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Humanitarian response team, Fiji.
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In pictures: Humanitarian photographers share their experiences of storytelling in the field

IPPF’s localized approach to humanitarian emergencies is led by our Member Associations' response teams and whenever possible, we deploy local photographers.

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Claudine
story

| 08 October 2020

"In the past, I was wary of 'contraceptive' methods"

“I've heard kids yelling on the street that there was a program to space pregnancies. I've always wanted to do that for the long term. Until then, I'm still trying with the three-month-old pills. Besides, listening to one of the people advertising these services, the address was not very far from my home." Claudine, aged 27, is a sex worker. "In the past, I was wary of 'contraceptive' methods. But once I tried them and I didn't notice any negative impact on my body, I made it a habit in order to not get pregnant". Like all young girls interested in the Women’s Integrated Sexual Health (Lot 1) programme services, Claudine arrives shyly at the center where Association pour le Bien-Etre Familial-Naissances Désirables (ABEF-ND) distributes contraceptive methods. "When I arrived at the center, I thought that there would be no paperwork to do, but I was pleasantly surprised that the organizers want to find out about me and maybe one day they will be able to set up a health centre to follow us regularly," she hopes. In the DRC, few women raise the subject of sexual violence because they are afraid of being rejected and that "poverty sometimes leads us into sex work," she says. "But the consequences are enormous and sometimes harmful. Girls who are not sensitized will have unsafe abortions and catch sexually transmitted infections." Claudine has expectations and hopes regarding this kind of activity: "However, if awareness-raising is regulated, even every three months, we will, I think, have fewer young mothers because they will be more knowledgable about family planning". The WISH project has seen a positive change in women and girls' access to integrated family planning and sexual and reproductive health care. WISH promotes a variety of contraceptive methods and sexual and reproductive health support, ranging from referrals to services for those who need it most.   "I want to feel free in my sexual activities". I have a boyfriend but that doesn't stop me from doing my life. "I make my livelihood as a sex worker and he is a carpenter. That's how we've been trying to make ends meet since we moved to the capital two years ago." "We're going back to the village to take a break, it's not a permanent departure." Claudine and her boyfriend are both from Boende, the capital of the Tshuapa province, in the north-west of the country, 2,285 km from Kinshasa. She was encouraged to move to the capital at the insistence of one of her uncles who had been living there for several years. "The reality is quite different. We have been able to raise enough money to send goods to the village for the past two years. My companion and I will go back there to rest and maybe come back if we get bored in the village again.” “Pakadjuma is a place where almost everyone comes from the village, but it is only here that I see enough interest from associations to sensitize young girls on family planning by distributing condoms to prevent early pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. It's all very interesting. It's an opportunity for us and I think it's one of the things I'll miss the most when I go back to the village. I hope to still have friends here who can send me these methods.”

Claudine
story

| 17 May 2022

"In the past, I was wary of 'contraceptive' methods"

