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U.K flag on a pole

UK government publishes new international development strategy

The UK government has released its long-awaited International Development Strategy (IDS) which details the UK’s approach to international development moving forward. The strategy sets out the FCDO's priorities as: Deliver honest and reliable investment, building on the UK’s financial expertise and the strengths of the City of London, and delivering the Prime Minister’s vision for the Clean Green Initiative, supporting partner countries to grow their economies sustainably. Provide women and girls with the freedom they need to succeed, unlocking their future potential, educating girls, supporting their empowerment and protecting them against violence. Provide life-saving humanitarian assistance and work to prevent the worst forms of human suffering, prioritising our funding and being a global leader in driving a more effective international response to humanitarian crises. Take forward our work on climate change, nature and global health. We are putting the commitments of our Presidency of G7 and COP26, our global leadership in science and technology, and our COVID-19 response, at the core of our international development offer. Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: "While, in theory, the UK’s new international development strategy prioritizes women and girls, it is unclear how the government will provide ‘the freedom they need to succeed’ while simultaneously cutting billions from the very things that help achieve this, including unhindered access to life-saving sexual and reproductive healthcare which helps keep girls in school, protects them from a lifetime of poverty and helps prevents untimely maternal deaths. "It is also unclear how the UK will prevent the worst forms of human suffering in humanitarian contexts when the 2021 aid cuts left millions of women across Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Ukraine, Sudan and Syria and Yemen with no control over their bodies, their futures, or their lives. And more so, while this government chooses to distribute the dedicated aid budget to fund other government departments rather than increasing overall budgets. "Until this government returns to the 0.7% target, this strategy will be little more than lip service from a government that knowingly robbed women and girls of their freedom and futures during the upheaval of a global pandemic when continued solidarity, support and humanitarian assistance from the wealthiest nations was most needed." For media enquiries, please contact Karmen Ivey on [email protected] or [email protected]   About the International Planned Parenthood Federation The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is a global service provider and advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.   For over 65 years, IPPF through its 118 Member Associations and 15 partners, has delivered high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare and helped advance sexual rights, especially for people with intersectional and diverse needs that are currently unmet. Our Member Associations and partners are independent organizations that are locally owned, which means the support and care they provide is informed by local expertise and context. We advocate for a world where people are provided with the information they need to make informed decisions about their sexual health and bodies. We stand up and fight for sexual and reproductive rights, and against those who seek to deny people their human right to bodily autonomy and freedom. We deliver care that is rooted in rights, respect, and dignity - no matter what.    

uk flag

FCDO provisional 2021 UK aid spending shows grim reality of aid cuts

Today, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) published its provisional statistics report on UK aid spending for 2021.  The total overall aid spend was £11.5 billion, down from £14.5 billion in 2020 following the UK government's reduction to overseas development aid (ODA) from 0.7 per cent to 0.5 per cent of gross national income (GNI), citing the economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.  ODA improves the lives of people around the world, helping them access the healthcare they deserve, including lifesaving sexual and reproductive healthcare. It also helps tackle global disease, eliminate poverty, provide humanitarian assistance during conflict and reduce the impact of climate change.  Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General for IPPF, said: “While not surprising, the provisional UK aid spend for 2021 shows the grim reality of making such severe cuts during the tremendous global upheaval of a pandemic, when continued solidarity, support and humanitarian assistance from the wealthiest nations is most needed. “The government already knew from the equalities impact assessment that these cuts to promised funds would be devastating for women, girls and diverse groups, who disproportionally experience the effects of poverty, disease and climate change while also bearing the burden of violence, especially in conflict. “Not only that, but the government also chose to distribute the dedicated aid budget to other government departments. This includes a staggering £915 million to the Home Office and counting so-called ‘donations’ of excess COVID vaccines to other countries, which could have been given to those in need instead. The aid cuts left millions of women in Ukraine with no control over their bodies, their futures, or their lives, just as it did in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Yemen, Sudan and Syria. Today, the role of the UK in building a better, safer world is more critical than ever if there is any hope of reversing the impacts of the cuts and the government must return to the 0.7% as soon as possible – the lives and futures of people depend on it”. Key statistics include: The provisional ODA:GNI ratio for 2021 was 0.5 per cent, or £11.5 billion. In 2021, UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) was £11,496 million, a decrease of £2,982 million (20.6 per cent decrease) on 2020. In 2021, UK bilateral ODA was £7,086 million (a decrease of 25.7 per cent) while U.K. multilateral ODA was £4,411 million (a decrease of 10.8 per cent). The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) spent £8,308 million in 2021, compared with £10,664 million in 2020 (a decrease of £2,356 million).  Non-FCDO5 spend on ODA in 2021 was £3,189 million, compared with £3,815 million in 2020 (a decrease of £626 m). The non-FCDO share was 27.7 per cent, up from 26.3 per cent in 2020. In 2021, £550 million of UK ODA was spent on activities to address the COVID19 pandemic². The Home Office spent £915 million of ODA in 2021 (an increase of 53.3 per cent). This was mostly due to increased accommodation costs for asylum seekers to ensure the measures set out in law were adhered to in limiting the spread of COVID-19. For media enquiries, please contact Karmen Ivey on [email protected] or [email protected]  About the International Planned Parenthood Federation The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is a global service provider and advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.   For over 65 years, IPPF through its 118 Member Associations and 15 partners, has delivered high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare and helped advance sexual rights, especially for people with intersectional and diverse needs that are currently unmet. Our Member Associations and partners are independent organizations that are locally owned, which means the support and care they provide is informed by local expertise and context. We advocate for a world where people are provided with the information they need to make informed decisions about their sexual health and bodies. We stand up and fight for sexual and reproductive rights, and against those who seek to deny people their human right to bodily autonomy and freedom. We deliver care that is rooted in rights, respect, and dignity – no matter what.  

