BECAUSE EVERYONE COUNTS
«KYZ TAGDYRY» PROJECT
THE PROJECT IS INITIATED BY THE KAZAKHSTAN SINGER AKMARZHAN KUSHERBAYEVA – KALIYA. IN SUMMER 2017 AKMARZHAN HAS WRITTEN THE SONG ABOUT SOCIAL PROBLEMS - EARLY PREGNANCY, ABORTIONS AND STIGMATIZATION OF GIRLS IN KAZAKHSTAN. THE SONG WORDS ABOUT FRAGILE DESTINY OF GIRL WERE WRITTEN BY SHOMISHBAY SARIYEV AND THE MUSIC WAS WRITTEN BY NURLAN KARAZHIGITOV.
“KYZ TAGDYRY” IS TRANSLATED AS “DESTINY OF GIRL” WHICH IS IN TUNE WITH THE GLOBAL COMPANY OF UNFPA #HERFUTURE (“HER FUTURE”). AKMARZHAN HAS CONTACTED THE FUND WITH REQUEST TO PROVIDE THE ACTUAL STATISTICS CONCERNING THE TEENAGE PREGNANCY IN KAZAKHSTAN. IN SEPTEMBER,2017 SHE HAS RECEIVED THE PROPOSAL TO BE THE OFFICIAL SPEAKER OF UNFPA CONCERNING THE REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH SAFETY AMONG YOUNG PEOPLE IN KAZAKHSTAN.
«KAZAKH TRADITIONS DO NOT SUGGEST HUMILIATING TREATMENT WITH GIRLS»
KALIYA SINGER HAS TOLD “STEPPE” ABOUT HER INSPIRATION SOURCE AND FURTHER INTENDED TARGETS.
-- AKMARZHAN, WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO WRITE THIS KIND OF SONG AND MAKE A CLIP ON THIS TOPIC?
EVERY DAY I AM CAUGHT UP BY THE NEWS ABOUT A GIRL WHO HAS THROWN AWAY HER CHILD AFTER UNWANTED PREGNANCY HIDDEN FROM HER FAMILY FOR FEAR . A LIVING PERSON. SHE HAD SEEN NO OTHER WAY - SHE DID NOT KNOW HOW TO PRACTICE SAFE SEX, SHE DID NOT KNOW ABOUT PRENATAL CARE, SHE DID NOT KNOW WHERE TO ASK FOR HELP BEFORE OR AFTER DELIVERY. EVEN IF THERE WERE PEOPLE WHO COULD HELP HER, AND THESE PEOPLE REALLY EXIST, SHE DID NOTHAVE A CLUE ABOUT THEIR EXISTENCE.
SOCIETY BEGINS TO DO WHAT IT CAN DO THE BEST - TO STIGMATIZE AND CONDEMN. I COULDNOTSTAY INDIFFERENT. I DECIDED TO TAKE THIS PROBLEM TO THE SURFACE.
ALLTHOUGH EVERYONE HAS A CHOICE –EITHER TO RAFRAIN FROM THE CONDEMNATION AND LEND A HELPING HAND OR TO START TAKING ACTIONS TO PREVENT SUCH CASES.
- DO YOU CONSIDER THAT CELEBRITIES HAVE TO ENGAGE IN ACTIVE ATTITUDE CONCERNING THE ISSUE?
RESPONSIBILITY RESTS WITH US - TO BE THE GUIDES, TO DELIVER INFORMATION TO THE PEOPLE BECAUSE WE HAVE OPPORTUNITY TO DO IT. IF BY LISTENING MY SONG, ANY TEENAGER, HIS PARENT OR CLOSE PERSON WOULD THINK FOR A SECOND AND UNDERSTAND THE EXISTENCE OF THE GLOBAL SOCIAL PROBLEM,THEN MY OBJECTIVE IS ACHIEVED. I WILLSING ON THIS, SOMEONE WILL MAKE A MOVIES ABOUT IT, ANOTHER ONE WILL WRITE. THIS IS HOW WE WILL START THE POSITIVE PROCESSES IN SOCIETY.