“I've heard kids yelling on the street that there was a program to space pregnancies. I've always wanted to do that for the long term. Until then, I'm still trying with the three-month-old pills. Besides, listening to one of the people advertising these services, the address was not very far from my home." Claudine, aged 27, is a sex worker. "In the past, I was wary of 'contraceptive' methods. But once I tried them and I didn't notice any negative impact on my body, I made it a habit in order to not get pregnant". Like all young girls interested in the Women’s Integrated Sexual Health (Lot 1) programme services, Claudine arrives shyly at the center where Association pour le Bien-Etre Familial-Naissances Désirables (ABEF-ND) distributes contraceptive methods. "When I arrived at the center, I thought that there would be no paperwork to do, but I was pleasantly surprised that the organizers want to find out about me and maybe one day they will be able to set up a health centre to follow us regularly," she hopes. In the DRC, few women raise the subject of sexual violence because they are afraid of being rejected and that "poverty sometimes leads us into sex work," she says. "But the consequences are enormous and sometimes harmful. Girls who are not sensitized will have unsafe abortions and catch sexually transmitted infections." Claudine has expectations and hopes regarding this kind of activity: "However, if awareness-raising is regulated, even every three months, we will, I think, have fewer young mothers because they will be more knowledgable about family planning". The WISH project has seen a positive change in women and girls' access to integrated family planning and sexual and reproductive health care. WISH promotes a variety of contraceptive methods and sexual and reproductive health support, ranging from referrals to services for those who need it most.   "I want to feel free in my sexual activities". I have a boyfriend but that doesn't stop me from doing my life. "I make my livelihood as a sex worker and he is a carpenter. That's how we've been trying to make ends meet since we moved to the capital two years ago." "We're going back to the village to take a break, it's not a permanent departure." Claudine and her boyfriend are both from Boende, the capital of the Tshuapa province, in the north-west of the country, 2,285 km from Kinshasa. She was encouraged to move to the capital at the insistence of one of her uncles who had been living there for several years. "The reality is quite different. We have been able to raise enough money to send goods to the village for the past two years. My companion and I will go back there to rest and maybe come back if we get bored in the village again.” “Pakadjuma is a place where almost everyone comes from the village, but it is only here that I see enough interest from associations to sensitize young girls on family planning by distributing condoms to prevent early pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. It's all very interesting. It's an opportunity for us and I think it's one of the things I'll miss the most when I go back to the village. I hope to still have friends here who can send me these methods.”

Ruth
story

| 08 October 2020

"Right now, the most important thing is to continue my studies and take care of my child"

After her parents divorced, the family dissolved and Ruth found herself in Pakadjuma where she rented a small house. "My boyfriend helps me pay the rent," she says. She thought she would continue with school but could not afford it. After a few years of a relationship, Ruth became pregnant, and explain that "it was late to get an abortion, and I didn't want to put my life in danger." "I would have liked to get my bachelor's degree, but I don't regret it; I loved my child right away." Ruth, aged 19, like other young girls, queues up to learn about the different contraceptive methods the WISH programme offers for girls and women living in Pakadjuma. Some of them sign up directly to take them. Others find out and promise to come back after talking with their companions. The Women’s Integrated Sexual Health (WISH Lot 1) programme offers quality integrated sexual and reproductive health services across the Democratic Republic of Congo through IPPF Member, Association pour le Bien-Etre Familial – Naissances Désirables (ABEF-ND). Ruth is trying the service for the first time. She is in favour of receiving a contraceptive method for the next three months. "Some people have discouraged me because they believe that the 5-year method can destroy the body. But before deciding to come here, I asked around with the neighbours who have already tried it. I didn't have any negative experiences." Ruth asked the organizers about the consequences: "They said it's just to protect me so that I don't get pregnant for 3 months and then I can renew if I feel like it.” Ruth feels that many parents do not discuss sexual matters with their children. They probably feel it is inappropriate. Yet, if young girls get pregnant before they are socially stable, it is also due to a lack of guidance and orientation. "This should be a regular initiative," she says. "It's not late to receive sex education but above all to have free contraceptive methods, because I would have preferred a thousand times to buy milk for my baby than to pay for a condom or a Jadelle. Ruth has an 8-month-old baby, "I didn't want this and having many children will be disadvantageous for me especially as I am not yet married". She lives from small businesses and the money to support from her companion. Ruth says she took this contraceptive method without her partner's advice. "Since the birth of our child, we have been abstinent, and that's good. "He encourages me to go back to school, and I think that's what I should do.”

