The Gender Research and Documentation Center (GRADOC) of the University of Sierra Leone and the Development Partnerships in Higher Education (DelPHE) yesterday held a day’s workshop for present and past students of GRADOC at the British Council on Gender and Health.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the link coordinator, GRADOC-USL Professor Amy Joof said she was heightened of the significant impact they have made in the areas of sensitization, skills training, adult literacy, and awareness raising both at grass root level as well as the educated.
Professor Joof said with their sensitization, they expect the beneficiaries to spread the core messages on the prevention, treatment and management of the VVF/OVF ailment amongst the women of Sierra Leone.
She however posed that the involvement of the University students and staff would allow them better opportunity to link with other departments in addressing issues of common concern.
The objectives of the workshop she stressed were to examine the module and improve on it as well as to familiarize with the content methods and objectives. Also, it is to enable the target group to be able to use the tool for teaching and learning about OVF as a gender and health problem.
The representative from the British Council, Eleanor Tuboku Metzger explained that in 2006, the British Council approved a joint application by GRADOC and the University of Birmingham to undertake a collaborative three year project under the DelPHE programme. The project was entitled, ‘Vesico Virginal Fistula (VVF)’ to be implemented in Freetown (PCMH), Bo Government Hospital, Kambia and Magburaka hospitals.
She explained the British Council’s goal was to enable higher educational institutions to act as catalysts for poverty reduction and sustainable development by strengthening research, teaching and consultancy. Ms Eleanor also said the British council has provided immense support to the GRADOC (VVF programme) that caters for vulnerable girls and women in society that are not privileged to health facilities in their community.
She said women with fistula have suffered both psychological and social trauma as some were branded as being engaged in witch craft in society whilst suffering neglect from their husbands and relatives.
Desmond George, lecturer Peace and Conflict Department, Fourah Bay College chaired the ceremony while Dr. Ibrahim Tholley who has been working with people with OVF officially declared the workshop opened.