United Kingdom Flag

Equalities Assessment: UK Government knew 2021 aid cuts would significantly impact women and girls

The Government’s Equalities Assessment shows that the government was well aware that the scale of the 2021 aid cuts to specific gender interventions, including Violence Against Women and Girls and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, would disproportionately impact women, girls and people with protected characteristics such as those living with disabilities.  The U.K. government were also aware that the aid cuts would reduce services available to survivors of sexual violence, including sexual exploitation, abuse and sexual harassment. Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: “We are pleased to see the long-awaited equalities assessment and are hopeful that public scrutiny will encourage the Government to double down on its efforts to champion and support equality. Government commitments are especially significant for 2022, given the scale of the 2021 aid cuts to specific gender interventions, including those helping to end Violence Against Women and Girls, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights programmes and targeted interventions aimed at reaching those left furthest behind – including people living with disabilities. “Today, the role of international aid in building a better, safer and equal world is more relevant than ever as the Ukrainian people look to governments across the globe to support them during the most severe humanitarian crisis Europe has seen in years. With the EU predicting up to 7 million displaced people and vulnerable refugee populations requiring distinct and personalised care, we ask the U.K Government to step up for the international community and return to the 0.7% aid target as soon as possible – the lives and futures of people across the globe depend on it.” Manuelle Hurwitz, Director of Programmes for IPPF, added:   "The government knew the reduction to development programmes would completely contradict its priorities of getting 40 million more girls into education by 2025 flies in the face of achieving gender equality and yet it chose to proceed with them anyway.   For media enquiries, please contact Karmen Ivey on [email protected] or [email protected]  

