WE DECIDE: Young persons with disabilities call for equal rights and a life free of violence

Ariadna Capasso is Senior Technical Advisor for the FCI Program of Management Sciences for Health.

Violence against women, including forced or coerced sex, is an epidemic that persists all over the world. But women with disabilities, often marginalized and denied their sexual and reproductive health rights, are particularly vulnerable to such abuse.

In June, UNFPA launched WE DECIDE, a global initiative to promote gender equality and social inclusion of young persons with disabilities and advocate for the end of sexual violence. The FCI Program of MSH worked with UNFPA and a broad range of partners in the field of disabilities to build consensus for the framework of the four-year initiative and to develop communications materials for the initiative, including a video and an infographic that conveys key messages and data on the status of persons with disabilities and gender-based violence.

Photo by the Spanish Cooperation (AECID)
An expert and advocate for persons with disabilities attends a strategy meeting to discuss the new WE DECIDE initiative. Photo by the Spanish Cooperation (AECID)

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Melissa Wanda nominated for her achievements in reproductive health

Melissa Wanda Kirowo is Advocacy Project Officer for the FCI Program of Management Sciences for Health, was nominated for the 120 Under 40 Project by family planning colleagues for her substantial contributions to improving access to family planning in Kenya. The 120 Under 40 Project will select 40 reproductive health champions in 2016, 2017, and 2019 to build a roster of 120 exceptional young leaders by 2020, when the Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) partnership aims to reach 120 million additional women and girls with access to life-saving contraceptives and other reproductive health supplies. Read Melissa’s profile first appeared on 120 Under 40.

Meeting the needs of urban youth: What does the community say?

By Carol Gatura

Carol Gatura is Communications Officer at African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC). This article originally appeared on the APHRC blog, and is an update to the post Meeting the sexual and reproductive health needs of youth living in urban poverty.

Youth living in urban informal settlements face numerous challenges when it comes to accessing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) information and services. Comprehensive sexuality education is hardly taught in schools, and parents are not quite sure how to talk about sex with their children.

As part of our work on the USAID-funded African Strategies for Health project – a multi-year initiative in collaboration with Management Sciences for Health that examined barriers to access to reproductive health services in urban and peri-urban contexts across the continent – the African Population and Health Research Center produced a short film based in the Nairobi, Kenya slums of Viwandani and Korogocho.

Senior Chief Omache Nyabuto welcomes participants in Korogocho
Senior Chief Omache Nyabuto welcomes participants in Korogocho.

Continue reading “Meeting the needs of urban youth: What does the community say?”

Toast to the FCI Program of MSH: Women Deliver 2016 (#WD2016)

By Barbara Ayotte

Barbara Ayotte is Senior Director of Communications at Management Sciences for Health. This post originally appeared on the Global Health Impact Blog.

 {Photo: Joey O'Loughlin}
Women Deliver attendees celebrate the launch of the FCI Program of MSH Photo: Joey O’Loughlin

The FCI Program of MSH will maintain and strengthen the spirit and vision of FCI.
–Dr. Jonathan D. Quick, MSH

MSH hosted a lively reception at the close of the Women Deliver conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. More than 150 guests joined us to celebrate the recently launched FCI Program of MSH, an advocacy and accountability program drawing upon the staff and projects of Family Care International (FCI). The work of the FCI Program of MSH builds on FCI’s 30-year history of effective advocacy for improved maternal, newborn, and adolescent health and for sexual and reproductive health and rights. Women Deliver began in 2007 as a program of FCI, so this 4th and largest-ever Women Deliver conference was an especially appropriate place to honor FCI’s legacy and celebrate the FCI Program’s future within MSH. Continue reading “Toast to the FCI Program of MSH: Women Deliver 2016 (#WD2016)”

Advocacy is the bridge. Storytelling is the guide.

Alanna Savage is communications senior specialist for the FCI Program of Management Sciences for Health. 

Last year, youth in Mali--with support from FCI--performed plays to tell the stories of persons living with HIV/AIDS. (Photo by Catherine Lalonde)
Last year, youth in Mali–with support from FCI–performed plays to tell the stories of persons living with HIV/AIDS. (Photo by Catherine Lalonde)

“In 509 days, my country will go to the ballot box, and I will be running for office in Kenya,” announced Stephanie Musho, a law student and staffer at a global health non-profit. Ms. Musho made this bold statement while speaking on a panel of young African women leaders during the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in March.

“But first, I have to tell you a story about what it means to be a woman candidate,” she sighed. “I’ve worked hard for my campaign. I’ve met with constituents and partners to get their support and raise money. I approached two potential contributors, who were men, and they said ‘With a body like that, you shouldn’t have any problem raising money.’ I knew what they were insinuating, and I can’t believe this is still happening. But I’m not going to let that stop me.” Continue reading “Advocacy is the bridge. Storytelling is the guide.”

