Sometimes, we ponder about the lifestyles of adolescent girls and why they act the way they do. But to familiarize ourselves with the lifestyles of girls in Ibadan North Local Government Area of Oyo State, so as to understand their sexual and reproductive health, Onelife Initiative and its partners brought the community influencers together. The key gate keepers in the communities are important because of their understanding of the ongoings in the community.
Some of the influencers were parents, aunties, uncles, transport union workers, hoteliers, community-based organisation workers and community leaders. In this instance, the traditional head of the community was also invited. The session was an interactive one. We found out that girls have different role models ranging from religious leaders to university students living in the community, slay girls, musicians etc whom they believe they could emulate.
A participant who is a Traditional Birth Attendant noted that a 15-year-old adolescent was the first client she had when she “opened shop”. Others shared how girls as young as 13 years get pregnant and in some cases some at the age of 18 will have been pregnant twice. We also found out that pregnant adolescent girls in the community are usually shy and prefer to confide in their peers because of the fear of being shamed in public.
Different gatekeepers from Barika, Ile- Eja, Adetumobi, Kajola, Orogun, Iyana Bodija, in Oyo State, Nigeria attended the community sensitisation session helping us to set the tone for the kind of intervention that we will be engaging in the coming days.