Community leader Jalal Obeido on MIFTAH's impact: knowledge about reproductive health strengthens and protects society
Ramallah: Jalal Obeido, activist and employee at the Agricultural Directorate’s Planning Department in Hebron says MIFTAH’s impact on his experience as a community leader and activist was an important turning point in his education and awareness on citizens’ rights, reproductive health and gender-based violence. He added that his knowledge on these subjects has increased along with many skills he did not previously have in his long years in the field of social work.
Obeido was one of a group of community leaders who took part in several training workshops organized by MIFTAH for male and female activists. The workshops were part of its UNFPA-funded “Support Women Protection” Project.
Obeido said of his participation in the last training workshop on reproductive health rights and gender-based violence, “I gained skills and education on these subjects, including my information on the laws and international treaties on reproductive health rights and GBV and the agreements on combatting violence and discrimination against women. The training helped mold my experience and character as a community leader and bolstered my belief in the importance of being knowledgeable about reproductive health in terms of its importance and protection of society.”
He continued, “Since I participate in many meetings, I always try to speak about this topic even though the people I encounter do not have a comprehensive idea about reproductive health. On the contrary, violence is often perpetrated at this level. For example, women give birth with very short periods of time between them, without any consideration to how important it is to space these births because of the negative affect it has on women’s health. In this regard, there must be family planning in a way that protects women and their physical and mental health. This was emphasized in the last training MIFTAH held and it is my duty as a community leader to explain this to the people I encounter, especially regarding early marriage and the negative affects it has on society.”
The experience and information Obeido acquired from these trainings prompted him to volunteer with several institutions. He said the trainings revealed how interested the participants were in the subject but how little information they had on the topic of reproductive health and gender-based violence and its devastating consequences. He said they were convinced of the need for more training so they could also help to spread awareness on this topic, adding that they wanted trainings to mostly target young people and on mothers and women in their homes. Obeido said it was imperative for those working in the social fields to bring attention to closing the gap between generations of parents and children. To this effect, he makes sure in all of his own trainings that target the youth sector, to focus on their problems in this regard and on how to deal with them. He maintained that he devotes the largest part of the training to discussing the youths’ issues in order to help minimize the problems they face today “especially with the widespread popularity of games such as PUBG and others,” Obeido said.
Obeido confirmed the importance of MIFTAH’s role in affording more attention to youth and women and to supporting women’s rights. He maintained that every group targeted in these trainings will leave an important impact on the lives of the targeted sectors, which will then impact others and so on and so forth. “I hope MIFTAH will offer ongoing trainings such as these and involve all social sectors in them. They should not be limited to one or another sector because these courses have proven to leave positive impacts on everything pertaining to rights and to changing some perceptions, which is the goal we all seek to achieve.”