THERE IS A TABOO IN OUR SOCIETY: EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS IN FAMILY - STAYS IN FAMILY. NOBODY HAS TO SUBMIT IT FOR PUBLIC DISCUSSION AND NOBODY HAS THE RIGHT TO FIGHT AGAINST IT. BUT WE HAVE TO CHANGE SOMEHOW.
EVERYONE IS INVOLVED BY OWN ACTION OR INACTION, BY OWN WORDS OR SILENCE - ALL OF US BEAR RESPONSIBILITY. THAT IS THE MESSAGE THAT I WANT TO SHARE. EVERYONE IN THEIR INNER CIRCLES HAS GIRLS OR WOMEN WITH WHOM IT HAS ALREADY HAPPENED OR WILL HAPPEN SOON.
- HOW WILL OUR SOCIETY WHICH IS MAINLY TRADITIONAL REACT TO THIS KIND OF STATEMENT?
I DEEPLY BELIEVE THAT TRADITIONS OF THE KAZAKH PEOPLE NEVER ASSUMED A HUMILIATING TREATMENT TO GIRLS. "GIRL'S WAY IS DELICATE", - SAYS POPULAR KAZAKH WISDOM. FROM THE DAWN OF TIME A GIRL WAS CONSIDERED AS FRAGILE AND GENTLE, SHE DEMANDS REVERENTAL ATTITUDE ONLY. A GIRL WAS TO SEAT AT "TOR" (THE PLACE OF HONOUR IN THE HOUSE - THE EDITOR'S NOTE) BECAUSE SHE IS A GUEST AT HOME - THE GUEST WHO HAS TO GET ALL LOVE AND CARESS. SUCH ATTITUDE ALLOWED THE EDUCATED AND BELOVED DAUGHTER TO BECOME SELF-ASSURED WOMAN WHO CREATES HAPPY FAMILY.
I UNDERSTAND THAT PEOPLE ARE VERY DIFFERENT. SOMEONE WOULD DENY, SOMEONE WOULD BEGIN TO CRY, SOMEONE WOULD RECOGNIZE HIMSELF, AND SOMEONE COULD BE OFFENDED. BUT IT WILL BE WORSE IF NO ONE WOULD CARE.
- HOW THE SONG "KYZ TAGDYRY" WAS BORN?
THE WHOLE TEAM HAS WORKED ON ITS CREATION. I HAVE COME TO THE LYRICIST SHOMYSHBAY SARIYEV AND HAVE EXPLAINED THAT I WANT TO TELL THE LISTENER THAT IT IS NECESSARY TO APPEAL TO THINK, NOT TO JUST TO BLAME. HE HAS LISTENED TO ME.
THE LYRICS HAS BEEN WRITTEN WITHIN JUST ONE NIGHT - THE NEXT MORNING I HAVE HAD A FIRST LOOK AND UNDERSTOOD THAT THE AUTHOR HAS HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD - I DIDN'T WANT TO CHANGE ANY WORD.
THEN IT WAS NECESSARY TO PUT WORDS ON MUSIC. THE SONG LYRICS IS DIFFICULT, IT WAS QUITE DIFFICULT TO EXPRESS THEM MUSICALLY. IN ADDITION, I DID NOT WANT THE MUSIC TO BE HEART BREAKING AND TEAR JERKING, THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN EXCESSIVE. THERE WAS A WISH FOR DYNAMICS, DEVELOPMENT AND SIMPLICITY. NURLAN KARAZHIGITOV HAS IDEALLY COPED WITH THE TASK.
- TELL US HOW THE VIDEO ON THESE LYRICS AND MUSIC WAS BORN?
