Identifying the SRH Needs of Female University Students

As a recent university grad who spent 5 years in university, the topic of SRH needs and how they are un/met within universities is as close to my heart as much as it is part of lived experiences. And as a student who was an active member of a university feminist initiative, I have had the opportunity to research factors that pose a challenge to women’s educational careers.
Through this journey I have found that female university students identify different sexual and reproductive health problems that hold them back from reaching their full potential while in school. Not to mention, students also pin pointed the discrepancy between their SRH needs and the services that are available to them on campus.

My choice of identifying the SRH needs of female students in universities comes from my desire to connect the dots between the SRH needs and opportunities in universities. I believe identifying SRH needs of students will give direction and inspiration for interventions by actors in the field.
I also believe using an HCD lens identify SRH needs allows students who face the problem first hand to name and frame the problem as well as identify paths for its solution.


Thanks so much for sharing this, Heran! I’m remembering back to my university days and remember seeking out FP options and told that BC pills weren’t covered by my student insurance because they offered condoms “at cost” (not even free!) - totally not the same! I wish I had someone at my school who had done what you’re doing and have no doubt you’ll make a difference with your research findings!

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The HCD based study to identify the SRH needs of university students yielded many findings. Of the many interesting findings, one that jumped out was the link between the awareness levels of students and the demand and access of SRH services within the university.
Awareness as a determining factor of if and how students seek SRH services came out in two ways. First, It was found that students are largely unaware of the SRH services that exist in the campus as well as the different bodies that provide SRH services. Students across different years of study and therefore varying levels of familiarity of their university campus, were found to be similarly unaware of what SRH services existed for their use. Logically, this is related to the finding that students’ lack of awareness of the two was strongly connected to why students don’t seek SRH services.

The second finding related to lack of awareness extended to student’s lack of awareness regarding the issue of sexual and reproductive health as a concept. While students were able to pin point specific challenges that can easily be termed SRH issues, they were unable to name and group their SRH challenges as such. Much related with this, it was also found that students did not have reliable sources of information with regards to SRH issues. And sources of SRH information students relied on are friends, social media, television and radio.

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Take a look at my final project output- an Insights Deck!

Individual Learning Project Slide deck - Heran.pptx (7.0 MB)

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Heran, I just read through your Insights Deck and it’s so good! I love how you’ve broken down your findings into Awareness, Service Demand, and Agency.

What really stood out to me the most is that last section on agency - and demanding the question:

How might we build the agency of female students to help them demand their SRH rights?

It shows that there is a lot of work to be done in the SRHR world if young people feel as though these are not actionable rights and if they demand them there will be backlash. I hope that having these findings clearly stated is a big step towards starting to address these challenges.

Great work on this deck - I can’t wait to see what comes next!