Prayatna Nepal, a prominent disability rights organization, recently organized a transformative training program on sexuality for visually impaired women in Nepal. This comprehensive five-day event, held from May 21st to May 25th, aimed to educate and empower visually impaired women from various regions of the country by equipping them with valuable knowledge and skills related to sexuality and reproductive health. Through expert guidance and engaging sessions, the training successfully provided the participants with a comprehensive understanding of sexuality, while addressing the unique challenges faced by visually impaired women in this domain.
During the training, a total of 22 visually impaired women actively participated, contributing to the richness and diversity of discussions. The program covered a wide range of topics, beginning with an exploration of the terminology surrounding sexuality, including fundamental concepts such as sex, gender, sex identity, and sexual orientation. The participants were exposed to comprehensive sex education and discussions on sexual reproductive health practices specific to Nepal. Important aspects such as the use of contraceptives, menstrual hygiene management, and the intersection of sexuality and the law were also extensively covered.
Recognizing the growing influence of the internet on all aspects of life, including sexuality, a dedicated session was tailored specifically for visually impaired women to address internet-related topics and their connection to sexuality. Furthermore, the program shed light on crucial subjects such as disability and sexuality, LGBTIQ rights, and the unique challenges faced by individuals with disabilities in relation to their sexuality, emphasizing the importance of informed decision-making. A session on disability advocacy and sexuality underscored the significance of raising awareness and advocating for the rights and needs of individuals with disabilities.
The training program featured esteemed facilitators who brought their expertise and experience to guide the participants throughout the sessions. Notable facilitators included Ms. Sarita Lamichhane, the founder chairperson of Prayatna Nepal and a passionate promoter of disability rights; Dr. Khem Karki, the executive director of the NHRC (National Health Research Council); Mr. Punya Bhandari, an expert in sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR); Ms. Sabita Lamichhane, the secretary of Prayatna Nepal and a nursing instructor; Ms. Jalasa Sapkota, a general member of Prayatna Nepal and a content creator; Advocate Sabin Shrestha; and Ruksana Kapali, an activist dedicated to promoting LGBTI rights.
As the training concluded, the participants took the opportunity to develop their action plans, outlining how they would utilize the knowledge and skills gained during the program. The comprehensive five-day training on sexuality proved to be a remarkable success, equipping visually impaired women with essential information and empowering them to make informed decisions regarding their sexual and reproductive health. This training program not only fostered a supportive environment for learning but also highlighted the importance of inclusivity and accessibility in addressing the unique needs of visually impaired women in matters of sexuality.
The training on sexuality commenced with an introductory session where participants were given the opportunity to express their expectations from the training. This initial exchange of thoughts set the tone for an engaging and interactive learning experience.
To ensure the effectiveness of the training, a code of conduct was established, encompassing a set of rules that all participants were expected to adhere to:
On the first day, Angel assumed the role of the reporter, taking the lead in providing updates and coverage. Barma Magar, as the entertainment lead, spearheaded the entertainment activities for the day. Silpa Kusuwa took on the responsibility of timekeeping, ensuring that schedules were adhered to and the event ran smoothly. Sabina Baral stepped up as the evaluator, taking the lead in assessing and analyzing the proceedings of the day.
The first session of the event focused on sex, gender, sexuality, and related terminology, led by Sarita Lamichhane. Participants engaged in a discussion about their understanding of these topics. It was widely acknowledged that sex is a natural attribute, while gender roles are assigned by society. The participants recognized that males and females have different hormones that shape their behavior, with testosterone being predominant in males and progesterone in females. The session delved into specific topics such as menstruation in females and wet dreams in males, as well as the distinctions between ovaries, ova, and ovum. The process of childbirth was also discussed to enhance comprehension.
Moreover, the participants explored the influence of gender on males and females. A crucial question raised was whether gender solely affects females or if it impacts both genders. The group highlighted the disparities in domestic and economic workloads, where women are often burdened with household responsibilities while men carry the weight of economic expectations. It was noted that women's freedom is often restricted, whereas men have more freedom to exercise their will. The discussion also addressed the issue of harassment faced by boys.