International Women's Day
04 March 2019

Celebrating passion and commitment this International Women’s Day

International Women's Day (8 March) is a time to celebrate the incredible achievements of fearless women around the world. Today (and every day) we’re honored to highlight the passion and continued commitment of doctors, nurses, peer educators, activists and volunteers who dedicate their efforts to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights globally. These are just a few of them:  Chathurika Jayalath, youth volunteer, Sri Lanka In May 2017, flash flooding in Sri Lanka triggered landslides resulting in many people losing their homes and forcing them to seek emergency shelter. 24-year-old student Chathurika, a youth volunteer for IPPF’s Member Association the Family Planning Association of Sri Lanka (FPASL), took part in the response. She helped in organizing the health camps, and she even runs a youth club at her university to inform her peers about sexual health. Find out more about Chathurika inspiring community contributions   Emma Watson, actor & activist, UK For almost as long as she’s been in the spotlight, actor Emma Watson has been well known for her feminist activism. Over the years she has lent her support to many vital issues including ending child marriage, violence against women and female genital mutilation, as well as fighting for abortion care and LGBTQI rights. She’s also a partner to IPPF! Keep up with Emma’s important work by following her on Twitter now Vicky Acora, volunteer, Uganda  Vicky is a married mother-of-two. She faces all the usual challenges that women face when it comes to getting sexual and reproductive health services - but Vicky’s life is complicated further because she is deaf. In the past, she would have trouble communicating with health staff who did not understand her needs, but since seeking services at Reproductive Health Uganda’s clinic in Gulu (a Member Association of IPPF), she has been able to get the healthcare she needs. She has since then even been advising other deaf people to seek services with the clinic. Read more about Vicky’s experience   Dr Leana Wen, president of PPFA, USA IPPF was thrilled when Dr Leana Wen was appointed as President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America last year. She is a dynamic public health leader, a practising physician and not least, a formidable woman. Since she started her demanding role, she has helped Planned Parenthood continue to provide high-quality care to the people who need it across the United States, and she is a powerful voice in our fight to ensure that women have the ability to make their own healthcare decisions. We look forward to seeing what she will achieve next. If you do too, then follow Dr Wen on Twitter Abla Abassa, health worker, Togo Abla is a community health worker. She spends her days cycling around her home village’s dusty streets in rural Togo visiting households who have signed up to an innovative programme that provides contraception in hard-to-reach places. She might visit as many as five households in one day, where she’ll discuss and provide family options including the Pill, condoms and injection, with people who might otherwise not know what their choices are. Find out more about what her vital job entails  

Youth volunteers discussing sex education
21 February 2018

Relationships and sex education in the UK is changing, and the youth want their say

The UK Government has decided that Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) will become compulsory in schools in England from 2020 and is consulting parents, experts and young people on what the new curriculum should look like. Current guidelines haven’t changed since 2000, and fail to address such issues as cyberbullying, ‘sexting’, internet porn as well as growing awareness of LGBTQ+ identities and the topic of consent.  Sexual health charities Brook and FPA have been working with young people to find out what good RSE means for them. The result is the ‘Young people’s manifesto: what we want and need from RSE’ – an 11 point plan which outlines what is considered by young people to be the baseline for quality RSE, such as being LGBTQ+ inclusive, age-appropriate, based on facts - not opinion - and taught by trained teachers. As part of the ongoing campaigning Brook and FPA have launched a petition to ask that the Secretary of State for Education listens to the voices of young people and includes their priorities in the new RSE curriculum. Hannah Panes, Participation and Volunteering Coordinator at Brook, said:  “We wanted young people to be at the centre of decisions that affect them. That’s why it was so important that the young people’s manifesto was co-produced by a group of young volunteers.” A group of young volunteers and Brook Champions - volunteers who influence and co-produce services – were asked for their opinions about RSE and their hopes for the future. Rachel, 21, a student, has seen the consequences of this at university: “I’ve been struck by the number of friends who knew nothing about contraception or consent. Some of my friends had been sexually assaulted at uni but didn’t report it as they didn’t think they would be believed. People just don’t understand the concept of consent. It’s not just about saying ‘no’, consent is an enthusiastic ‘yes’. It’s so important that it’s on the curriculum.” Many felt that schools taught sex education in a negative way, as a problem to be managed, rather than a natural part of life. They were disappointed with the way it was delivered, as an afterthought and often pressed on unwilling, embarrassed teachers. Alicia, 22, thinks social media could have a beneficial role to play in sex and relationships education: “Young people learn so much online now and RSE needs to stay on top of it. I think Youtubers and Instagram campaigns like the ones for positive periods such as Good Blood, Pink Protest can be more influential. “ There was concern, too, that schools don’t reflect the student populations they serve. Far too many LGBTQ+ youth are sitting in classrooms where their teachers fail to address their identities and experiences.  Student Gareth, 20, who grew up in Northern Ireland, and identifies as bisexual and polyamorous, describes the sex education they received as ‘horrendous’.   Young trans people in the group felt that their sex education, as it stands, ignores their needs. This is particularly concerning in the light of a study by campaigning charity Stonewall which found among trans pupils nearly one in 10 have received death threats at school, while 84% say they have self-harmed and 45% have tried to take their own lives. Jade, 16: “I feel that the RSE I had focused too much on scare stories, STIs, risks and a lack of trust. There was no discussion about the experiences of young trans people. There are only two clinics in the country which treat under 18 trans people, and first they have to find a sympathetic GP to be referred. Some friends are having to wait four years for treatment to begin.” While RSE will be compulsory, schools will have some flexibility in how they teach it, including being sensitive to religious beliefs. It is expected that parents will still have the right to withdraw their children from lessons. How does RSE in the UK compare with other countries? Young people referred to Holland -where sex education and information about sexual diversity are compulsory in all secondary and primary schools – as a leader in the field. Holland has one of the lowest teenage pregnancy rates in the world. Studies have shown that well-designed and well-taught sex education can support positive sexual health outcomes, such as reducing teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection rates. There's a lot at stake, but after years of campaigning young people are helping to shape Relationships and Sex Education.   Recently updated International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education launched by UNESCO and supported by IPPF and a number of other UN agencies, shows strong evidence for the international importance of Relationship and Sex Education.    