Meeting the sexual and reproductive health needs of youth living in urban poverty

Shiko, 23, raises her five-year-old son in a slum outside Nairobi, Kenya. When she went to her first antenatal visit after noticing changes in her body, the nurse denied her services because she thought Shiko was too young to have a baby. Now, Shiko is a mentor of girls in her community. She wants to make sure they have access to sexual and reproductive health information and youth-friendly services, so they can make healthy choices that are right for them.

Hannah, a health worker, provides non-judgmental sexual and reproductive health services to the young people who come to her clinic. Many of the youth she sees are pregnant, have sexually transmitted infections or want contraception.

How can we meet the sexual and reproductive health needs of youth living in urban poverty?

Experts highlight opportunities to improve the health of youth living in impoverished conditions and call for stronger, integrated health services to meet the needs of young people in an increasingly urban Africa.

Featuring FCI Program’s Melissa Wanda (Kenya), the video was funded by USAID and produced by African Strategies for Health (ASH) partners, the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) and Management Sciences for Health (MSH).

Advocating for better health of women, newborns, children, and youth: FCI Program of MSH

By Julia Marion and Rachel Hassinger

Julia Marion is a communications coordinator and Rachel Hassinger is an online communications specialist at Management Sciences for Health. This article originally appeared on MSH.org.

Photo by Catherine Lalonde
Photo by Catherine Lalonde

Amy Boldosser-Boesch recalls feeling fortunate to have interned with Family Care International (FCI) when studying for her Master’s in International Affairs at Columbia University. Founded in 1986, FCI was the first international organization dedicated to maternal and reproductive health. Little did she know, in those early days of her career, that she would one day lead the organization.

“I’ve been so honored to be a part of FCI and its long record of saving women’s lives,” says Amy. “FCI launched and led the global Safe Motherhood movement, hosted the first Women Deliver conference, was founding co-chair of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, and so much more—it’s really an incredible history of impact.” Continue reading “Advocating for better health of women, newborns, children, and youth: FCI Program of MSH”

A new chapter for FCI’s lifesaving mission!

Amy Boldosser-Boesch is the Senior Technical Director for the FCI Program of Management Sciences for Health (MSH). To receive updates in your inbox from the FCI Program and other MSH programs, please subscribe here.

Photo: Catherine Lalonde
Photo: Catherine Lalonde

A lot has happened since we first announced, a couple of months ago, the exciting news that a new chapter has begun for FCI’s mission to save women’s lives!

Now a part of Management Sciences for Health, the FCI Program of MSH has hit the ground running. Continue reading “A new chapter for FCI’s lifesaving mission!”

Addressing youth and disability: Policies of social inclusion, gender equality, non-discrimination and prevention of sexual violence

By Ariadna Capasso and Maria Faget

Ariadna Capasso is senior program officer for the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) program, and Maria Faget is LAC regional adviser on youth and adolescents.

The rights and needs of persons with disabilities are too often neglected, violated or ignored. This is manifested in acts of discrimination, emotional abuse, and physical and sexual violence, especially among adolescent women. Fifteen percent of people—close to 1 billion–around the world live with a disability, and 80% of them live in developing countries. Many women with disabilities, including adolescents, face unacceptable discrimination. Around 68% of women with a psychosocial disability will suffer sexual abuse before they turn 18. Women with disabilities often see their right to make decisions in regards to their fertility and motherhood curtailed, through practices such as forced sterilization and limited access to family planning methods. These practices are often the result of generalized stereotypes and lack of cultural sensitivity towards disabilities.

Centro de Formación, AECID (Spanish Cooperation)
Centro de Formación, AECID (Spanish Cooperation)

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Sexual and reproductive health and rights beyond 2015: UN concludes negotiations on sustainable development agenda (Arabic)

This article is also available in English, Spanish and French.

أخذت المفاوضات الحكومية الدولية النهائية على جدول أعمال التنمية لما بعد عام 2015 في نيويورك في الفترة من 20-31 يوليو، 2015 وبلغت المناقشات ذروتها في اعتماد “تحويل عالمنا: جدول أعمال 2030 للتنمية المستدامة” من قبل 193 دولة من الدول الأعضاء، مساء الاحد 2 أغسطس بعد فترة طويلة و مفاوضات شاقة.

دعي ممثلي الشبكات الإقليمية للصحة الإنجابية و الجنسية من جميع أنحاء العالم، جنبا إلى جنب مع صندوق الأمم المتحدة للسكان، بلا كلل في هذه المفاوضات – كما لدينا في كل الدورات السابقة التفاوض الحكومية الدولية – لضمان أن جدول أعمال ما بعد 2015 ويضمن حقوق الإنسان، لا سيما من SRHR كل الناس في كل مكان. يجلب المساواة بين الجنسين في صدارة؛ يعترف دور الشباب كعوامل رئيسية من التغيير؛ ويشمل ذلك المشاركة الفعالة للمجتمع المدني في تشكيل التنمية العالمية، على الصعيدين القطري والعالمي.

Continue reading “Sexual and reproductive health and rights beyond 2015: UN concludes negotiations on sustainable development agenda (Arabic)”