The session examined the topic of suicide and its impact on both genders. Participants considered various gender roles defined by society, such as females being tolerant and males being bold, females being submissive and males being progressive, and females being associated with beauty while males are valued for their talents. The discussion emphasized the societal constructs that shape these gender roles.
Gender-based discrimination and violence were also significant subjects of discussion. The session explored different types of violence, including physical, psychological, and emotional violence. Additionally, the distinction between violence and pleasure was examined to highlight the importance of consent and respect in relationships.
Following the session, a short tea and coffee break of 15 minutes was provided to allow participants to refresh themselves.
After a brief tea break, the discussion in the session focused on various forms of violence. Participants actively shared their insights and experiences regarding this subject, fostering a thoughtful exchange of ideas. The next topic explored was sexuality, aiming to define and understand its meaning. Sexuality encompasses a person's sexual orientation, attractions, and preferences, involving emotional, romantic, and sexual connections with others. The complexity and multifaceted nature of sexuality were acknowledged, highlighting its significant variation from person to person.
The conversation also touched upon the concept of gender identity, emphasizing its definition. Gender identity refers to an individual's deeply held sense or understanding of their own gender. It represents a deeply personal and internal experience that may or may not align with the sex assigned at birth. While sex pertains to the physical and biological characteristics traditionally associated with being male or female, gender identity encompasses how individuals identify and perceive themselves in terms of their gender.
Additionally, the notion of cisgender was explored, describing individuals whose gender identity aligns with the sex assigned to them at birth. For example, if someone is assigned female at birth and identifies as a woman, they are considered cisgender. The term "cis" derives from the Latin prefix meaning "on the same side as."
Furthermore, the discussion addressed the topic of MSM (Men who have Sex with Men) in relation to gender identity. This term, widely used in public health and epidemiology, encompasses men who engage in sexual activity with other men, regardless of their sexual orientation.
The significance of foreplay within intimate relationships was also examined, emphasizing the importance of mutual consent, communication, and understanding in fostering healthy and satisfying sexual experiences.
Moreover, the session thoroughly discussed the issue of female genital mutilation (FGM), providing a comprehensive definition. FGM, also known as female genital cutting or female circumcision, involves the partial or complete removal of external female genitalia or other injuries to female genital organs for non-medical reasons. It was recognized as a harmful traditional practice that violates the human rights of girls and women.
Lastly, the concept of sexual orientation was explored, ensuring a clear understanding of its definition. Sexual orientation refers to a person's enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions to individuals of the same gender (homosexuality), opposite gender (heterosexuality), or both genders (bisexuality). It constitutes an intrinsic aspect of a person's identity, typically emerging during adolescence or early adulthood.
The first session concluded, and a short lunch break of one hour was provided. The second session focused on comprehensive sexual education and sexual reproductive health practices in Nepal, led by Dr. Khem Karki. The session began with participants providing an outline of the previous session.
Dr. Karki then delved deeper into the concept of sex, ensuring conceptual clarity on LGBTIQ matters. The discussion encompassed various aspects, including homosexuality, heterosexuality, and bisexuality. Comprehensive sexual education was explored in relation to individuals' attractions and preferences, taking into account hormonal changes.
Moreover, the session covered a detailed explanation of male and female reproductive organs, as well as the reproductive cycle involving ova, sperm, and the process of reproduction. The topic of the 46 chromosomes and their relation to reproduction was also discussed. The development of male and female sexual reproductive organs was a focal point of the conversation.
Furthermore, there was a brief discussion on the sexual maturity of men and women, specifically in relation to the menstrual cycle and wet dreams. The session also touched upon sexual pleasure and the phases of the sexual cycle, including excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution. The participants engaged in an interactive discussion on the book "Master and Johnson" and its relevance to the concept of love in relation to sexual expression and attraction.
Additionally, there was a brief exploration of the oxytocin hormone and how it influences affection, with some differences observed between men and women. The session covered the four types of relationships: acquaintance, continuous/loving, attachment, and termination.
