Now, when I’m braiding hair and my customers and their companions bring up questions about sex and money, I don’t hesitate to share with them the good advice I got from Super Go.
To make extra money to help her parents and pay for school necessities, Josiane spends most of her free time sitting under the tree in her community courtyard in Cote d’Ivoire, braiding her customers’ hair. The stories those customers tell – tales of sex and sometimes of sex for money – often amaze the 20-year-old Josiane.
“The things I hear from the girls who come to me to get their hair braided, God only knows,” she says. “The customers and the women who come with them often recount their various experiences with men and I am often shocked by what I hear.”
There is no lack of sexual temptation for Josiane, but so far, she has only listened from the sidelines, choosing abstinence. One day, while she was braiding a friend’s hair, two facilitators from Super Go stopped by. Super Go is a behavior change communication program developed by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP) and implemented in Cote d’Ivoire as part of CCP’s Health Capacity Collaborative (HC3) project. Super Go uses a fun approach to teach girls between the ages of 15 and 24 about the risks of being infected with HIV and the measures they can take to avoid it. The program is funded by the United States Agency for International Development/President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.
At the Super Go workshops, Josiane learned more about her body, the correct way to use a condom and the importance of being tested for HIV.
“Now, when I’m braiding hair and my customers and their companions bring up questions about sex and money, I don’t hesitate to share with them the good advice I got from Super Go,” she says. “Some listen to me, but others trivialize what I tell them, but at least I have said it and it may make them think about it afterwards. I have even convinced several girls to participate in Super Go.”
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