Elise and Toby
21 February 2018

Relationships and Sex Education is changing in the UK

Current UK guidelines on relationships and sex education (RSE) haven’t changed since 2000; a review is long overdue. In 2020 relationships and sex education will become compulsory in schools in England.    Studies have shown that well-designed and well-taught sex education can support positive sexual health outcomes, such as reducing teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection rates. Brook and FPA volunteers want more than that – they want to see issues like consent, support, and mutual respect included and discussed in an open, frank and positive way. Photography © IPPF/Laura Lewis

2017 London family planning summit
24 July 2017

2017 London Family Planning Summit

To reinforce the commitments made during the 2012 Family Planning summit, donors, governments and civil society gathered at the 2017 London Family Planning Summit, organised by the UK Department for International Development and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Gates
16 July 2017

Gates Foundation co-hosts 2017 Family Planning Summit

In this video Nomi Fuchs-Montgomery, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, talks about the 2017 London Family Planning Summit and the next steps to take to advance Family Planning progress

Will Niblett, DFID
16 July 2017

DFID at 2017 Family Planning Summit

In 2012, the Family Planning 2020 partnership was created during the London Family Planning co-hosted by the UK Department for International Development and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2017, the global champions come together again to ensure that steps are taken so that all women and girls can be free to decide about their body and future.  

U.K flag on a pole

UK government publishes new international development strategy

The UK government has released its long-awaited International Development Strategy (IDS) which details the UK’s approach to international development moving forward. The strategy sets out the FCDO's priorities as: Deliver honest and reliable investment, building on the UK’s financial expertise and the strengths of the City of London, and delivering the Prime Minister’s vision for the Clean Green Initiative, supporting partner countries to grow their economies sustainably. Provide women and girls with the freedom they need to succeed, unlocking their future potential, educating girls, supporting their empowerment and protecting them against violence. Provide life-saving humanitarian assistance and work to prevent the worst forms of human suffering, prioritising our funding and being a global leader in driving a more effective international response to humanitarian crises. Take forward our work on climate change, nature and global health. We are putting the commitments of our Presidency of G7 and COP26, our global leadership in science and technology, and our COVID-19 response, at the core of our international development offer. Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: "While, in theory, the UK’s new international development strategy prioritizes women and girls, it is unclear how the government will provide ‘the freedom they need to succeed’ while simultaneously cutting billions from the very things that help achieve this, including unhindered access to life-saving sexual and reproductive healthcare which helps keep girls in school, protects them from a lifetime of poverty and helps prevents untimely maternal deaths. "It is also unclear how the UK will prevent the worst forms of human suffering in humanitarian contexts when the 2021 aid cuts left millions of women across Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Ukraine, Sudan and Syria and Yemen with no control over their bodies, their futures, or their lives. And more so, while this government chooses to distribute the dedicated aid budget to fund other government departments rather than increasing overall budgets. "Until this government returns to the 0.7% target, this strategy will be little more than lip service from a government that knowingly robbed women and girls of their freedom and futures during the upheaval of a global pandemic when continued solidarity, support and humanitarian assistance from the wealthiest nations was most needed." For media enquiries, please contact Karmen Ivey on [email protected] or [email protected]   About the International Planned Parenthood Federation The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is a global service provider and advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.   For over 65 years, IPPF through its 118 Member Associations and 15 partners, has delivered high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare and helped advance sexual rights, especially for people with intersectional and diverse needs that are currently unmet. Our Member Associations and partners are independent organizations that are locally owned, which means the support and care they provide is informed by local expertise and context. We advocate for a world where people are provided with the information they need to make informed decisions about their sexual health and bodies. We stand up and fight for sexual and reproductive rights, and against those who seek to deny people their human right to bodily autonomy and freedom. We deliver care that is rooted in rights, respect, and dignity - no matter what.    