The discussion then shifted towards sexual expression and how it varies depending on emotional, age, social, economic, cultural, religious, and preferential backgrounds. An overview of the asexual concept was provided, highlighting the role of the limbic system in the brain, which governs two functions: food and security, as well as the reproductive system.
The session concluded with a comprehensive discussion on reproductive health and sexual components. Preventing disabilities through sexual and reproductive health interventions was emphasized, particularly through Torch screening after pregnancy planning. The acronym TORCH represents Toxoplasma, Rubella, Cytomegalovirus, and Herpes, which were extensively discussed. The importance of folic acid consumption three months prior to pregnancy to mitigate birth defects was also briefly touched upon.
The first day of the training on sexuality came to a close, marking the end of Day 1.
Day 2 began with the arrangement of placements. Participants from the previous day graciously shared their responsibilities of reporting and evaluating. As a result, a smooth transition occurred, allowing for the selection of new roles for the upcoming day. Seema assumed the responsibility of reporting, showcasing her competence in effectively conveying the day's proceedings. Shilpa took the lead in evaluating, demonstrating her keen eye for detail and insightful analysis. Harikala skillfully took charge of timekeeping, ensuring that the day's activities proceeded according to schedule. Januka, with her vibrant personality and creativity, assumed the role of entertainment, adding an element of enjoyment and engagement throughout the session.
During the first session of Day 2, Punya Bhandari, an SRHR (Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights) expert, discussed contraceptives devices and their features. The session began with a focus on consuming good food for a clear mindset. Then, Bhandari introduced the concept of the "3 LLL" and asked the participants to guess its formula. Eventually, one of the participants correctly guessed that it stood for "life-long learning."
The importance of acquiring accurate and relevant information on sexuality was emphasized, along with the essence of affection, bonding, and shared responsibility among couples, with a primary focus on sexual expectations. Bhandari also shared the definition of health by the World Health Organization (WHO), stating that health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
The concept of reproductive health was discussed, with a clear definition provided: Reproductive health refers to the state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being in all matters relating to the reproductive system and its functions. It encompasses a wide range of issues and concerns related to sexual health, fertility, pregnancy, childbirth, and the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Within the topic of reproductive health, several aspects were highlighted:
Bhandari emphasized the necessity of providing the right information about the menstrual cycle to adolescent girls. The components of SRHR were discussed, and Bhandari shared the acronym "FAIR NAME G" to represent Fertile period Adolescence, Infertility, Reproductive Tract Infections, Neo-natal care, AIDS-STI, Maternal care, Elderly care, and Gender-based violence.
The benefits of breastfeeding were also discussed, focusing on the following points:
Structural forms of violence against women were discussed, and power dynamics were explored in the context of gender-based violence. The session also included an exclusive discussion on the menstrual cycle and the monthly gap. Participants were invited to share their experiences regarding the monthly cycle, with references to the cycle of the moon.
Following the discussion, a short tea and coffee break of 15 minutes was taken.
After a brief tea and coffee break, the first session resumed with Punya Bhandari as the speaker. He delved deeper into the topic of family planning, providing valuable insights on the fertile period. Bhandari elaborated on the differences between natural contraception methods, emphasizing the calendar method, and artificial contraception methods, highlighting temporary measures. Additionally, he touched upon LARC, which stands for Long Acting Reversible Contraception.
During the session, Bhandari also discussed the Indo-crime system and hormonal contraception. He conducted a brief demonstration of various contraception devices, including condoms, femidoms, contraceptive pills, and explained the proper usage procedures. He also covered topics such as implants, copper-T, emergency contraception (commonly known as high-dose ECP), stressing that these pills should not be taken regularly, but only in specific circumstances and not more than twice a month. Other topics addressed included depo-provera, safe abortion pills, and pregnancy testing kits, with Bhandari providing instructions on how to correctly use them.
Participants had the opportunity to ask questions, and Bhandari addressed queries regarding the effectiveness of condom use. He also discussed important prerequisites for abortion, emphasizing the need for consent and seeking specialized medical care from registered healthcare providers.
