How are ICTs used to draw young Sudanese women into pre-marital sexual activities and how can ICTs be used to protect them against this?

LOCATION: Khartoum
Khadiga Abass Abd Elatti

Dissemination of the research results
October 2010

A fruitful workshop was arranged to present, reflect and discuss the findings of our project with NGOs, policy makers, religious leaders, university staff, students and some guests. Three famous speakers known for their talks about the changes in the community on television, radio programs and in mosques were invited: Dr. A. Elbagi, who is a psychologist, professor A. Alzaki, a religious leader, and Dr M.M. Elgemiabby. The problem of premarital sex was discussed freely taking in consideration all the different aspects of the issue. Dr A. Elbagi gave some examples about his research with university students of collecting random samples of mobiles SMS to see what were they about.   The results showed that romance and sex were the subjects of the majority of the messages. Professor A. Alzaki also talked freely about some cases and the influence of the western culture through the ICTs. He explained the exact Islamic vision about premarital sex and unwanted pregnancy, saying Islamic sharia laws should not be implemented before full community awareness because knowledge and responsibility are the basic platform for a proper Islamic community. Studying the case and looking for solutions should come before punishment. Dr M.M. Elgemiabby said that  the problem was family, community, religious and government responsibility to break the silence  and enhance the awareness about the importance of ICTs for prevention of this phenomena  as a lot of media programs about the forms of sexuality were available .
I think this is the beginning of breaking the silence within the community.

2- My research team participated in a forum at the national council for child welfare –secretary general office at Khartoum. Women from UNICEF, universities, NGOs and lawyers were participating, as well as an Egyptian lady representing the International Network to Analyze, Communicate and Transform (INTACT), the campaign against FGM/C (http://www.intact-network.net/intact/index.php). This forum was about the reasons for fighting FGM and the findings from a pilot project were presented by a professor who is actively fighting FGM. The forum was under the patronage of the secretary general of the national council for child welfare.  I found this opportunity was a good chance to show what we are doing in GRACE by presenting some of my research results to these authorized women; to talk about FGM as a factor that contributes to premarital sexual relationships and can facilitate the spreading of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. I also talked about how ICTs are used for facilitating premarital sex among young women and men and how sustainable ICT programs can be used to counter this. The role of parents needs to change as the topic of sex is still considered a taboo subject between parents and children due to shame and fear.  When I presented some of the findings of this project all the participants decide that this is the time where the problem of the ICTs and premarital sex and also the factors that lead to it should be discussed loudly and the silence should be broken. The secretary general said that silence should be broken and women must be empowered .The woman from the UNICEF said that all these factors must be taken seriously and to be thought about.
I think this was a good data dissemination and results sharing opportunity, it rang a bell about premarital sex, which is not a very common practice in our conservative culture. It is the beginning of the journey towards the change.






Grace is an initiative envisioned and funded by
the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), developed by Research For the Future (RFF) and managed by The GRACE Project Voluntary Association
Grace est une initiative initiée et financée parle Centre de recherches pour le développement international (CRDI), développée par Research For the Future,
et gérée par l'Association Volontaire Projet de GRACE .