I IMMEDIATELY IMAGINES A STORY OF GENTLE BEAUTIFUL GIRLS WITH DREAM AND HOPE IN EYES WHICH BEAR PURITY AND LIGHT ENERGY. IT WAS IMPORTANT TO SHOW TINIEST DETAILS, INVISIBLE TO EYE - HOW LOOK CAN DIE OUT, HOW TEARS CAN POUR DOWN, HOW FRIENDS AND FAMILY CAN TURN AWAY. BUT ONCE YOU GIVE A HELPING HAND AND THE GIRL WILL BLOSSOM AND "EVEN THE MOUNTAINS WILL KNEE BEFORE HER BEAUTY” - AS SAID IN THE SONG.
I CAME TO THE TALENTED DIRECTOR KATERINA SUVOROVA WITH THE IDEA OF THE CLIP, I WAS CONFIDENT THAT SHEWILL UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT.AND IT HAPPENED. IT WAS VERY PLEASANT THAT MANY MEN - LYRICISTS AND MUSIC AUTHORS, OPERATOR, ACTORS HAVE PARTICIPATED IN THE PROJECT DEVELOPMENT. EVERYONE WAS CONCENTRATED ON WORK AND UNDERSTOOD, AS WELL AS ME AND KATYA, THAT THEY TAKE PART IN AND ME SOMETHING IMPORTANT. THE ATMOSPHERE WAS AMAZING AND INSPIRING.
- WHILE CREATING THE VIDEO YOU WERE INVITED TO BECOME A SPOKESPERSONFOR UNFPA (UNITED NATIONS POPULATION FUND). WHY DID YOU AGREE?
UNFPA IS UNITED NATIONS REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND RIGHTS AGENCY. ONE OF THEIR TASKS IS TO SECURE THE YOUNGER GENERATION AGAINST PROBLEMS, WHICH THEY CAN DRAW UPON THEMSELVES BECAUSE OF LACK OF KNOWLEDGE.
THEIR CURRENTLY WORK ON INTRUDOSING SEXUAL EDUCATION INTO THE SCHOOL CURRICULUM, CREATE DIALOGUE BETWEEN TEENAGERS AND THEIR PARENTS, BRING REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH OF THE NATION TO THE AGENDA. I AM GLAD TO BE THEIR SPOKESPERSON AND HAVE OPPORTUNITY TO DISTRIBUTE THE ADEQUATE INFORMATION.
SOMEONE WILL TELL THAT THE TALKING - IS EMPTY, BUT ACTUALLY THE WORDS WHICH ARE TOLD AT THE CORRECT MOMENT CAN SAVE LIVES.
THERE WAS A SIMILAR CASE IN MY LIFE. THE GIRL BECAME PREGNANT, HER PARENTS HAVE TURNED BACK TO HER, THE GUY DIDN'T RECOGNIZE HIS INVOLVEMENT, HER FRIEND KICK HER AWAY FROM THE APARTMENT WHICH THEY RENTED TOGETHER WHYN STUDYING. HER AUNT WANTED TO MARRY HER TO THE UNFAMILIAR WIDOWER UNTIL THIS GIRL MET ME BY CHANCE.
I TOLD HER ABOUT "THE HOUSE OF MOTHER " WHICH I HAVE JUST SEEN IN SOCIAL NETWORKS. SHE HAS ASKED FOR THE HELP THERE AND SHE HAS FOUND SUPPORT.
SHE WAS SHELTERED, GOT SPECIAL CARE IN POLICLINIC, AND ABOVE ALL - SHE HAS RECEIVED THE MORAL HELP. SHE GAVE BIRTH TO THE HEALTHY BOY AND SOON AFTER THE DELIVERY HER PARENTS CAME ROUND, THEY WERE SHOCKED BY THE FACT THAT THEY WERE READY TO TURN AWAY FROM THEFAMILY, THEY TOOK HER BACK HOME AND NOW LOVE THEIR GRANDSON WITH ALL HEART.