The session concluded, and participants proceeded to take a lunch break.
Following the lunch break, the second session of the event focused on menstrual hygiene management. Sabita Lamichhane led the session, beginning with an energizing game to refresh the participants. She then proceeded to discuss reproductive organs, both external and internal, to enhance understanding of sexual and reproductive health.
To aid comprehension, Sabita utilized a projector to display images of reproductive organs and explained each structure to the participants. She clarified terms such as labia minora and labia majora. In addition, she extensively discussed the internal and external processes involved in the monthly menstrual cycle.
During the session, Sabita delved into the topic of vaginal discharge, differentiating between normal and abnormal types. She highlighted the importance of maintaining menstrual hygiene and distinguishing between healthy and unhealthy blood discharge during menstruation. Furthermore, she addressed the concept of menorrhagia and the significance of hemoglobin levels in maintaining good health.
Sabita emphasized the role of iron-rich foods, vitamin C, green vegetables, lentils, and other dietary choices in maintaining adequate hemoglobin levels. She also provided guidance on selecting appropriate foods to consume during menstruation, differentiating between beneficial and detrimental options. The session covered the topic of Prostaglandins, period cravings, and also touched upon Pre-Menstruation Syndrome (PMS) and the menstrual cycle.
In addition, Sabita shared remedies for alleviating menstrual cramps and discomfort. The session was then briefly paused for a tea and coffee break.
After a brief tea and coffee break, the session continued with Sabita Lamichhane leading the discussion on sanitary items during the menstrual cycle. She emphasized the importance of proper hygiene and shared insightful information about using different menstrual products. To ensure clarity and understanding, she provided live demonstrations on the correct usage of sanitary pads, tampons, and menstrual cups. These demonstrations actively engaged all participants and helped them gain practical knowledge on the topic.
With this, the sessions of the second day came to a close, leaving the participants with a deeper understanding of sexual reproductive health, menstrual hygiene and the tools available to promote it.
After breakfast, the participants discussed and assigned their respective responsibilities from the previous day, focusing specifically on reporting and evaluation tasks. Following the deliberation, Pranisa assumed the role of the reporter, responsible for documenting the proceedings. Roshani took charge as the evaluator, tasked with assessing the progress and outcomes. Chaya was selected as the time keeper for the third day, ensuring the smooth flow of activities and adherence to the schedule. Meanwhile, Janaki continued in her role as the entertainment lead, responsible for organizing engaging activities for the group.
The session on menstrual hygiene management was led by Mis Sabita Lamichhane, who continued her presentation. She encouraged participants to reflect on their preferred sanitary items and asked them to share their current emotions related to any discomfort or comfort they experience while using these items. In order to illustrate the proper usage of a menstrual cup, she and Prayatna Nepal staff member Mis Ritu Pant demonstrated the correct technique. Additionally, a short instructional video on the proper usage of menstrual cups was shown. During this session, one of the participants also introduced the concept of period panties.
The first session on the third day focused on Law and Sexuality and was facilitated by advocate Sabin Shrestha. He initiated the discussion by asking participants about the meaning and concept of sexuality. He clarified the two different connotations of the term "sex" in Nepali and delved into the topic of whether sex, gender, and sexuality are universal or dependent on social and cultural factors. The core values of sexuality were discussed, emphasizing that it should be a natural expression of an individual's personal choice. The discussion highlighted the diversity in sexuality and the need for equality, respect, and justice in expressing one's sexuality.
Advocate Sabin Shrestha introduced the topic of human trafficking and transportation laws and held interactive discussions on whether our sexuality should be expressed or suppressed. He further explored the concept of consent in sexual interactions, distinguishing between consensual sex and violent sex. The facilitator also touched upon the first World Conference on Women and different legal provisions in Nepal concerning women's rights, including various civil courts. A descriptive video was shown to educate participants on healthy and unhealthy sexual practices, sexual violence, and the legal mechanisms available for reporting such violence. The video shed light on rape, marital rape, consented and non-consented sex, juvenile sex, and forceful non-consented sex, particularly in the context of individuals with disabilities who may not be able to give consent themselves, potentially resulting in rape. The video also provided information on the punishments prescribed in Nepal's legal provisions for perpetrators of these violent acts, with the punishment for rape by a husband being 5 years and the maximum punishment being life imprisonment, equivalent to 25 years in Nepal. Different types of sexual penetration were also discussed, emphasizing that rape is not limited to vaginal penetration alone.
