Sexual health and personal development for young women in Northern Ireland

Choices was a community-based personal development sexual health project in Northern Ireland for young women under 25.

It ran from 1993-2015 and aimed to empower young people to make informed decisions about their sexual health, reproductive rights, relationships and lives.

Why this work is needed

Although FPA is no longer funded to run Choices, it is vital that this type of service is provided to young women.

Girls and young women need to be able to discuss their lives and issues that matter to them. Choices gave them the permission to talk openly in a secure and non-judgemental environment.

How we worked

We delivered group workshops, either as a six-week certified programme or an accredited Open College Network (OCN) programme of around nine weeks.

A typical programme might have included discussion on puberty, periods, conception, contraception, relationship dynamics, self-esteem, body confidence, consent, human rights, social networking and safety.

Course content was always age-appropriate, person-centered, group led and exploratory. We provided relevant, factual and educational information so that young people became aware of their human rights and the issues that affected them. Delivery and course content continually evolved to make sure we covered the issues that mattered to young people.

Confidentiality and group safety were paramount and our workshops were designed to maintain personal boundaries.

Project aims and outcomes

Choices aim was always to empower and enable young women to make informed and consensual choices regarding their health and relationships.

How we were funded

Choices was funded by the Public Health Agency until summer 2015.

Who to contact

For more information about this project, or to discuss working with FPA on similar projects please email Mark Breslin.