THE SITUATION WAS SAFELY RESOLVED, JUST BECAUSE THE GIRL LEARNED ABOUT EXISTING OPPORTUNITY. NOTHING SUPERNATURAL, NO FINANCIAL INVESTMENTS OR COMMUNICATIONS - ONLY THE WORDS TOLD IN TIME. AND SUCH WORK OF THE POPULATION INFORMATION SHOULD BE CONTINUED. TO TELL ABOUT OPPORTUNITIES, TO AVOID PROBLEMS, TO EDUCATE PEOPLE. HOW CAN I REMAIN UNINVOLVED? I CANNOT.
The United Nations Population Fund deals with issues of reproductive health, and development of the population. The main objective is assistance to implementation of the rights of women, men and children for health and equal opportunities. UNFPA helps the countries to use data on the population in the process of programs development for protection of reproductive health and reduction of poverty so that every pregnancy wanted, every childbirth is save, and every young person's potential is fulfilled.
In Kazakhstan UNFPA focuses attention on the following directions:
- reproductive health and rights of population
- population and development
- gender equality
- combatting gender based violence.
ARCHAISM AND NEGLECT: WHO FIGHTS FOR SEXUAL LITERACY IN KAZAKHSTAN
The editorial office of The Steppe has talked to Yulia Lysenkova, the employee of UNFPA, the coordinator of programs for protection of reproductive health of youth, the doctor dermatovenerologist, the master of public health care according to the international program of the Higher School of Public health care.
- What is the statistics about teenage pregnancy in Kazakhstan?
It is difficult to monitor the pregnancy. Specifically among teenage girls, as it happens quite often that their pregnancies end with spontaneous abortions or abortions which aren't always registered. On the other hand, the childbirth is always registered therefore this indicator is more reliable.
According to official data, in 2015 the average ratio of childbirths among teenage girls of 15-19 years in the country has made 34 cases out 1000 that is 6 times higher, than in the countries of OECD (The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development - the international economic organization of 35 developed countries recognizing the principles of representative democracy and free market economy - the editor's note).
- Are there any researches on the reasons of early pregnancy in Kazakhstan? What is the characteristic of each region?
Unfortunately, the results of our polls among youth are really alarming.
13,6% of young people get their first sexual experience by the age of 15. About half of the interviewed teenagers at the age of 15-19 years incidentally or regularly have sexual relationships, and about 40% of them had two or more sexual partners.
Unfortunately teenagers do not tend to concern about chaotic sexual relations, and use of different contraceptives hasn't become a habit yet. As we believe the problem root is insufficient knowledge both about the contraception and possible consequences.
Three leading regions in the number of childbirths among teenage girls are Mangystau, Jambyl and Atyrau regions. For example in Mangystau Region, the ratio of childbirth among teenage girls makes 60% higher, than an average value in the country.
- What is the statistics on early abortions? Are there cases when abortions are carried out in improper conditions?
62% of cases ended with abortion among the interviewed girls who had a pregnancy. Only in 2016, 1400 abortions have been registered among girls at the age of 15-18 years. We also have to understand that there is a practice of informal abortions, for which statistics can't be collected. Even in the conditions of full anonymity the respondents do not point out such cases.
- In your opinion, is it necessary to introduce sexual education into the school curriculum and why?
The developed countries experience shows that the government has to provide general access for teenagers and young people to information on questions of sexual and reproductive health protection.
It is necessary to provide our youth with adequate information to protect them from unwanted pregnancies and infections, sexually transmitted diseases (STD). I consider, it is our responsibility in front of our children. If we are silent and pretend that the problem does not exist, it will not just disappear.
Moral sex education needs to be introduced in the school curriculum as the school is perceived as safe and favorable for training. And therefore knowledge gained here will stay in the head of children in more long term.
- Are there any nuances that should considered?
In our society we have the created myth that sexual education induces teenagers to early sexual activity because add additional interest in this issue. It is a lie. The set of conducted researches have proved the absolutely contrary.
On the contrary, teenagers study responsibility and postpone the first sexual experience having listened to the lectures.
Moral sex education is aimed at the development and strengthening of young people ability to accept balanced decisions based on mutual respect, in the context of the interpersonal relations, sexuality, emotional and physical health.