Advocate Sabin Shrestha proceeded to show another video that highlighted the rights of rape victims, including the right to privacy, the right to respectful and dignified treatment, the right to compensation, the right to be informed about legal provisions, the right to psychosocial counseling, and the right to protection against discrimination. A separate video focusing on justice and compensation for rape victims was also presented.
The facilitator dedicated a significant portion of the session to clarifying the distinction between sex and sexuality. Sex was explained as referring to the biological and physical characteristics that differentiate males and females. It is typically categorized into two primary biological sexes: male and female, based on reproductive anatomy and genetics. However, it was emphasized that intersex individuals may have variations in their sex characteristics. On the other hand, sexuality was described as a person's sexual orientation, desires, attractions, and patterns of emotional, romantic, and sexual attraction to others. It encompasses an individual's sexual and emotional preferences, identities, and behaviors.
Following this session, a short tea-coffee break was provided.
Following a brief tea and coffee break, Sabin Shrestha resumed his session by engaging participants in group work activities. The attendees were divided into five groups, and each group was assigned the task of identifying the roles of different agencies in supporting rape victims. The first group presented on the role of the police personnel in assisting rape victims, while the second group focused on the role of government lawyers in providing compensation for rape victims. The third group discussed the role of the court in compensating rape victims, and the fourth group examined the role of the victims themselves in seeking compensation. The fifth group explored the various bases for compensating victims of rape.
After the group presentations, participants provided constructive feedback, and the facilitator offered additional insights to help understand rape from different perspectives. The discussion then shifted to sexual harassment, particularly concerning individuals with disabilities and those without. Sabin Shrestha highlighted the concepts of "good touch" and "bad touch," explaining that these terms are commonly used to teach individuals about personal boundaries and to help them understand appropriate and inappropriate physical contact.
Sabin Shrestha also discussed different forms of sexual violence, both online and offline. He presented a video on child sexual abuse exploitation and highlighted the relevant legal provisions. Following the video presentation, a short question and answer session took place, during which participants asked questions, such as the meaning of the term "bale."
With the conclusion of the first session on the third day, a short lunch break was provided.
After the lunch break, Ms. Jalasa Sapkota conducted a session on Internet and Sexuality. She began by asking participants to reflect on how the internet has transformed their lives. The session then delved into a comparison between offline and online spaces, aiming to understand the differences between the two. The impact of online spaces on sexuality was also explored, with a discussion on how these spaces influence sexual experiences and interactions.
To foster engagement and exploration of different perspectives, participants were divided into two groups for a topic-related debate. The groups presented and discussed relevant statements relating to the internet and sexuality. The facilitator encouraged participants to share their perspectives and engage in respectful debate.
Next, the session focused on Internet and Sexuality in Relation to Women. The facilitator narrated stories that addressed topics such as body image, consent, and privacy, highlighting the specific impact of the internet on women's sexuality. Empowerment, challenges, and gender dynamics were also discussed in relation to women's experiences online.
The topic of Pleasure and the Internet was then explored. The facilitator discussed accessing pornography and sexual content safely, emphasizing the use of features such as incognito mode for privacy-related issues. Participants engaged in a conceptual discussion about pleasure and its connection to the internet and sexuality, sharing their diverse perspectives and experiences with online sexual encounters.
Safety and Internet Security were important aspects covered in the session. The facilitator practically demonstrated privacy settings in popular messaging applications, emphasizing the importance of online safety. Potential risks were addressed, and practical tips and tools were shared to help participants maintain their privacy and personal security online.
