Join the conversation:
Date : Thursday 31 March 2022
Time : 15:00 – 17:00
In person venue : Gender Links Cottages
To join online, click here Gender Links – Southern Africa Gender Community (glcop.org.za)
To join zoom, click here https://genderlinks-org-za.zoom.us/j/87051344357
Johannesburg, 31 March: SADC Gender Protocol Alliance members and Women Voice and Leadership grantees will round up International Women’s Month today with a hard look at Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) in Southern Africa.
The event takes place as Amplify Change announces their new funding partnerships which will strengthen grant-makers in the Global South to bring about positive change in sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Gender Links is one of three organisations, out of 651 applications selected, along with Conseils et Appui pour l’Éducation à la Base (CAEB) in Mali, and UHAI EASHRI in Kenya, to be an intermediary for this global fund.
In Southern Africa, the GBP 1.5 million over three years will be disbursed through GL for movement building and strengthening community based organisations that often struggle to access such funds.
“We are truly grateful for the trust placed in us and the opportunity for further growth. We look forward to a mutually rewarding partnership in which the sum of the parts is much greater than the whole!” said Kubi Rama, Executive Director of GL.
The Partnership project comes at an opportune moment. Since 2018, with the support of AmplifyChange, the Alliance adopted the Voice and Choice campaign for the attainment of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in line with SADC’s newly adopted SRHR strategy.
Through the Partnership project, GL will complement the delivery of the Voice and Choice campaign through downstream partners in the Alliance with managing a grant portfolio that will seek out promising smaller, new, and community-based organisations that are often by-passed in mainstream funding calls.
For greater impact we will encourage applications that build on the four priority areas identified by the Alliance: LGBTIQ, adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights, safe abortion, and child marriage. As fund manager, GL will provide support and capacity building to the smaller grantees; facilitate learning, sharing and joint advocacy campaigns; and coordinate the annual Voice and Choice Barometer to hold decision-makers accountable.
SRHR are essential for reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for health, however women and girls still face barriers to accessing these essential services. The situation is compounded for AGYW where punitive policies, restrictive laws, and hostile health care workers create barriers to their access to SRHR services.
In just three years, “Voice and Choice, from Local to Regional Action” has succeeded in galvanising the 15 networks of the Southern African Gender Protocol Alliance on key SRHR concerns. The aim of the 2021/22 SRHR campaigns is to amplify the Southern Africa #VoiceandChoice campaign in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, by casting the spotlight on Adolescent SRHR and three closely related themes: teenage pregnancies, child marriages and unsafe abortion. Emerging evidence suggests that these have increased as a result of the pandemic.
The 2021 Voice and Choice Barometer shines a spotlight on ASRHR and shows that some of the biggest concerns related to ASRHR are high rates of teenage pregnancy, child marriage and access to safe abortion. Ten out of 16 SADC countries do not have stand-alone ASRHR policies and some expire in 2020; six SADC countries still have different ages of marriage for girls and boys, where the age for girls is younger than for boys; and only two SADC countries have provision for abortion on demand.
The SADC region consists of a largely youthful population who are demanding space to participate meaningfully in matters affecting their lives making young women central to the #VoiceandChoice campaign.
The aim of the policy advocacy has been to urge all SADC countries to commit to progressive ASRHR policies that address these three important and interrelated issues. We will be asking critical questions on Voice and Choice in the SADC region and reflect on some of the challenges and successes of the campaigns.
Advocacy efforts have highlighted the need for consistent and long term funding for SRHR policy advocacy, which is often a lengthy process, especially on contentious issues such as access to safe abortion. Funding is also essential to building strong more resilient women’s rights and feminist movements.
According to the Amplify Change announcement “The partnerships will help strengthen the capacity of a growing constellation of organisations in the Global South to be dynamic regional and global leaders in advocating for SRHR. They will help embed advocacy and grant support decision making in the Global South and proximate to the countries where civil society seeks to bring about positive change.”
For more information, please contact Susan Tolmay, Gender and Governance Associate, Tel: 083 519 8959, firstname.lastname@example.org