We were surprised by the results

In August 2019, 180 women gathered at Lucy in the Andes’ inaugural week-long workshop that centered on women’s empowerment. In January 2020, they had the opportunity to gather again and we at Lucy had the opportunity to glean helpful insights regarding August’s workshop from these women. Out of the women that attended the follow-up session, we received feedback from a sample of the women (32 women). The average age of the women in the sample is 17 years old.

The women expressed that the sessions were valuable and that they wanted Lucy in the Andes to return and do more workshops. 97% of the women who provided feedback said they would like to receive more workshops like the one administered in August. The workshop on sex education was recorded as a particular favorite among the women. 66% of the women commented that after the August workshop, they went home and looked into certain topics more such as the menstrual cycle, fertile days, contraceptives, alimony, scholarships, and how to prevent pregnancy. One young woman said, “I went home and talked to my parents about our rights.” In future workshops they said that they would like to learn about the environment, nutrition, finances, the woman’s body, entrepreneurship, how to take of kids when they are older, and how to be accepted into university. They also commented that they would like to continue learning about certain topics, asking that we repeat the workshops on menstruation, scholarships, and women who inspire.

Professionals in the area said that these workshops could help lower the rate of teenage pregnancy. Between January – August 2019, the town’s medical center registered 6 reported teenage pregnancies. After August’s workshop, the saw an increase in women coming to the health center to discuss options for contraception methods and family planning. Because family planning is considered a taboo topic in this area, the healthcare professionals were pleasantly surprised to see an increase in women wanting to discuss their options. Since August, the health center has not registered any teenage pregnancies so far.

When asked if the August workshop changed their life and how, majority of the women answered that they learned how to make their own sanitary pads and they now use them. Other answers include:
“I learned how to respect myself as a woman.”
“Right now, I am searching for the best contraception method to protect me from unwanted pregnancy.”
“I did not know how to use a condom nor did I understand when I get my period. Now I understand and I feel more secure.”

We aspire to bring together these women, full of promise and ambition, to equip them with the knowledge and tools that will help them take control of their bodies and live to their fullest potential. With the support and input of the very women who attend the workshops, we look forward to many more workshops to come throughout the region.