uk flag

FCDO provisional 2021 UK aid spending shows grim reality of aid cuts

Today, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) published its provisional statistics report on UK aid spending for 2021.  The total overall aid spend was £11.5 billion, down from £14.5 billion in 2020 following the UK government's reduction to overseas development aid (ODA) from 0.7 per cent to 0.5 per cent of gross national income (GNI), citing the economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.  ODA improves the lives of people around the world, helping them access the healthcare they deserve, including lifesaving sexual and reproductive healthcare. It also helps tackle global disease, eliminate poverty, provide humanitarian assistance during conflict and reduce the impact of climate change.  Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General for IPPF, said: “While not surprising, the provisional UK aid spend for 2021 shows the grim reality of making such severe cuts during the tremendous global upheaval of a pandemic, when continued solidarity, support and humanitarian assistance from the wealthiest nations is most needed. “The government already knew from the equalities impact assessment that these cuts to promised funds would be devastating for women, girls and diverse groups, who disproportionally experience the effects of poverty, disease and climate change while also bearing the burden of violence, especially in conflict. “Not only that, but the government also chose to distribute the dedicated aid budget to other government departments. This includes a staggering £915 million to the Home Office and counting so-called ‘donations’ of excess COVID vaccines to other countries, which could have been given to those in need instead. The aid cuts left millions of women in Ukraine with no control over their bodies, their futures, or their lives, just as it did in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Yemen, Sudan and Syria. Today, the role of the UK in building a better, safer world is more critical than ever if there is any hope of reversing the impacts of the cuts and the government must return to the 0.7% as soon as possible – the lives and futures of people depend on it”. Key statistics include: The provisional ODA:GNI ratio for 2021 was 0.5 per cent, or £11.5 billion. In 2021, UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) was £11,496 million, a decrease of £2,982 million (20.6 per cent decrease) on 2020. In 2021, UK bilateral ODA was £7,086 million (a decrease of 25.7 per cent) while U.K. multilateral ODA was £4,411 million (a decrease of 10.8 per cent). The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) spent £8,308 million in 2021, compared with £10,664 million in 2020 (a decrease of £2,356 million).  Non-FCDO5 spend on ODA in 2021 was £3,189 million, compared with £3,815 million in 2020 (a decrease of £626 m). The non-FCDO share was 27.7 per cent, up from 26.3 per cent in 2020. In 2021, £550 million of UK ODA was spent on activities to address the COVID19 pandemic². The Home Office spent £915 million of ODA in 2021 (an increase of 53.3 per cent). This was mostly due to increased accommodation costs for asylum seekers to ensure the measures set out in law were adhered to in limiting the spread of COVID-19. For media enquiries, please contact Karmen Ivey on [email protected] or [email protected]  About the International Planned Parenthood Federation The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is a global service provider and advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.   For over 65 years, IPPF through its 118 Member Associations and 15 partners, has delivered high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare and helped advance sexual rights, especially for people with intersectional and diverse needs that are currently unmet. Our Member Associations and partners are independent organizations that are locally owned, which means the support and care they provide is informed by local expertise and context. We advocate for a world where people are provided with the information they need to make informed decisions about their sexual health and bodies. We stand up and fight for sexual and reproductive rights, and against those who seek to deny people their human right to bodily autonomy and freedom. We deliver care that is rooted in rights, respect, and dignity – no matter what.  

