How Two Young Women are Working to Improve Access to Contraception in Trinidad and Tobago
According to a 2016 Guttmacher Institute study, 60% of girls ages 15-19 in developing countries who want to avoid pregnancy do not have access to modern contraceptive methods. Women Deliver Young Leaders Kizanne James and Khadija Sinanan dive deeper into stigma around contraceptive use in their home country of Trinidad and Tobago as part of their projects as World Contraception Day Ambassadors.
Not your typical MD
Kizanne James is not your typical medical doctor. Based in Trinidad and Tobago, she has over 15 years of experience in youth leadership and works daily to educate her young patients on family planning. Through her World Contraception Day Ambassador project, she created a mobile app and website that helps people access contraception. The website and app provide accurate and timely information about types of contraceptives available, as well as where to access them, including the exact location of 16 health centers that provide them for free.
“Contraception is free in Trinidad at most health centers so you just have to go and tell them you want this and they’ll book you an appointment. So you don’t need to go to a gynecologist, you can just go to a health center.”
— Kizanne James
As part of her project, Kizanne also set out to collect information about young people’s understanding of contraceptives. She interviewed, photographed, and filmed 73 young people from different areas of the country about their attitudes, perceptions, and experiences with contraception.
“That experience was so eye-opening for us because we had so many misconceptions out there and people were uncomfortable to discuss something that is just part of us. Sexual health is part of us.”
— Kizanne James
Elevating underrepresented voices
Trained as an attorney, Khadija Sinanan is dedicated to working with young people in Trinidad and Tobago. She is the Co-Director of WOMANTRA, a youth-led organization dedicated to feminist activism and scholarship to improve the lives of women and girls in the Caribbean.
Her project as a World Contraception Day Ambassador focused on highlighting the intersectionality of race, gender, and social inequalities affecting young people. Through in-depth interviews and storytelling, Khadija sought to amplify the voices of young people in rural communities as well as LGBTQIA communities, both of which have historically been underrepresented in Trinidad and Tobago.
“I wanted to see what have been the lived experiences of young people. Sometimes there’s a lot of pushback in communities so some people aren’t comfortable coming out or speaking openly about their experiences.”
— Kizanne James
How can you participate in World Contraception Day?
Follow the World Contraception Day activities on social media and share Kizanne and Khadija’s video or your own stories about why contraception is important to you. Use #WCD2017 and #WorldContraceptionDay to follow along and help make the case for achieving a world where every pregnancy is wanted.
Ready for more hands-on work? The Women Deliver Young Leaders Program is accepting applications through October 13th. Learn more about how you can apply here.