Realizing the Right to Sexual and Reproductive Health

Portrait of Ekaete
photo credit: www.kiefelphotography.com
Disability Rights Leader and 1997 WILD alumna from Nigeria, Ekaete Umoh, shares her WILD impact story and how it ignited her passion for promoting the right to sexual and reproductive health.

In Nigeria, my culture places so much emphasis on the physical beauty of girls and women. As a polio survivor, I know that this notion causes most women and girls with disabilities to perceive their bodies as being unattractive and unacceptable. In turn, women and girls with disabilities treat their bodies with less value, which of course has serious implications for their sexual and reproductive health and rights.

After I returned home from WILD, I went “WILD” in Nigeria. The lack of concern about the failure to include women with disabilities in reproductive health programs in my community created a burning desire within me to devote my time to this issue. I founded the Family Centered Initiative for Challenged Persons.

We started by making a series of advocacy visits to development agencies involved in health and reproductive rights issues.

We produced comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information in accessible formats, such as braille. Our sisters now have better access to information and are able to make informed decisions and better choices concerning their health and rights.

I have gained more confidence and strength to continue my advocacy work. I dream of one day becoming a Parliamentarian who will be able to influence laws and policies, so that I can positively affect the lives of people with disabilities. I dream of a time when women and girls with disabilities will not be addressed by the barriers they face because of a disability, but by their accomplishments in their various fields and communities.

Learn more about the impact of WILD under the related resources section.

Author: 

Ekaete Umoh