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#DasurvKoTo: a Sexual and Reproductive Health Fair Highlighting Young Women’s Empowerment

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

In celebration of women’s month, Likhaan and our affiliate community-based women and youth organizations, in partnership with other community youth organizations and NGOs, cooked up a fair for young women to learn, love, and express themselves more; strengthen their physical and decision-making capacities; and engage with sexual and reproductive health providers and other social service providers for young people. The theme, #DasurvKoTo, a youth jargon translating to “I deserve”), refers to what they think are their entitlements are for which they demand: Kilalanin, Igalang, Pahalagahan (“Recognize”, “Respect”, “Value”).

Youth participants including guests: Atty. Liezl Parajas, Popcom NCR's Jackie Robel, Kristin Chan and Red Tani (Flipino Freethinkers) and Rose Manalac (WAGI)

The event was held on Sunday, March 26, 1-5 pm at the Oreta Sports Complex. Attending in person were 858 youth, mainly young women, plus representatives from the national government, namely ASec Beverly Ho (DOH) and Acting NCR Regional Director Jacklyn Robel (POPCOM). 30 participants came from the local government of Malabon, headed by City Mayor Jeannie Sandoval, City Health Officer, Dr. Bernadette Bordador (Malabon CHO) and other executive and legislative officers. 21 CSO partner organizations were also there, including close partners, the Filipino Freethinkers, Kaisa Ka, Partido Manggagawa and Women and Gender Institute (WAGI).

The main feature of the event were 6 self-learning and interactive booths thoughtfully designed by Likhaan’s community organizers and health providers:

  • Kilalanin, Mahalin, Alagaan ang Sarili (“Know, Love, and Care for yourself”)

Young women being oriented to the body and the menstrual bracelets from GIZ

This booth aimed to develop appreciation for one’s body and self regardless of how one smells or looks. The booth had full length mirrors, everyday shirts that had different people-smells, and model figures of differently-shaped breasts and penises that participants could touch and feel. It also featured the different smells and colors of common reproductive tract infections, such as yeast and bacterial vaginosis. The booth also featured “menstrual” bracelets” courtesy of GIZ, which aimed to underscore menstruation as a biological and social milestone in young women’s life that is often neglected and stigmatized.

  • Piliin ang sarili (“Choose oneself”) #AkoNamanMuna (“Let me be first, this time”)

Boys and girls having faces painted as part of self-expression

This booth offered different fun opportunities that participants drew by lot. Some would get beautiful artwork of butterflies and other designs painted on their faces. Some would get different body tattoos. Others would get different earrings and paraphernalia, like wigs and clothes to wear. With their enhanced looks, participants could then take photos of themselves and of their friends.

  • DeSHEsyon (a play on women’s decision)

Organizers setting up the dart board and blank for the exercise in decision-making

The booth had 2 sets of inter-active games. One was a dart game with colored balloons as targets. Anyone who shoots a balloon wins a prize and a chance to answer a question involving a situation with several choices of actions ranging from passive to active, self-determining decisions in relation to family, peers, having sex, getting pregnant, using a contraceptive, etc. The other set was a blank wall where participants could write to themselves or to people they loved messages that that they could not openly say regarding what they thought they deserved.

  • Tangkilikin Adolescent friendly ARH clinic! (Use adolescent friendly reproductive health clinic)

Young women learning about the use of the Copper T IUD

This booth had 4 sections highlighting 4 key health services: contraception, maternal care, reproductive and sexually-transmitted infections and HIV, and first-line and emergency services for intimate partner and sexual violence. Every section was facilitated by a midwife or nurse using different teaching tools. The section of contraception discussed different contraceptive methods, including emergency contraceptives. Maternal care showed anatomic models of the stages of pregnancy and the risks of complications for young women. Reproductive and Sexually Transmitted Infections showed a videoclip showing the common types of infection among young people. The section on Violence Against women showed a diagram on the health approach including First Line Support and Emergency provision of emergency contraceptives and prophylactic antibiotic and antiHIV medications.

  • Palakasin ang sarili (“Strengthen oneself”)

Participants stretching prior to "jumping jack" drill"

This booth had a gym instructor train participants on routine exercises ranging from stretching of the body to aerobics. The final drill was 10 counts of rigorous jumping jack.

  • Isigaw mo, Ilabas mo (Shout it out, Express it)

Young woman throwing her anger at the wall.

The booth affirms emotion as a part of being human and the necessity of expressing and channeling negative emotion, like anger or frustration, directed at people or situations. Participants are provided cloths that they could wet with different-colored paints and throw at a blank, white canvas. They are also allowed to scream off their emotions as they throw off the wet cloths.

A 7th booth was a contribution of Guang Ming College (GMC): Aral Mo, Sagot Ko! (“Your education, I will pay for”) #GMCTaraNa" (“GMC let us go”)

Participants sign up for possible scholarship to Guang Ming College

This booth was facilitated by faculty and students of Guang Ming College, a Buddhist college that provides theater arts and sports education to college students on a scholarship basis. The booth offered scholarship applications to incoming college students.

The program also featured video messages by Ambassador David Hartman (Embassy of Canada in the Philippines), Ambassador Luc Veron (European Union), development partners supporting these efforts. There were also video description of youth programs by government such as Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) and social welfare assistance by Dr. Rosalie Masilang (Senior Education Program Specialist, DepEd), and Ms. Glenda Betito (Focal Person on Youth Program, DSWD Central Office-Program Management Bureau) .

Program highlights were the in-person talk on Violence Against Women (VAW) and Philippine laws protecting against VAW by Atty. Liezl Parajas, formerly of the women’s program of the Commission on Human Rights, and the talk on teen pregnancy and teen pregnancy prevention methods by Dr. Eileen Tancinco, Ob-Gyn at Quirino Memorial Medical Center.

Young women parade their demands to enable them become their fuller selves and manage their own lives.

Quick post program assessment showed that while the participants enjoyed the booths particularly, 1 and ½ hours were not enough for participants to savor and complete the experience. For the organizers, it was a fun experience to develop greater skills in active-listening, designing more creative and daring learning activities, and actively involving young people in educational activities where they learn to hone their cognitive, affective and life skills while enjoying themselves.

You can watch the FB live coverage through this link:

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