– Release date: 09 June 2008
Brian Lenihan TD, Minister for Finance today (9.6.08), launched the Women in Sexuality Education (WiSE UP) Impact Report at the Blanchardstown Library.
WiSE Up, a pilot programme on sexuality education, was designed by the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) for women living and working in communities experiencing social exclusion.
From 2005 to 2007 the twenty week WiSE Up programme was delivered to women in the following RAPID areas Clondalkin, Tallaght, Blanchardstown, Bray, Dundalk and Drogheda and also to traveller women in Pavee Point.
The programme was funded under the Equality for Women Measure: RAPID Strand. The Report itself was commissioned by the IFPA was funded by Pobal, the Crisis Pregnancy Agency and the IFPA.
The report was presented by one of its author’s Dr Jo Murphy Lawless of the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College. Dr Lawless highlighted the many successes of the WiSE Up programme and recommended that the WiSE UP Programme be rolled out in other economically disadvantaged areas.
Dr Lawless concluded her presentation by noting that, “The WiSE UP model has much to contribute to meeting a tremendous wellpool of unmet needs in communities where social exclusion remains a daily reality”.
Speaking at the today’s launch, Ms Rosie Toner, Facilitator of the WiSE UP Programme said; “We know from both common sense and a wealth of qualitative research that a strong link exists between disadvantage and poor sexual and reproductive health.
For example cervical cancer, teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted infection rates are all higher in disadvantaged areas.
“Programmes like WiSE Up can work to empower communities through education and the provision of skills which will enable them to discuss sex and sexualilty with their children and peers.”
The IFPA also reiterated its call for a national sexual health strategy and well resourced action plan to be developed and implemented as soon as possible.
“This strategy would provide a comprehensive approach to sexual health and incorporate the provision of a choice of free and accessible family planning services, of accessible and appropriate information. It would ensure that there is research into local needs ensuring the provision of tailored services dependent on those needs and it would ensure that community based outreach programmes such as that pioneered in WiSE UP would be funded and provided where needed.” Concluded Ms Toner.