, Diamondra Rafiringa, a gender equality activist and sexual health advocate. Diamondra took part in the DIGRA Ambassadors Program Cohort 5 and was able to put the acquired knowledge into practice to demonstrate that gender-based and sexual violence can be defeated through, and with, digital literacy.

Understanding the crucial role of challenging and regulating gender-based violence in the virtual space, our ambassador took the ACSHR as an opportunity to educate activists on the issues of gender inequalities in the digital sphere and share her vision for solutions and initiatives which they could carry out together. During the event, Diamondra was also invited to speak at the “Our bodies, our choice” session, aiming at raising awareness among participants about the lines of sexual health rights, the importance of exercising these rights and discussing actions against sexual violence.  

The ACSHR 2022 became an enabling platform for young activists to connect and exchange ideas and experiences, empowering young women to set for the missions they wish to pursue. The conference ended on many positive notes. The host country passed a bill decriminalizing abortion, while the participants returned home with their heads full of innovative ideas and full of energy to become agents of change.

As Josephine Kamara, an Advocacy and Communications Manager at Purposeful, said, “change was not yesterday or tomorrow, but is being built now”. It is therefore time to foster actions so that the next generation does not have to fight but to live fully what we have fought for.