What actions are you taking to promote and protect the health and rights of women and young people worldwide?
Change needs to occur from the local level to the national level. We have a variety of different interventions on maternal health:
- • Advocacy on better local health facilities
• Access to safe legal abortion services and post-abortion care
• Information and services on sexual and reproductive health
• Making HIV services such as the prevention of mother to child transmission more accessible to women.
• We address sexual and reproductive health and rights and HIV/AIDS in a manner that is appropriate and effective in the specific local context.
The Young Voices for Change Project
Building awareness of young people with regard to their sexual and reproductive rights, and empowering them to undertake participatory advocacy to defend their rights. Young people are also supported to develop case studies and monitor the services available to them, creating an evidence base for advocacy activities. They also use drama, puppet shows, TV, radio, and a program of peer education to reinforce messages and support positive behavior change among their peers and the wider community.
The Women’s Voices for Change Project
Supports women living with HIV and AIDS and their families, and orphans and vulnerable children, with support for positive living and treatment. We also works at raising awareness of the needs and rights of people living with HIV and AIDS, to increase community participation in care and support services and reduce stigma and discrimination. We also have health and education services to gather evidence on their attitudes towards people living with HIV and AIDS, orphans and vulnerable children, and use the results to conduct local and national advocacy with service providers and legal authorities.
Improve Youth and Adolescent SRH including HIV and AIDS
We are initiating a ‘peer education’ program, which trains young people to raise awareness and promote behavior change amongst their own peer group. We are also sensitising communities and training health service providers so that they are aware of the specific sexual health needs of young people.
Poor health systems and restricted mobility of women result in inadequate and often inaccessible SRH services in some areas (particularly remote rural parts) to those that need them most. We improve the quality of S&R services, empowering women to access those services, and sensitizing communities and decision-makers on SRH&R issues.
What is your vision of lasting change for yourself and for the world's young people?
Many marginalised groups, such as women, young people, people living with HIV/AIDS, and men who have sex with men remain underserved by generalised health responses. We focus on empowering marginalized groups and increasing their access to SRH and HIV/AIDS services.
Poverty levels, STI and HIV rates, gender iniquities, maternal mortality rate, female average age at first marriage or union, and other factors that affect people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Gender-based discrimination, poverty, gender-based violence, discriminatory laws, policies and cultural practices place women at increased risk of HIV/AIDS and poor SRH outcomes. Although with proper nutrition and treatment many HIV positive people live long, healthy lives, they often experience stigma, discrimination and denial of their rights.
We build capacity to improve access to and the quality of services for young people, women, people living with HIV/AIDS, orphans and children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS and other marginalized groups. We aim to empower these groups to demand and exercise their rights regarding these services and information. We recognise that it is important for responses to SRH&R and HIV/AIDS are coordinated. Traditional family planning providers have begun to integrate increased SRH&R, including HIV/AIDS prevention and care and support, into their services. Throughout our programming, we address the underlying root causes of poor SRH&R outcomes and HIV/AIDS, including addressing gender inequities and discrimination, through advocacy, awareness raising, and sensitization at the community, district, national and regional levels.
• The provision of sexual and reproductive health information and services to the young population has remained sensitive and controversial among many communities.
• There is a lack of awareness of young people’s sexual and reproductive rights among parents, community and young people themselves.
• Young people are not encouraged to express their views or participate in decision-making processes, meaning they cannot inform government, communities, or each other about important issues affecting their welfare.
If you could tell world leaders one thing, what would it be?
All peoples in the world have the right to existence.
Many marginalized groups, such as women, young people, people living with HIV/AIDS, and men who have sex with men remain underserved by generalized health responses. People belonging to the most marginalized and impoverished groups in the world have the right to be recognized and to have their basic human rights respected. In particular they have the right to be able to survive as peoples and to maintain and develop their cultures based on their own aspirations, visions, and identity.