Kadiatou Naïma Toure
I have founded Le Projet Ecoute, an NGO with the mission to equip African children, their families, care givers and societies at large with the knowledge and tools to prevent sexual violence against children within the African context, thereby raising awareness of its extent and its potential lifelong consequences on sexual and reproductive health.
Childhood sexual abuse has not adequately been addressed in Africa, yet it has been shown to be related to subsequent unintended pregnancies and infection with sexually transmitted diseases.
In our 2 years of existence we have empowered over 4000 children, mainly girls in Guinea. Our workshops are designed to enable preschool and elementary level children to develop their “inner resources" and help children identify potential danger.
I believe that child sexual abuse is overlooked in subsaharan africa. In my country, Guinea, I have personally known too many victims: friends and family. In such an issue were one victim is one too many I felt obligated to act.
Many reports by experts on women reproductive health identified a number of risk factors for initiating intercourse at an early age; individuals with a history of adverse childhood experiences, risky sexual behavior may represent their attempts to achieve intimacy
I've faced several challenges, principally due to my age, my gender and the cultur norms in my Country surrounding Guinea sexual topics (taboos)
A challenge I overcame early on in this journey of educating children about their bodies was dealing with the opposition of skeptical government members. I took this as an opportunity to educate them on the necessity of such an education especially for young girls. I got a meeting and brought with real testimonies. They couldn't deny such evidence!
The lack of funding and public involvement from young people themselves as part of an active solution to our problems regarding SRHRs. We do not hold a permanent sit at the table, we are not part of all agenda on us. We should be seen and heard. Young people act as silent partners in the very few projects the local government ask for our counsel in, this need to change because if the youth is not portrayed as leaders in the medias we work twice as much to create trust with our peers and funders.
In the next five years I hope to be able to effectively share the tools created by my NGO with other countrie of Sub-Saharan Africa; to help in preventing one of the worst adverse childhood experience, one leading to the adoption of risky sexual behaviors by teenagers. I would like to grow my organization to a sustainable one and to have broken all taboos surrounding childhood sexual abuse so that many can began the healing process and more will learn how to protect themselves.