United Kingdom Flag

Equalities Assessment: UK Government knew 2021 aid cuts would significantly impact women and girls

The Government’s Equalities Assessment shows that the government was well aware that the scale of the 2021 aid cuts to specific gender interventions, including Violence Against Women and Girls and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, would disproportionately impact women, girls and people with protected characteristics such as those living with disabilities.  The U.K. government were also aware that the aid cuts would reduce services available to survivors of sexual violence, including sexual exploitation, abuse and sexual harassment. Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: “We are pleased to see the long-awaited equalities assessment and are hopeful that public scrutiny will encourage the Government to double down on its efforts to champion and support equality. Government commitments are especially significant for 2022, given the scale of the 2021 aid cuts to specific gender interventions, including those helping to end Violence Against Women and Girls, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights programmes and targeted interventions aimed at reaching those left furthest behind – including people living with disabilities. “Today, the role of international aid in building a better, safer and equal world is more relevant than ever as the Ukrainian people look to governments across the globe to support them during the most severe humanitarian crisis Europe has seen in years. With the EU predicting up to 7 million displaced people and vulnerable refugee populations requiring distinct and personalised care, we ask the U.K Government to step up for the international community and return to the 0.7% aid target as soon as possible – the lives and futures of people across the globe depend on it.” Manuelle Hurwitz, Director of Programmes for IPPF, added:   "The government knew the reduction to development programmes would completely contradict its priorities of getting 40 million more girls into education by 2025 flies in the face of achieving gender equality and yet it chose to proceed with them anyway.   For media enquiries, please contact Karmen Ivey on [email protected] or [email protected]  

International Women's Day
04 March 2019

Celebrating passion and commitment this International Women’s Day

International Women's Day (8 March) is a time to celebrate the incredible achievements of fearless women around the world. Today (and every day) we’re honored to highlight the passion and continued commitment of doctors, nurses, peer educators, activists and volunteers who dedicate their efforts to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights globally. These are just a few of them:  Chathurika Jayalath, youth volunteer, Sri Lanka In May 2017, flash flooding in Sri Lanka triggered landslides resulting in many people losing their homes and forcing them to seek emergency shelter. 24-year-old student Chathurika, a youth volunteer for IPPF’s Member Association the Family Planning Association of Sri Lanka (FPASL), took part in the response. She helped in organizing the health camps, and she even runs a youth club at her university to inform her peers about sexual health. Find out more about Chathurika inspiring community contributions   Emma Watson, actor & activist, UK For almost as long as she’s been in the spotlight, actor Emma Watson has been well known for her feminist activism. Over the years she has lent her support to many vital issues including ending child marriage, violence against women and female genital mutilation, as well as fighting for abortion care and LGBTQI rights. She’s also a partner to IPPF! Keep up with Emma’s important work by following her on Twitter now Vicky Acora, volunteer, Uganda  Vicky is a married mother-of-two. She faces all the usual challenges that women face when it comes to getting sexual and reproductive health services - but Vicky’s life is complicated further because she is deaf. In the past, she would have trouble communicating with health staff who did not understand her needs, but since seeking services at Reproductive Health Uganda’s clinic in Gulu (a Member Association of IPPF), she has been able to get the healthcare she needs. She has since then even been advising other deaf people to seek services with the clinic. Read more about Vicky’s experience   Dr Leana Wen, president of PPFA, USA IPPF was thrilled when Dr Leana Wen was appointed as President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America last year. She is a dynamic public health leader, a practising physician and not least, a formidable woman. Since she started her demanding role, she has helped Planned Parenthood continue to provide high-quality care to the people who need it across the United States, and she is a powerful voice in our fight to ensure that women have the ability to make their own healthcare decisions. We look forward to seeing what she will achieve next. If you do too, then follow Dr Wen on Twitter Abla Abassa, health worker, Togo Abla is a community health worker. She spends her days cycling around her home village’s dusty streets in rural Togo visiting households who have signed up to an innovative programme that provides contraception in hard-to-reach places. She might visit as many as five households in one day, where she’ll discuss and provide family options including the Pill, condoms and injection, with people who might otherwise not know what their choices are. Find out more about what her vital job entails  

Youth volunteers discussing sex education
21 February 2018

Relationships and sex education in the UK is changing, and the youth want their say

