When midwife Sherifa, 28, heard about the SRHR project coming to Mim, she knew it would help her hospital better help the community. The hospital was only offering care for spontaneous abortions and did little family planning work. Now, it is supplied with a range of family planning commodities, and the ability to do comprehensive abortion care. “STI infection rates and teenage pregnancies will decrease, unsafe abortions and deaths as a result of unsafe abortions will decrease. The young people will now have more information about their sexual life in this community, as a result of the project.” she says.
Jennifer Osei, patient at the Mim Health Centre, 24, is waiting for the widwife to attend to her. “I have come to take a family planning injection, it is my first time taking the injection. I have given birth to one child, and I don’t want to have many children now,” she says.
95% of workers at he Mim Cashew Factory are women. So far, the project has yielded positive results - especially a notable increase amongst the workers on SRHR knowledge and access to services.
Women working at Mim Cashew Factory
Dorcas Amakyewaa –Mim Cashew Factory worker, 42, is educating her peers on sexual health topics at Mim Cashew Factory during the work break. Dorcas received a comprehensive SRHR training and now she passes this information on to her colleagues in sessions, where they discuss different topics.
Amakyewaa –Mim , 42 collects cashews at the farm
When Dorcas gets home after work, she does household chores, like chopping wood, fetching water from the well, or cooking dinner for her family.
“There are so many problems in town, notable among them, teenage pregnancies and drug abuse,” Dorcas Amakyewaa says, reflecting on her community in Mim. In 2018, Dorcas Amakyewaa was offered a way to help address these issues in Mim, through a sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) project brought to both the cashew factory and the surrounding community.
“PPAG’s project has been very helpful to me as a mother. When I go home, previously I was not communicating with my children with issues relating to reproduction.”Her 19-year-old daughter, Stella Akrasi, says her mother tells her abstinence is best but shows her condoms and how to use them.
Gifty Anning Agyei, teenage mother, 17 carries the bucket of water to her house.
When Gifty Anning Agyei, 17, was pregnant, her classmates teased her, telling her she should drop out of school. She thought of aborting, and at times considered suicide. But with support from Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG) Gifty is still in school, and she has a happy baby boy.
“Despite all those challenges, I thought it was necessary to stay in school. I didn’t want any pregnancy to truncate my future,” Gifty says.
Gifty Anning Agyei, teenage mother, 17 with her son Ebenezer Mimako, 1 going to the farm
Gifty's parents say with support from PPAG her daughter did not have what might have been an unsafe abortion. Gifty’s mum Alice says they see baby Ebenezer as one of their children, who they are raising, for now, so GIfty can continue with her schooling.
Ghana, a West African nation of about 30 million people, has deep-rooted cultural norms, and structural barriers that perpetuate poor sexual and reproductive health. Access to sexual and reproductive health education and services are often a contentious issue. Ghana has high risks of maternal mortality, high numbers of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, and low levels of contraceptive use. Factory workers at Mim Cashew, in a small town in rural Ghana, are taking their reproductive health choices into their own hands, thanks to a three-year project rolled out by Planned Parenthood Association Ghana (PPAG) along with the Danish Family Planning Association (DFPA). The project, supported by private funding, targets factory workers as well as residents in the township of about 30, 000, where the factory is located. Under the project, health clinic staff through Mim have been supported to provide comprehensive abortion care, a range of different contraception and STI treatments as well as information and education. In the factory, there is a strong focus on SRHR trained peer educators delivering information to their colleagues. “There are so many problems in town, notable among them, teenage pregnancies and drug abuse,” Dorcas Amakyewaa says, reflecting on her community in Mim, In 2018, Dorcas Amakyewaa was offered a way to help address these issues in Mim, through a sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) project brought to both the cashew factory and the surrounding community. Story for IPPF (International Planned Parenthood Association) Words by Stacey Knott