For the publication of DSW’s 2017 Annual Report, we wanted to profile some of the new faces that have started work at the organisation in the last year! Introducing Tashrifa Silayi, Advocacy Officer for DSW Kenya!

Knowing that you were joining an SRHR advocacy organisation, what were your hopes?

Before joining DSW, I was aware of their working with young people in Mombasa, especially the capacity building on health and budget advocacy work in Kilifi.

I was therefore looking forward to changing the lives of women and young people by ensuring that they have access to reproductive health information and services. Similarly, I knew I will be contributing in advocating for family planning financing in the counties and supporting policies that will enhance women health.

What type of organisation (area of work) did you join DSW from?

Before joining DSW, I worked with Action Aid International Kenya, where the main focus was building critical a mass of women networks and advancing their rights. This was achieved through capacity building and advocacy campaigns to ensure they claim and realize their constitutional rights through.

The transition has been easy since both DSW and Action Aid focus on women rights issues, including health and specifically reproductive health. Both organizations also create platforms where citizens are able to hold government to account.

What are some of the challenges you expected to come across and which one have actually materialized?

Given that issues around reproductive health and family planning are not openly talked about, I expected to encounter a lot of myths and misconceptions that surround family planning. I also expected men to shy away from family planning conversations.

Most of these challenges have come to pass. Many people in the rural areas still believe that the use of family planning reduces libido while others, especially men, say that it increases promiscuous behaviour. Others also believe that it automatically leads to weight gain.

Going forward, what is your outlook vis-a-vis the work that DSW does?

Going forward I believe that I am well placed to help debunk some of the myths and taboos surrounding family planning and reproductive health in general.

It makes me proud to know that I work for an organization that works to empower young people, and I get to ensure that they have options while making decisions regarding their health. It is my hope that DSW will continue building their capacity to start asking county governments questions while holding them accountable on their commitments. I also expect us to make deliberate efforts to focus also on more women issues, including linking reproductive health to gender based violence.