Additionally, key terms related to internet and sexuality were explored through vocabulary discussion. Some of the terms discussed included:
After this, only a small portion of the session remained, spanning first hour on the fourth day, and ultimately concluded the training on the third day. The closing activities wrapped up the third day's session.
The day began with breakfast, followed by a creatively organized seating arrangement by Ms. Sarita Lamichhane. She engaged the participants in an interesting game that determined their sitting positions. A short energizer activity was then conducted to invigorate everyone. Next, the participants who were assigned the responsibility of reporting and evaluating for the previous day shared their findings and evaluations.
Afterward, the participants were assigned roles for the following day. Laxmi took charge of reporting, Prathana assumed the role of evaluating, and Sami was responsible for time-keeping. Entertainment arrangements were led by Lalita. These roles were assigned to ensure smooth functioning of the program.
Continuing from the previous day, Ms. Jalasa Sapkota resumed her session on internet and sexuality. She divided the participants into three groups and provided each group with a case study. The case studies were as follows: Case Study 1: Online Harassment and Support Networks, Case Study 2: Online Dating and Consent, and Case Study 3: Online Sexuality Education for Women with Disabilities. Each group was tasked with identifying the challenges presented in their respective case study and proposing solutions. The groups then presented their findings to the entire gathering.
Following the group presentations, the session on internet and sexuality came to a close.
On the first session of the fourth day, Mis Sarita Lamichhane led a discussion on disability and sexuality. To begin the session, she introduced a refreshing ice-breaker game to engage the participants and capture their attention. Following that, the participants were divided into three groups for a group work activity. Each group was tasked with discussing and presenting on topics such as the definition of disability, models of disability, and types of disability.
After the group presentations, the facilitator presented manifestos from different imaginary parties. These manifestos were based on various disability models, ranging from ignorance to charity, social welfare, and inclusive models. The participants were asked to vote on each manifesto based on their understanding and preference regarding disability.
Once the voting was completed, the facilitator moderated a debate among the participants to enhance their clarity on the evolution of disability throughout history. The facilitator emphasized changing perceptions of disability and overall inclusion. Historical literature on disability was referenced, covering different approaches such as charity-based, social welfare, human rights, and inclusive approaches, to provide a comprehensive understanding of the topic.
Next, the facilitator engaged the participants in a discussion about the definition and concept of disability. A video explaining the definition and types of disability was shown, and the participants were encouraged to reflect on their learnings from the video and share them with the group. Each participant was given a meta-card to write down any new and groundbreaking ideas they gained from the video.
Moving forward, the facilitator discussed the conditions that contribute to disability, including long-term physical impairments, barriers, participant restrictions, and functional limitations. She also touched upon the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to provide a conceptual understanding of disability categories. Additionally, the facilitator mentioned other legal documents, such as the Articles on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and highlighted the fact that the nature of disability varies from country to country.
Following this discussion, a lunch break was provided to allow participants to recharge before continuing with the rest of the session.
After a delightful lunch, the participants gathered to celebrate the birthday of one of their own, Prathana, with a small cake-cutting ceremony. Following this joyful moment, the session on LGBTIQ and sexuality commenced, led by the passionate LGBTIQ rights activist, Ruksana Kapali.
To initiate meaningful discussions, the facilitator divided the participants into three groups and presented two thought-provoking questions. The first question aimed to gauge the participants' understanding of the concept of LGBTIQ, while the second question delved into their expectations within this context. Each group shared their unique perspectives, fostering a diverse exchange of ideas.
With the foundation set, the facilitator unveiled the three main topics for the session: sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics. Beginning with a comprehensive exploration of sex characteristics, the facilitator explained that these encompass the physical and biological features that differentiate males from females. To ensure clarity, the concept of intersex was introduced, referring to individuals who are born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that deviates from typical male or female definitions. Intersex variations may manifest in diverse ways, such as differences in chromosomes, gonads, hormones, or internal and external genitalia.
