SARH – Sexual and Reproductive Health – Knowledge Beats Taboos is 18 months long project, financed by Erasmus+ program of EU and co-financed by Ministry of Sports in Montenegro. It contains international, mobility activities: kick off meeting in Serbia, 3 trainings in Montenegro and Spain, as well as study visit in Germany, evaluation meeting in Turkey. But also local, capacity building activities: trainings of peer educators, workshops in schools and youth clubs, video, on line campaign, web site, manual in 15 languages edited on line as well as round table with decision-makers and stakeholders.

The innovative aspect of this project is its holistic approach in tackling a rarely talked-about topic in a scientific and constructive way. We offers an integrative and holistic approach to the whole area of sexual and reproductive health, starting from gathering sexual identity, to sexual development, sexual intelligence, sexual preferences with reproductive health and ending with the development as well as sexual abuse and sexual-reproductive rights in one place. The training offers both science-based knowledge and expert hand-on practice skills development that will answer all topic-related questions, without masking or hiding details that are traditionally or religiously known as taboo; and within school textbooks are considered as “too much” – actually supporting existence of taboos too by hiding behind the “bee and flower” story.

Due to the fact that many young people prefer ask their peers (who often know the same or even less) or resort to social media platforms to search for answers to their questions related sexuality and health, we decided not to struggle against Internet as a source to educate young people about things that they are the most interested in, namely: their bodies and minds. We are going to offer information exactly there where the youth would search it for: on the internet. Mentioned web site will be created in a form adjusted to lap top and mobile devices too.

Furthermore, unlike other approaches, this project offers more than a simple story about HIV, unwanted pregnancies and condoms. Rather, it offers alternatives, in the sense that it will train youth workers on prevention and intervention, and equip them with advocacy capacities so that they train young people in their local communities. In communities/societies as traditional as the Balkan and Turkey, among other, sex before marriage is still considered a “great taboo.” Hence, “lack of bleeding” during first intercourse could be huge scandal, which often triggers even violence in couple relationships. Against this background, many young girls are forced to undergo surgical operation to reconstruct hymen or even implant a new artificial one. These girls and guys often have no enough knowledge about their bodies because schools Biology textbooks do not offer this kind of knowledge, or about the different types of hymen and that bleeding is not always present in first contacts, which will change expectations and prevent disappointment, anger and violence. Hence, our training is set to cover these questions among many others, offering fact-based answers and capacity building training by distinguishes guest speakers and experts.

Trainers are: Milisav Milinkovic Red Line and Dušica Popadić Incest Trauma Center, both from Serbia, Tomas Mora Sal Fuera Spain, as well as Aida Perović-Ivanović from Prima, Montenegro.

We gathered 15 youth organizations: Youth for Social Changes Albania, Municipality organization Red Cross Novo Sarajevo, BiH, Walk Together Bulgaria, People to People Estonia, Mostar Friedensprojekt Germany, Hellenic Youth Participation Greece, SEYF Italy, CESD Kosovo, ARTILT – D Latvia, Volunteer center Skopje, FYR Macedonia, APPR Romania, Red Line Serbia, Sal Fuera Spain and USKAD Turkey, as well as Prima from Montenegro.

Project lasts from 1. July 2017. till 31. December 2018