Bringing Reproductive Health Education to Palenque: A Culturally Rich Afro-Colombian Community

In July 2019, ACESWorld CEO Linda Jackson and the ACESWorld team in Colombia implemented the P4L program in Arjona, Turbaco, and San Basilio de Palenque, Colombia. San Basilio de Palenque in particular is endowed with extraordinary cultural, gastronomic, and musical richness which has characterized the UNESCO Heritage masterpiece village.

 

Palenque, a village on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, retains its African heritage.

Palenque was founded in the 16th century by Benkos Biohó, a former African king from either the Democratic Republic of Congo or Angola, who was sold into slavery and escaped the slave port of Cartagena in 1599.  The village is the first African free town in America.

 

Palenque remains a relatively closed and traditional society, where girls frequently bear children and wed at a young age. The ACESWorld team found that reproductive health information and awareness of menstrual health in the community was very limited, paving way for the implementation of the P4L program in Palenque.

 

The Palenque community was exceptionally unified and supportive in working together with ACESWorld to increase reproductive knowledge and access to menstrual hygiene products. Young schoolgirls in Palenque received reusable pads for personal use and boys and girls learned about the reproduction.

 

ACESWorld hopes to continue to work together with the community members and partners in Palenque and thanks Kairen Gutierez and others who helped ACESWorld gain access to this important community.

Linda Jackson