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close this bookReproductive Health and Communication at the Grassroots - Experiences from Africa and Asia - Proceedings, 1997, Ethiopian Red Cross society training institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (IIRR, 1997, 292 p.)
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View the documentWeaving conversations and techniques across the African and Asian cultures


(* Speech delivered by a participant-representative during the closing ceremony of the conference)

Weaving conversations and techniques across the African and Asian cultures

We have been weaving conversations and techniques across the Asian and African cultures over the past week in order to resolve very urgent problems and needs in our various communities and countries.

We have seen what has worked and what else we need to improve and how.

Personally, I have been tremendously enriched by this Conference. Nobody has ever given me an opportunity to co-author any publication in my entire 15 years of hard work in development for Africa. And for this reason, I feel especially honored by the organizers of this Conference - FGAE and IIRR. I am sure that you share with me the sentiment of our special honour and privilege for having been chosen as both contributors and benefactors of this unique conference.

We have worked very hard in pinpointing what has worked and what has not; when, why and how. In particular, we have pinpointed the critical communication strategies in redressing program needs in the area of HIV/AIDS, Family Planning and Adolescents' reproductive health. Amongst them is the special need to pay great attention to the various cultural, religious, political and socio-economic contexts in selecting and applying the various communication strategies.

I believe that we have each been enriched by the great sharing, in-depth analysis and reflections that have taken place in this Conference. We have reasoned together. We have acquired newer insights and additional skills.

Let us now go back to our various programs and communities and implement what we have learnt. Let us go back and find our various symbols of: reflection, rootedness, solidarity, protection and peace. Let us go back and find those "camel riders" that we spoke about. Let us go back and find our wise women and men who are still connected or not connected and may be there is still some little root of sacredness left in our communities. And if we could allow the wind to blow, may be those little roots may germinate and grow and fertilize our various communities.

I believe that we have found new visions and directions in our Conference Resolution. Let us go back with renewed hope to implement our new found visions.

I thank you all.

Mary Okumu
Conference Participant