- What is the likelihood of probability of sexual education subject introduction to the school program in Kazakhstan?
In 2012-2015 yy. within the joint program of the Republic of Kazakhstan government and UN agencies in the East Kazakhstan region we have successfully started the project on introduction of "Valeology" subject with the strengthened component of sex and reproductive health protection.
Students of the first courses of colleges - teenagers at the age of 15-16 years were educated. Following the course results the awareness of students in questions of sex behavior has considerably increased.
After the successful experiment the modified course of "Valeology" with the strengthened component on sex and reproductive health protection was offered for distribution in all regions of the country. We have achieved its introduction in curriculum of 15 colleges of Kyzylorda region and 14 colleges of Mangystau Region. And from the beginning of the current academic year the course is being introduced in 8 pilot colleges of Aktobe region.
- What is the percent of use of contraceptives by young people? What method is the most popular among teenagers in Kazakhstan?
The most widespread method is condom. 83% of city residents use contraceptives and 77% in villages.
At the same time, about 25% of the teenagers who had two and more sexual partners within the last 12 months, indicated that they didn't use condom during the last sexual contact.
Nearly a quarter of the teenagers being sexually active put themselves at risk of infection with various infections, including HIV, not to mention undesirable pregnancy.
- Do the teenagers say the reason for refusal of contraceptives?
Usually it is low knowledge. Statistically, 11% of girls from the village consider that syringing after sexual act is a reliable method of contraception. Generally the half of respondents have specified that they just did not want to use condoms. And the quarter of teenagers specified that their financial situation did not allow them to buy contraceptives.
Another problem is very low degree of trust to doctors because of fear of violation of confidentiality . Statistically, 75% of the young people who had symptoms of STD did not ask for help in the medical organizations. It should also be noted, that current legislation does not help to solve a problem - teenagers up to 18 years do not have the right to make decisions concerning their reproductive health by their own.
That is the teenage girl who hasn't reached 18 years can't be examined by the gynecologist without the permission of her parents or lawful trustees.
And meanwhile 17% of married couples in Kazakhstan can't have children that often is a consequent effect of infections uncured in time, sexually transmitted infections and abortions.
- What can unwanted early pregnancy lead to? How does it influence further development of girls?
According to the conducted researches of UNFPA, the teenage girls living in rural areas are 12% more often than city girls face a problem of unwanted pregnancy and teenage childbirth. The rural people are less informed and at the same time are more sexually active.
Another problem that the girls from rural areas can face is early marriage, when the decision is usually made without their consent. It includes bride kidnapping, which is a violation of both human and child rights.
According to the Ministry of Justice annually about 3 thousand marriages with minors are registered in Kazakhstan.
The number of the child brides in the registered marriages by 20 times exceeds number of child grooms. This fact confirms that these marriages are compulsory.
By marrying, the girls give up study and lose a possibility of realizing their potential. It affects development of labor potential and social and economic wellbeing of the country.
- Why is it so important to give chance to girls to realize themselves?
Education prepares girls for life and work, increases their self-esteem, status in the family and society, and also gives them the opportunity to exert more influence on decisions affecting their lives.
Education reduces probability of child marriages and allows to delay pregnancy, so consequences from future childbirth will be more positive. The decision of the girl to drop out the school — because of pregnancy or on any other reason — can threaten her future economic prospects and deprive other opportunities in life.
- They say that the basic foundation for the educated population is education of girls. Is it true and why?
It is absolutely right. By investing in girls, we invest in development of the country. A girl who has not received proper education, most likely will not be able to compete in the labor market and will not find decent work. Respectively, she will not have sufficient income and will not be able to take care about her children in full and give them due knowledge.
As a result, with high probability, her children will repeat her destiny. It is some kind of "vicious circle of poverty". We consider that recognizing the responsibility of the child father is very important in such situation, besides support of family, close people and society.Thus, the girl will be able to complete education, realize the potential, raise a decent generation and contribute to the development of the country.