Moving on, the topic of gender identity took center stage, where the facilitator provided a conceptual understanding. Gender identity was defined as a person's deeply felt internal sense of being male, female, neither, or somewhere in between. It was emphasized that gender identity differs from the sex assigned at birth, which is based solely on physical characteristics. Furthermore, gender identity should not be confused with sexual orientation, which refers to a person's sexual attraction to others. To broaden the knowledge, the concept of cisgender was also discussed.
The facilitator then turned the spotlight to transgender individuals, clarifying that being transgender means a person's gender identity does not align with the sex assigned to them at birth. Additionally, the concept of non-minority was explored, shedding light on individuals whose gender identity aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth.
The discussion further delved into the topic of sexual orientation. The facilitator elucidated the concept, emphasizing that sexual orientation refers to an individual's enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and sexual attraction to a particular gender. Common categories within sexual orientation were explained:
The concept of pansexuality was also explored, which denotes a sexual orientation characterized by the potential for attraction to individuals of various gender identities or expressions. Pansexual individuals are capable of experiencing romantic or sexual attractions across the gender spectrum, including cisgender, transgender, non-binary, and genderqueer individuals, among others. The prefix "pan-" signifies "all" or "every," highlighting the inclusive nature of pansexuality.
Furthermore, the discussion encompassed the term "queer," an umbrella term used to describe individuals whose sexual orientation or gender identity deviates from societal norms. This term embraces diverse identities and expressions. Additionally, the concept of "questioning" was introduced, referring to individuals who are exploring their own sexual orientation or gender identity.
Throughout the session, the group also touched upon significant topics such as the provision of citizenship for LGBTI people, the importance of ensuring sexual satisfaction for LGBTI individuals, and the constitutional rights afforded to the LGBTI community.
Overall, the session provided a platform for meaningful dialogue and education on LGBTIQ issues, shedding light on the nuances of sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics, while emphasizing the importance of inclusivity and equal rights for all individuals.
Following a brief tea-coffee break, the next session was conducted by Ms. Sarita Lamichhane. Her session focused on developing a comprehensive understanding of sexuality through the lens of disability. Ms. Lamichhane employed a debate-style approach to encourage participants to explore varying perspectives and gain clarity on the topic through discussion.
The session began with the presentation of several statements, both positive and concerning, to elicit different viewpoints from the participants. One such statement questioned whether the sexual desires of individuals with multiple disabilities should be controlled through medical procedures. The participants were divided into three groups: those in agreement, those in disagreement, and those who were unsure.
Additional statements were presented for debate, such as whether individuals with disabilities should only date or marry others with disabilities, and whether people with disabilities have extreme sexual desires. These statements reflected prevalent misconceptions in society. By engaging in debate and discussion, the facilitator aimed to challenge these misconceptions, understand the participants' perspectives, and collectively develop a progressive understanding of sexuality by dispelling such beliefs.
The session concluded on a productive note, with participants gaining a deeper awareness and new insights into the topic of sexuality and disability. Ms. Lamichhane suggested that the participants further enhance their knowledge by studying articles on sexuality in relation to individuals with disabilities.
With these recommendations and valuable discussions, the sessions for day 4 came to a close.
The day began with breakfast, followed by Ms. Jalasa Sapkota moderating the participants to share their responsibilities from the previous day. The reporter and evaluator shared their observations, and then the leadership roles for the fifth day were assigned. Sangita took charge of reporting, Basanta took charge of evaluating, Kumari took charge of time-keeping, and Isora led the entertainment activities.
The first session of the day focused on disability advocacy and sexuality, conducted by Ms. Sarita Lamichhane. She discussed the concept and meaning of advocacy among the participants. Advocacy refers to actively supporting, promoting, or defending a specific cause, idea, or group of people. It involves speaking up, taking action, and working towards positive change or influencing decision-making processes. Advocacy can take various forms, depending on the context and the issue being addressed. It can involve raising awareness, lobbying for policy changes, mobilizing public support, engaging in public campaigns, or providing direct assistance to those in need. Advocacy can be undertaken by individuals, organizations, or even governments. The goal of advocacy is typically to bring attention to an issue, shape public opinion, and ultimately bring about concrete changes in laws, policies, practices, or social norms that positively impact the target group or address the identified problem. Following the discussion, the participants were divided into three groups for group activities. Ms. Lamichhane asked the groups to discuss seven specific challenges related to sexuality in relation to disability. Each group then presented their ideas.