Ruth
story

| 17 May 2022

"Right now, the most important thing is to continue my studies and take care of my child"

After her parents divorced, the family dissolved and Ruth found herself in Pakadjuma where she rented a small house. "My boyfriend helps me pay the rent," she says. She thought she would continue with school but could not afford it. After a few years of a relationship, Ruth became pregnant, and explain that "it was late to get an abortion, and I didn't want to put my life in danger." "I would have liked to get my bachelor's degree, but I don't regret it; I loved my child right away." Ruth, aged 19, like other young girls, queues up to learn about the different contraceptive methods the WISH programme offers for girls and women living in Pakadjuma. Some of them sign up directly to take them. Others find out and promise to come back after talking with their companions. The Women’s Integrated Sexual Health (WISH Lot 1) programme offers quality integrated sexual and reproductive health services across the Democratic Republic of Congo through IPPF Member, Association pour le Bien-Etre Familial – Naissances Désirables (ABEF-ND). Ruth is trying the service for the first time. She is in favour of receiving a contraceptive method for the next three months. "Some people have discouraged me because they believe that the 5-year method can destroy the body. But before deciding to come here, I asked around with the neighbours who have already tried it. I didn't have any negative experiences." Ruth asked the organizers about the consequences: "They said it's just to protect me so that I don't get pregnant for 3 months and then I can renew if I feel like it.” Ruth feels that many parents do not discuss sexual matters with their children. They probably feel it is inappropriate. Yet, if young girls get pregnant before they are socially stable, it is also due to a lack of guidance and orientation. "This should be a regular initiative," she says. "It's not late to receive sex education but above all to have free contraceptive methods, because I would have preferred a thousand times to buy milk for my baby than to pay for a condom or a Jadelle. Ruth has an 8-month-old baby, "I didn't want this and having many children will be disadvantageous for me especially as I am not yet married". She lives from small businesses and the money to support from her companion. Ruth says she took this contraceptive method without her partner's advice. "Since the birth of our child, we have been abstinent, and that's good. "He encourages me to go back to school, and I think that's what I should do.”

women at clinic receives contraception - Pakistan
story

| 25 September 2020

“I have a three-year-old and want to wait a few years before I have another child"

At the Family Health Model Clinic (FHMC) set up by Rahnuma Family Planning Association of Pakistan (FPAP), mothers and daughters-in-laws wait for a consultation for affordable treatment and medication. At the FHMC, patients are charged only 50 Rupees (0.22 GBP) for a consultation. This is a fraction of what they would pay at a private clinic and less than the cost of travelling to the nearest government hospital. The clinic also has a ‘no-refusal policy’ to ensure those who cannot afford to pay the fee can still receive the care they need. Around 50 patients visit the clinic every day.  For 26-year-old Sehrish Hamid, the clinic is providing essential healthcare services, she is unable to afford elsewhere. “My husband sells scrap metal off a cart and we often struggle to make ends meet,” she says.  In the past, Sehrish frequently got urinary tract infections but could rarely afford to visit a doctor. A few weeks back, a social organizer from the WISH project visited her house and told her about the FHMC, where she was able to get affordable treatment and medication. “The staff here are friendly, and the doctor gives time and attention to each patient. In the past, no doctor took out the time to talk to me about hygiene and explain how recurring infections can be prevented,” she says.  The FHMC operates as a ‘one stop clinic’ offering a range of health services including family planning and screening for cervical cancer and counselling for Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV). Many, such as Sehrish come to clinic for one reason but also end up choosing to take up of family planning services.  “I have a three-year-old and want to wait a few years before I have another child. When I came to the clinic, I also found out about family planning methods. I had a lot of questions and concerns that were addressed and allowed me to make a decision about which contraceptives to use,” Sehrish says. 

women at clinic receives contraception - Pakistan
story

| 17 May 2022

“I have a three-year-old and want to wait a few years before I have another child"

