An incredible experience
Throughout the ages, rural women can be characterized as strong and valiant women, yet are often treated with limited rights, denied resources and opportunities due to inequality. Rural women in Ecuador face many challenges including limited access to health care, financial stability, and leadership opportunities while living amongst considerable familial issues. At Lucy in the Andes, we are working diligently to give these women a voice, so that little by little they can make their own decisions rather than routinely following societal and community expectations. Our primary goal is to arm these women with accurate information so that they can make educated decisions concerning their bodies and their lives.
We held our first workshop in August 2019 in the town of Angamarca. 180 women attended this 7-day workshop. We recently hosted a 3-day follow-up workshop in January which served two purposes. The first is to evaluate the impact of August’s workshop and to receive feedback regarding how the workshop supported these women and their communities. The second is to provide the women an opportunity to receive follow-up information and ask questions since the last time they met with Lucy’s professionals. We administered surveys and received positive comments and valuable feedback that will aid us in improving our future workshops.
We spoke with Nadia Goren, Lucy’s on-staff psychologist to discuss the achievements and feedback from the January session. “In August, the women in general were reserved and wouldn’t make eye contact with the speakers. However, in January I noticed a substantial change among the women. They were more open and confident. They spoke more and also expressed themselves more. They made eye contact. They had retained the knowledge of what they had learned in August. They showed greater interest and concentrated more. They asked many questions.”
For example, four women approached some of the psychologists at the end of January’s workshop to discuss personal problems. This gesture alone impressed Nadia greatly. She says, “Back in August, they were very timid and would have not approached the speakers afterward, especially to discuss personal issues. This alone shows increased confidence.” These women expressed sincere gratitude toward the professionals and still remain in contact with them through text messaging, continuing to ask questions and providing updates.
In addition, the medical professionals at the local medical center said between January – August 2019, they registered 6 teenage pregnancies. After August’s workshop, they saw an increase in women visiting to receive contraceptives and discuss family planning. An increase in family planning discussions is incredible, as family planning is often seen at a taboo topic in these areas. Since August, there have been no registered teenage pregnancies thus far.
In the January session, they broke out into small groups and had more personalized chats. The professionals in attendance were 3 psychologists, a doctor, a midwife, a lawyer, and Lucy founder, Eran Hayoun. Below are the main topics discussed in January’s workshop:
At Lucy in the Andes, we realize that the potential to make a positive impact is extraordinary, and we look forward with great motivation to the continuation of these workshops throughout the Andes.
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