Coulibaly N'tchin Ephrasie is a 25 year-old student from the West African country of Ivory Coast. Ephrasie is deeply passionate about Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), and is an active member of IPPFAR’s Youth Action Movement (YAM). She comes from Bandama Valley District of Bouaké in the central part of Ivory Coast, and is undertaking a degree course in Geology and Science in Humanitarian and International Business Management.
In 2016, Ephrasie undertook a youth internship at the IPPF Africa Regional Office in Nairobi, Kenya. The objective of the 2016 youth internship program was to promote adolescents and young people as key agents for social change through leadership and innovative approaches for increased access to Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE). Here is some brief information on this emerging young leader.
Tell us more about yourself and how you joined IPPFAR’s Youth Action Movement (YAM)
I began advocating for the rights of teenagers when I was a member of the Children’s Parliament in my country. I worked as Regional President for the Bandama Valley and member of the national team that drafted the “White Paper” in 2008 for the institutionalization of children's parliament.
My first contact with the IPPFAR Member Association in my country -Association Ivoirienne pour le Bien-Etre Familial (Ivorian Association for Family Welfare-AIBEF) was in 2006 through a contest at my high school called “Fidel and Abstinia”. Fidel and Abstinia is an initiative designed to educate students about teenage pregnancies, and responsible behaviour.
In 2008, I became chairperson of the school health club in Bouaké. I was then contacted by the Bouaké regional antenna that was implementing the SHIFT project, and went on to hold the positions of Regional President twice, the position of National Vice-President and then national president.
Where does your passion for youth Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) come from?
My passion for the SRHR of adolescents and young people was heightened by an unfortunate event in 2012. I had a close friend who sadly died from complications of an unsafe abortion. This, coupled with the various reproductive health challenges that women face, inspired me to take action with hope of creating change in my community and wider society.
I continue to participate in various SRHR advocacy programs, the latest project being one that advocates for the empowerment of girls and rural women.
What sparked your interest in the IPPF Africa Region internship program?
I got interested in it because as a student, it offered me the opportunity and privilege to work in an international organization and learn about the different workings of such an institution. This is a great chance for me and any other young person –one that truly cannot be missed!
My expectations of the program are that it will enhance my project writing and management skills, and that I will be able to mobilize the necessary resources for successful project implementation, and that I will be able to develop projects that will effect change in my community.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years I see myself leading a mining business in Africa and at the same time an influential figure in Africa regarding advocacy for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.
Story by Maryanne Waweru-Wanyama, IPPF Africa Region.