At the Family Health Model Clinic (FHMC) set up by Rahnuma Family Planning Association of Pakistan (FPAP), mothers and daughters-in-laws wait for a consultation for affordable treatment and medication. At the FHMC, patients are charged only 50 Rupees (0.22 GBP) for a consultation. This is a fraction of what they would pay at a private clinic and less than the cost of travelling to the nearest government hospital. The clinic also has a ‘no-refusal policy’ to ensure those who cannot afford to pay the fee can still receive the care they need. Around 50 patients visit the clinic every day.  For 26-year-old Sehrish Hamid, the clinic is providing essential healthcare services, she is unable to afford elsewhere. “My husband sells scrap metal off a cart and we often struggle to make ends meet,” she says.  In the past, Sehrish frequently got urinary tract infections but could rarely afford to visit a doctor. A few weeks back, a social organizer from the WISH project visited her house and told her about the FHMC, where she was able to get affordable treatment and medication. “The staff here are friendly, and the doctor gives time and attention to each patient. In the past, no doctor took out the time to talk to me about hygiene and explain how recurring infections can be prevented,” she says.  The FHMC operates as a ‘one stop clinic’ offering a range of health services including family planning and screening for cervical cancer and counselling for Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV). Many, such as Sehrish come to clinic for one reason but also end up choosing to take up of family planning services.  “I have a three-year-old and want to wait a few years before I have another child. When I came to the clinic, I also found out about family planning methods. I had a lot of questions and concerns that were addressed and allowed me to make a decision about which contraceptives to use,” Sehrish says. 

Healthcare worker delivering CSE session.
story

| 09 September 2020

In pictures: Increasing contraceptive care to young people in Malawi

Our Member Association, Family Planning Association of Malawi (FPAM), is delivering healthcare through the support of WISH* in Lilongwe and Kasungu with a focus on young women and girls. A bespoke training programme supports community health workers on how to deliver youth-friendly healthcare through outreach to local communities, and especially young women. *The Women’s Integrated Sexual Health (WISH2Action) programme, is funded by the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), under the strategy to ‘Leave No One Behind’. Photographs ©FPAM/Andrew Mkandawire/Malawi Barriers to contraceptive care Young people, particularly girls, face barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive healthcare and contraception due to societal perceptions that they have no need for them. Chiefs and parents in the Lilongwe and Kasungu districts have demonstrated that by working together they are able to meet this need and protect the health and wellbeing of young people in their communities. Their collective approach ensures elders advocate on behalf of the youth in their communities, encouraging them to feel confident in accessing healthcare provision and to counter myths and misconceptions about contraception. Their goal is to reduce the high number of unintended pregnancies and STIs among young people. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Gogo Nakwenda Gogo Nakwenda is respected in her community as a go-to counsellor for young people, advising on sexuality and how to access healthcare. Now nearing her 80s, Nakwneda, talks about different contraception methods, saying that if she was 18 again, she would opt for the five-year implant to ensure her education and future work opportunities. “During our time we used traditional contraception, but I have learned that modern pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections prevention methods are very predictable and give no excuses to protection errors. One can comfortably plan when to have a child and when not to have child.” Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Lucy, volunteer and parent Lucy believes it is important to educate both parents and young people on the benefits of access to contraception. Lucy talks about how myths and misconceptions remain a barrier for young girls to be able to access contraception, mostly because of fears related to infertility. She is open about her own experiences with contraceptives. “I’m 38, I have used pills, injectables and now I’m now using the IUD and successfully I have given birth to three children and here I am in good health. Who else can lie about modern contraceptives? I usually encourage the young ones to be mindful of their future to avoid any mistake that could be prevented with available contraceptives they can comfortably demand from their community health workers.” Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Chiefs Sadulira and Chinoko Chiefs in Lilongwe and Kasungu districts are committed and supportive of the promotion of sexual and reproductive healthcare for the young people using the youth clubs they supervise. Chief Sadulira believes this is a crucial time for parents to understand the importance of being open with young people. Connecting them with community health workers who are experienced in counselling and provision of sexual and reproductive healthcare can help reduce unintended pregnancies. “I use community meeting sessions to advise parents who resist or misunderstand why youth should have access to contraceptives, because prevention is better than cure.” Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Matundu youth club In July 2020, FPAM visited the Lilongwe and Kasungu youth clubs to support sexual and reproductive health behaviour change communication interventions. “Our youth here access condoms from the chairman of Namangwe youth club who is linked to Chiwamba health center, located about 18km from Namangwe. He does all this as a volunteer because the area does not have any community-based distribution agents. And the fact that FPAM is finally here, we are assured that access to cervical cancer screening and contraception services are guaranteed,” says Chief Chinoko. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Ngwangwa Ngwangwa applauded FPAM for bringing youth-targeted outreach clinics to their remote area and requested to increase the frequency of the clinics to reach more youth living in hard-to-reach communities. “My area is big yet is leaning more like an island without a health facility nearby. It takes youth to walk 17km to get to Dzenza hospital, 15km to reach Ngoni health center, and 35km to get to Kabudula community hospital. This gap requires frequent mobile clinics.” Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Ruth, youth leader Radio and youth clubs are major sources of information on contraception as well as through community discussions and groups. “I first heard about contraception in 2016, when I was 15, from Zodiak and MBC radios. I accessed the Implanon implant that protects for three years from one of the FPAM outreach clinics. In my family we are three girls and all my elder sisters fell pregnant in their teens. I never wanted to get disturbed to complete my secondary school education. And hearing from radios about the benefits of contraception like the ability to complete education made me generate confidence to have an implant to avoid unintended pregnancy.” Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Banda, vice chair, Youth Action Movement (YAM) The teams of youth leaders have successfully advocated for sexual and reproductive health and rights, creating demand specifically for contraceptive care in their communities. “I engage in contraception discussions slowly by starting with a little probe if girls and young women have ever heard or used contraception before. Later I extend the discussion to give in that the unwanted pregnancy I got was total negligence because access to contraception services was available. I encourage them not to fall into unwanted pregnancy trap when they have all the support and preventative measures around." Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Lucy, youth leader Lucy chose a long-acting method of contraception through the FPAM mobile outreach clinic. “My friends discouraged me a lot because they feared a rumor that the IUD drops into the uterus and causes cancer. I gathered courage because I needed a solution that would enable me not to conceive again until my family's economic status improves, and I got the IUD fitted. I feel no problem. This evidence is now a tool I use to teach many girls and women about the benefits of contraception. We are really glad to have FPAM bring a youth-friendly mobile clinic which will support our ground efforts to advocate for youth access to all sexual and reproductive health and rights information and services.” Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email

