In Pictures 2018

Celebrating a snapshot of some of the amazing and inspiring work our Member Associations are doing across the globe including; safe abortion in India, campaigning in Argentina, changing attitudes in Somaliland and delivering emergency healthcare in Indonesia.

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.

The young volunteers are optimistic – good quality inclusive RSE could be a powerful force for good, reducing bullying and discrimination, promoting healthier relationships and challenging negative attitudes in society to sex.

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Burundian musician, Lolilo Simba and his wife Loliane, 22, say it is "because of ABUBEF we have a baby, our wonderful son Salum. This clinic is important not just to us. It does a lot of good for all the community of Bujumbura.” Loliane had experienced three miscarriages before getting pregnant for a fourth time. "I want to share the story of the help we received here in ABUBEF. I am sure it is because of the perfect customer care and wonderful people that work here.”

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The Vanuatu Family Health Association was on Ambae delivering emergency sexual and reproductive healthcare to evacuees following the Monaro Volcano became active. This is their second humanitarian response to the island, having previously responded late last year.

Our humanitarian workers are truly amazing and will do what it takes to provide services to people in need.

On remote Pacific islands, this often means travelling by small plane, boat, vehicle and foot, all the time with the medical supplies. Once the team arrive at a community, they set up mobile health clinics in classrooms or community halls and deliver education sessions under trees.

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Midwife Hanan Ahmed Mohamed Haid looks out of the window of a clinic run by the Somaliland Family Health Association (SOFHA) in Hargeisa, capital of Somaliland. The clinic offers a range of clinical and psychosocial services, including counselling to women who have been subjected to female genital mutilation, which is near-universal in Somaliland.

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Leilani, who identifies as a leiti, has been working with the Tonga Leiti Association, supported by Tonga Health Family Association to battle the stigma surrounding the leiti and LGBTI+ community in Tonga.

She says "I started to dress like a leiti at a very young age. Being a leiti in a Tongan family is very difficult because being a leiti or having a son who’s a leiti are considered shameful, so for the family (it) is very difficult to accept us. Many leitis run away from their families."

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For 30 years, Project Street Beat’s mobile medical unit has been working on the streets of New York, travelling to some of its most deprived zip codes offering HIV testing, sexual health screening, emergency contraception and a slew of services that have evolved to keep up with changing needs.

Five days a week the colourful mobile unit travels between the Bronx, Brooklyn and northern Manhattan as part of a mission to provide care to people living beyond the traditional medical system.

“It means a lot to be able to keep engaging with people, seeing how their life is developing in a positive way,” says Sarah Zuercher, a women’s health nurse practitioner at Planned Parenthood.

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Through their Open Doors and Zambia Community HIV Prevention Project (Z-CHPP), PPAZ has become a safe-haven to access integrated health care; particularly to the many who would not normally be able to seek health care without fear of discrimination, like men who have sex with men and sex workers. These services are critical in a country like Zambia where being LGBTI and sex work is against the law.

Yet, since the Global Gag Rule was reintroduced in January 2017, this vital care and support for local communities can no longer continue due to loss of funding. Since November many of PPAZ's services have already closed leaving communities with limited or no access to healthcare, and staff with no jobs.

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The Argentinian Senate voted narrowly against a bill that would have legalized abortion up to 14 weeks. The vote tally was 31 in favour, 38 against, 2 abstentions, and 1 absence.

While current law in Argentina technically permits a woman access to abortion services when her life is in danger, or when the pregnancy is the result of rape, the true issue is one of accessibility: women with fewer economic and social resources have less access to care than upper-class women in urban centres.

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“I’m a sex worker and peer outreach worker for the Nkaikela Youth Group. We reach the other sex workers because we are the ones that know them. We go to their houses, we go to the hotspots like clubs and the street; we reach them and encourage them to come here [to the Youth Group],” says Jackie, 34.

“We get a good service with BOFWA, they’re helping us to come for tests and they’re treating us good. With BOFWA if you come for HIV testing and were positive, they would initiate you on to treatment the same day. Any problem you could discuss with them without fear, like they are your brothers and sisters.”

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27-year-old Hélène acts as a link between young people’s activities and the ABPF board. She has advocated for abortion rights at conferences locally and internationally.

“In my school there were a fair number of pregnant girls, so I was already looking for a way to help. Every week I went to different classes to educate them about abortion and stigma. When my mother found out, she told me this was a movement of depravity! But after a while my mum became a member of the association and came with me, and even my dad. Now they say they are proud of what I’ve achieved.”

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At 23, Nisha Boudh is already a mother to two children and severely anaemic. She feels she is in no position to have a third child, but her in-laws are not supportive. Nisha chose to have an abortion at FPAI’s Gwalior clinic.

“I have been weak since childhood and, honestly, motherhood has taken a toll on my health. Doctors in other clinics were not willing help me and I would have died had FPAI not come to my rescue. With their doctors’ advice I have now decided to undergo an operation [tubal ligation] as I do not want to conceive. My mother-in-law was upset with my decision, but I want to live to see my other children grow,” said Boudh.

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Inspiring young people like 20-year-old Indri play a crucial role in our crisis response with the Indonesian Planned Parenthood Association in Palu.

“When the earthquake struck, I was one of the victims. I saw a lot of people in distress, and even a corpse. So, I immediately thought, what kind of person am I? I still have hands, have legs, I still have everything, why not help others? I realised that I have given the chance to live to help others. I know what HIV/AIDS is like. I have seen what happens regarding HIV/AIDS, I know its process. I am the same human as you. You and me, are the same. That’s why I’m a youth volunteer.”

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