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Global health anthropology
SAFEZT FILM

Method of engagement in research on youth sexual and reproductive health

Thera Mjaaland

Choices & Consequences
Film-still from the eductainment drama "Choices & Consequences"

ABSTRACT

This cinematic edutainment drama (23 min), produced in Endabaguna in north-western Tigray, North-Ethiopia, aims to initiate discussion on youth sexual and reproductive health in the case of contraceptive use and abortion. The six main characters, the secondary school students Solyana, Kibrom, Azeb, Tedy, Helen and Teamrat, make different choices that have consequences for their future lives when entering puberty.

The drama addresses gender norms that influence youth sexuality in a context where reproductive options, in the case of different contraceptive methods and safe abortion services, are in fact legally available for them. Knowledge about these options is low, however, and the silence around youth sexual and reproductive health issues prevails. When sexual abstention before marriage is reinforced by the female virginity ideal, it also becomes difficult for girls to be prepared and protect themselves if it “just happens”. It also asks whether other options for being a responsible man are thinkable.

This short drama is produced in cooperation with the Ethiopian film-photographer Tedowros Hailemichael, and his production company Selina Studio in Mekelle, youth from Endabaguna Secondary and Preparatory Schools, and actors from a local amateur drama group in Endabaguna, during the first four months of 2016. Research data on competing discourses in relation to sexuality and gender norms, contraceptive use and abortion will be generated from discussions of the drama with youth, parents, teachers, and other community members.