The UK Government has decided that Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) will become compulsory in schools in England from 2020 and is consulting parents, experts and young people on what the new curriculum should look like. Current guidelines haven’t changed since 2000, and fail to address such issues as cyberbullying, ‘sexting’, internet porn as well as growing awareness of LGBTQ+ identities and the topic of consent.  Sexual health charities Brook and FPA have been working with young people to find out what good RSE means for them. The result is the ‘Young people’s manifesto: what we want and need from RSE’ – an 11 point plan which outlines what is considered by young people to be the baseline for quality RSE, such as being LGBTQ+ inclusive, age-appropriate, based on facts - not opinion - and taught by trained teachers. As part of the ongoing campaigning Brook and FPA have launched a petition to ask that the Secretary of State for Education listens to the voices of young people and includes their priorities in the new RSE curriculum. Hannah Panes, Participation and Volunteering Coordinator at Brook, said:  “We wanted young people to be at the centre of decisions that affect them. That’s why it was so important that the young people’s manifesto was co-produced by a group of young volunteers.” A group of young volunteers and Brook Champions - volunteers who influence and co-produce services – were asked for their opinions about RSE and their hopes for the future. Rachel, 21, a student, has seen the consequences of this at university: “I’ve been struck by the number of friends who knew nothing about contraception or consent. Some of my friends had been sexually assaulted at uni but didn’t report it as they didn’t think they would be believed. People just don’t understand the concept of consent. It’s not just about saying ‘no’, consent is an enthusiastic ‘yes’. It’s so important that it’s on the curriculum.” Many felt that schools taught sex education in a negative way, as a problem to be managed, rather than a natural part of life. They were disappointed with the way it was delivered, as an afterthought and often pressed on unwilling, embarrassed teachers. Alicia, 22, thinks social media could have a beneficial role to play in sex and relationships education: “Young people learn so much online now and RSE needs to stay on top of it. I think Youtubers and Instagram campaigns like the ones for positive periods such as Good Blood, Pink Protest can be more influential. “ There was concern, too, that schools don’t reflect the student populations they serve. Far too many LGBTQ+ youth are sitting in classrooms where their teachers fail to address their identities and experiences.  Student Gareth, 20, who grew up in Northern Ireland, and identifies as bisexual and polyamorous, describes the sex education they received as ‘horrendous’.   Young trans people in the group felt that their sex education, as it stands, ignores their needs. This is particularly concerning in the light of a study by campaigning charity Stonewall which found among trans pupils nearly one in 10 have received death threats at school, while 84% say they have self-harmed and 45% have tried to take their own lives. Jade, 16: “I feel that the RSE I had focused too much on scare stories, STIs, risks and a lack of trust. There was no discussion about the experiences of young trans people. There are only two clinics in the country which treat under 18 trans people, and first they have to find a sympathetic GP to be referred. Some friends are having to wait four years for treatment to begin.” While RSE will be compulsory, schools will have some flexibility in how they teach it, including being sensitive to religious beliefs. It is expected that parents will still have the right to withdraw their children from lessons. How does RSE in the UK compare with other countries? Young people referred to Holland -where sex education and information about sexual diversity are compulsory in all secondary and primary schools – as a leader in the field. Holland has one of the lowest teenage pregnancy rates in the world. Studies have shown that well-designed and well-taught sex education can support positive sexual health outcomes, such as reducing teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection rates. There's a lot at stake, but after years of campaigning young people are helping to shape Relationships and Sex Education.   Recently updated International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education launched by UNESCO and supported by IPPF and a number of other UN agencies, shows strong evidence for the international importance of Relationship and Sex Education.    

Elise and Toby
21 February 2018

Relationships and Sex Education is changing in the UK

Current UK guidelines on relationships and sex education (RSE) haven’t changed since 2000; a review is long overdue. In 2020 relationships and sex education will become compulsory in schools in England.    Studies have shown that well-designed and well-taught sex education can support positive sexual health outcomes, such as reducing teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection rates. Brook and FPA volunteers want more than that – they want to see issues like consent, support, and mutual respect included and discussed in an open, frank and positive way. Photography © IPPF/Laura Lewis

2017 London family planning summit
24 July 2017

2017 London Family Planning Summit

To reinforce the commitments made during the 2012 Family Planning summit, donors, governments and civil society gathered at the 2017 London Family Planning Summit, organised by the UK Department for International Development and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Gates
16 July 2017

Gates Foundation co-hosts 2017 Family Planning Summit

In this video Nomi Fuchs-Montgomery, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, talks about the 2017 London Family Planning Summit and the next steps to take to advance Family Planning progress

Will Niblett, DFID
16 July 2017

DFID at 2017 Family Planning Summit

In 2012, the Family Planning 2020 partnership was created during the London Family Planning co-hosted by the UK Department for International Development and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2017, the global champions come together again to ensure that steps are taken so that all women and girls can be free to decide about their body and future.