Women and girls around the world are facing particular hardship from the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. The extra pressure on health systems and social services means access to SRHR services is increasingly limited and gender-based violence has increased in many countries. RNW Media is working to address the crisis through its global network of Love Matters platforms and is now partnering in a new programme designed to safeguard the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people, especially young women.
In response to COVID-19, Canada’s international development agency, Global Affairs Canada, has established a crisis fund to support programmes targeting women, children and adolescents affected by the pandemic. This fund recently awarded 3.22M euros to a partnership led by Marie Stopes International (MSI) and including the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and RNW Media. The partnership will work to increase the use of family planning and safe abortion services and ensure accurate and reliable SRHR information continues to reach women and girls.
Informing and connecting
In support of the partnership, the Love Matters platforms will further expand their work providing young people with online access to youth-friendly evidence and rights-based SRHR information. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Love Matters teams have been inundated with queries and concerns from their communities about what is and isn’t safe, and how they can deal with their SRH needs. We will connect these young people to services and service providers via the MSI and IPPF networks. Love Matters will also design and implement campaigns harnessing the power of social media to raise awareness about SRHR issues and use our the online data to understand how young women currently access SRHR services, including abortion care, in order to improve delivery of such services.
Support from RNW Media will enable IPPF Member Associations and MSI to expand reach for accurate, rights-based information to youth and isolated individuals and linkages to services. RNW Media’s training centre, RNTC, will offer capacity strengthening to MSI and IPPF country office staff to improve digital engagement of young people with SRHR. Trainings will emphasise a youth-friendly pleasure positive approach and cover the production of persuasive digital content and messaging, digital campaigns training to raise awareness and generate demand for SRHR services, digital safety and security, and online SRHR moderation.
Reacting to news of the grant, RNW Media’s CEO Jacqueline Lampe said: “We are excited to be embarking on a partnership with Global Affairs Canada, MSI, and IPPF, to ensure that young women living in very difficult situations do not go without essential sexual and reproductive information and will be able to access the SRH services they need.”
IPPF and MSI are global leaders in comprehensive SRHR service delivery and advocacy and their clinics are often the only access to contraception, safe abortion (where legal) and post-abortion care in the communities where they are based. This new project will strengthen their current family planning service provision and explore new interventions in telemedicine and digital outreach
The project will run until March 2021 in Ghana, The Philippines, Bangladesh, Nepal, DRC, Senegal, Mali, Niger, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Kenya, Nigeria and Yemen. RNW Media will be implementing activities in DRC, Yemen, Kenya and Nigeria.
You can read more about Love Matters’ response to the Coronavirus pandemic here.