Women's Empowerment through Reproductive Rights Education

South Sudan women, including one in a wheelchair and one with crutches, come outside from a conference room
Embracing a new call to action, twenty-four South Sudanese women with disabilities are committed to accelerating progress on reproductive rights.

"The right to health for women with disabilities must be respected and taken as a priority by the community and the government!"
WILD-South Sudan participant

In South Sudan, like many parts of the developing world, women and girls with disabilities have historically been denied their right to sexual and reproductive health. 

Often, women with disabilities are simply not accessing the life-saving information necessary for healthy and safe relationships, protection from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, and family planning decisions. Access becomes an even greater challenge for refugee women with disabilities who have been displaced by conflict. 

Addressing this critical need was the focus of WILD 2016 alumna, Apayi Zabibu’s one-day Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD) in-country training.

Women with disabilities from nearby refugee camps were brought together, to focus on removing barriers and improving access to health care services for women and girls with disabilities. The training was held in Koboko, a small district at the border of South Sudan and Uganda.

To push boundaries of what young women with disabilities thought was possible, and to build solidarity among the diverse group of women with different types of disabilities, participants were also challenged by adaptive sports and inclusive games as part of the workshop.

“I am now empowered on reproductive health issues; I will surely stand for my reproductive rights and advocate for those who have been neglected.” WILD-South Sudan participant

For almost all participants, it was their first time attending a training of this kind, and receiving information on reproductive health in accessible formats, such as braille and sign language. The training also established a new partnership with the Koboko District Health Department, which provided resource experts for the reproductive health session.

In addition, participants created action plans to ensure their advocacy efforts would continue, and Apayi’s organization, the South Sudan Women with Disability Network, committed to continue working with their new partners to offer similar trainings in the future.

WILD-South Sudan was a follow-on activity of the WILD 2016 program supported by a WILD Seed Grant. Learn more about the WILD Seed Grants in the Related Resources section.