Afterwards, the facilitator explained advocacy comprehensively using the ABCDE formula: A for Audience, B for Barriers, C for Change, D for Desire, and E for Education. She elaborated on where advocacy can take place, including organizations, religious institutions, professional associations, teaching institutions, the Ministry of Health, hospitals/clinics, parliament, and even with the President.
The participants were engaged in designing one issue for advocacy within their groups. Following the group presentations and a question-answer session, a lunch break was given. After lunch, the participants gathered in a group and sang a song collectively for refreshment. Ms. Sarita Lamichhane then continued her previous session.
Then, she skillfully guided the participants through the process of crafting a concise and compelling one-minute advocacy message. She provided them with several guidelines, emphasizing the importance of delivering content supported by evidence, incorporating relevant examples, and formulating a well-defined action plan. Once the participants had created their one-minute advocacy messages, the session came to a formal close.
Following the session, each participant received a meta-card, encouraging them to share their thoughts and feedback regarding the five-day training experience. The organizers requested feedback not only about the training itself but also about the resource person involved. Additionally, participants were asked to identify any areas in which they felt confident enough to facilitate future sessions conducted by Prayatna Nepal.
As a token of appreciation, prizes were distributed among the winners of the game sessions and other events that took place during the training. This brought the five-day training on Sexuality to a productive and successful conclusion, leaving a lasting impact on the participants.
The five-day training on sexuality for visually impaired women by Prayatna Nepal was a remarkable success. The training equipped the participants with essential information and empowered them to make informed decisions regarding their sexual and reproductive health.
Here are some of the learnings and outcomes of the training
The five-day training on sexuality for visually impaired women by Prayatna Nepal was a valuable experience for the participants. The training equipped them with the knowledge and skills they need to make informed decisions about their sexual health and to live healthy and fulfilling lives.
In conclusion, the five-day training program on sexuality for visually impaired women organized by Prayatna Nepal has proven to be a transformative and empowering experience for the participants. The program successfully achieved its objective of educating and empowering visually impaired women from different parts of Nepal by providing them with valuable knowledge and skills related to sexuality and reproductive health.
Throughout the training, the participants actively engaged in sessions that covered a wide range of topics. They familiarized themselves with the terminology of sexuality, gained a comprehensive understanding of sex education and sexual reproductive health practices in Nepal, and learned about contraceptives, menstrual hygiene management, and the intersection of sexuality and the law. The dedicated session on internet and sexuality tailored specifically for women with visual disabilities acknowledged the increasing influence of the internet and addressed its impact on various aspects of sexuality.
Importantly, the training program also addressed the unique perspectives and challenges faced by individuals with disabilities, emphasizing the importance of disability advocacy and raising awareness about the rights and needs of individuals with disabilities. Discussions on disability and sexuality, LGBTIQ rights, and decision-making further enriched the participants' understanding of these critical issues.
Under the guidance of esteemed facilitators, the participants actively shared their experiences and perspectives, fostering a supportive and inclusive learning environment. The expertise of the facilitators, including disability rights promoters, SRHR experts, nursing instructors, content creators, legal advocates, and LGBTI rights activists, contributed to the depth and effectiveness of the training program.
As the training concluded, the participants mapped out their action plans, demonstrating their commitment to utilizing the knowledge and skills gained during the program. By empowering visually impaired women with essential information, this comprehensive five-day training on sexuality has equipped them to make informed decisions regarding their sexual and reproductive health.
Prayatna Nepal's commitment to disability rights and their successful organization of this training program highlights the importance of inclusive and accessible education on sexuality. The impact of this training will extend beyond the participants themselves, as they become advocates and agents of change within their communities. Through their newfound knowledge and empowerment, visually impaired women in Nepal will contribute to creating a society that respects and upholds the rights and well-being of all individuals, regardless of their abilities.