Workers at a Phnom Penh garment factory recently completed the factory’s first round of Chat! Protection training. The eight short sessions offer a fun and friendly way for women to learn more about effective ways to prevent unplanned pregnancies and overcome myths and misconceptions about the use of contraceptives.
Women like Leak, 18, have often never had opportunities to learn about their bodies and how babies are conceived, leaving them very vulnerable to misinformation. She wanted to join the training so she could understand this better. “I want to have more knowledge about my period cycle and women’s health so I know how to take good care of my health,” she says.
Prior to joining CARE’s session, Leak had very limited knowledge of how to prevent herself from becoming pregnant. She says: “Before, I only knew about condoms. The most important thing I learned from the session was about five different types of contraception – I never knew about this before! I have leaned lots from the training on how to prevent unplanned pregnancy.”
Leak lives in a rented room near the factory with three other friends. She is excited that she now knows what to tell them if they ask for advice. “I have better knowledge to share with others, especially my roommates, on periods, staying healthy and not becoming pregnant until we want to,” she says.
Knowing accurate information which they can share with others was important for many of the women who joined the sessions. Sreytouch, 26, has worked at the factory for five years and has seen many women become pregnant over that time. “I used to hear and see many unsafe abortion case from others. I never knew it was possible to stop a pregnancy in a safe way, but now I understand where people can go for a safe abortion. I can share this with many women who live near me.”
Women have also been attending video sessions to watch a fictional drama about the lives and relationships of women in a garment factory, as well as signing up to a mobile game which allows them to compete against others to test their knowledge. By taking this three-pronged approach, CARE aims to increase women’s ability to make healthy life choices and prevent young women from becoming pregnant unless they choose.
These activities are conducted by CARE as part of Partnering to Save Lives, which is funded by the Australian Government.