Healthcare worker delivering CSE session.
story

| 17 May 2022

In pictures: Increasing contraceptive care to young people in Malawi

Our Member Association, Family Planning Association of Malawi (FPAM), is delivering healthcare through the support of WISH* in Lilongwe and Kasungu with a focus on young women and girls. A bespoke training programme supports community health workers on how to deliver youth-friendly healthcare through outreach to local communities, and especially young women. *The Women’s Integrated Sexual Health (WISH2Action) programme, is funded by the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), under the strategy to ‘Leave No One Behind’. Photographs ©FPAM/Andrew Mkandawire/Malawi Barriers to contraceptive care Young people, particularly girls, face barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive healthcare and contraception due to societal perceptions that they have no need for them. Chiefs and parents in the Lilongwe and Kasungu districts have demonstrated that by working together they are able to meet this need and protect the health and wellbeing of young people in their communities. Their collective approach ensures elders advocate on behalf of the youth in their communities, encouraging them to feel confident in accessing healthcare provision and to counter myths and misconceptions about contraception. Their goal is to reduce the high number of unintended pregnancies and STIs among young people. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Gogo Nakwenda Gogo Nakwenda is respected in her community as a go-to counsellor for young people, advising on sexuality and how to access healthcare. Now nearing her 80s, Nakwneda, talks about different contraception methods, saying that if she was 18 again, she would opt for the five-year implant to ensure her education and future work opportunities. “During our time we used traditional contraception, but I have learned that modern pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections prevention methods are very predictable and give no excuses to protection errors. One can comfortably plan when to have a child and when not to have child.” Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Lucy, volunteer and parent Lucy believes it is important to educate both parents and young people on the benefits of access to contraception. Lucy talks about how myths and misconceptions remain a barrier for young girls to be able to access contraception, mostly because of fears related to infertility. She is open about her own experiences with contraceptives. “I’m 38, I have used pills, injectables and now I’m now using the IUD and successfully I have given birth to three children and here I am in good health. Who else can lie about modern contraceptives? I usually encourage the young ones to be mindful of their future to avoid any mistake that could be prevented with available contraceptives they can comfortably demand from their community health workers.” Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Chiefs Sadulira and Chinoko Chiefs in Lilongwe and Kasungu districts are committed and supportive of the promotion of sexual and reproductive healthcare for the young people using the youth clubs they supervise. Chief Sadulira believes this is a crucial time for parents to understand the importance of being open with young people. Connecting them with community health workers who are experienced in counselling and provision of sexual and reproductive healthcare can help reduce unintended pregnancies. “I use community meeting sessions to advise parents who resist or misunderstand why youth should have access to contraceptives, because prevention is better than cure.” Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Matundu youth club In July 2020, FPAM visited the Lilongwe and Kasungu youth clubs to support sexual and reproductive health behaviour change communication interventions. “Our youth here access condoms from the chairman of Namangwe youth club who is linked to Chiwamba health center, located about 18km from Namangwe. He does all this as a volunteer because the area does not have any community-based distribution agents. And the fact that FPAM is finally here, we are assured that access to cervical cancer screening and contraception services are guaranteed,” says Chief Chinoko. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Ngwangwa Ngwangwa applauded FPAM for bringing youth-targeted outreach clinics to their remote area and requested to increase the frequency of the clinics to reach more youth living in hard-to-reach communities. “My area is big yet is leaning more like an island without a health facility nearby. It takes youth to walk 17km to get to Dzenza hospital, 15km to reach Ngoni health center, and 35km to get to Kabudula community hospital. This gap requires frequent mobile clinics.” Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Ruth, youth leader Radio and youth clubs are major sources of information on contraception as well as through community discussions and groups. “I first heard about contraception in 2016, when I was 15, from Zodiak and MBC radios. I accessed the Implanon implant that protects for three years from one of the FPAM outreach clinics. In my family we are three girls and all my elder sisters fell pregnant in their teens. I never wanted to get disturbed to complete my secondary school education. And hearing from radios about the benefits of contraception like the ability to complete education made me generate confidence to have an implant to avoid unintended pregnancy.” Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Banda, vice chair, Youth Action Movement (YAM) The teams of youth leaders have successfully advocated for sexual and reproductive health and rights, creating demand specifically for contraceptive care in their communities. “I engage in contraception discussions slowly by starting with a little probe if girls and young women have ever heard or used contraception before. Later I extend the discussion to give in that the unwanted pregnancy I got was total negligence because access to contraception services was available. I encourage them not to fall into unwanted pregnancy trap when they have all the support and preventative measures around." Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Lucy, youth leader Lucy chose a long-acting method of contraception through the FPAM mobile outreach clinic. “My friends discouraged me a lot because they feared a rumor that the IUD drops into the uterus and causes cancer. I gathered courage because I needed a solution that would enable me not to conceive again until my family's economic status improves, and I got the IUD fitted. I feel no problem. This evidence is now a tool I use to teach many girls and women about the benefits of contraception. We are really glad to have FPAM bring a youth-friendly mobile clinic which will support our ground efforts to advocate for youth access to all sexual and reproductive health and rights information and services.” Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email

Claudine
story

| 08 October 2020

"In the past, I was wary of 'contraceptive' methods"

“I've heard kids yelling on the street that there was a program to space pregnancies. I've always wanted to do that for the long term. Until then, I'm still trying with the three-month-old pills. Besides, listening to one of the people advertising these services, the address was not very far from my home." Claudine, aged 27, is a sex worker. "In the past, I was wary of 'contraceptive' methods. But once I tried them and I didn't notice any negative impact on my body, I made it a habit in order to not get pregnant". Like all young girls interested in the Women’s Integrated Sexual Health (Lot 1) programme services, Claudine arrives shyly at the center where Association pour le Bien-Etre Familial-Naissances Désirables (ABEF-ND) distributes contraceptive methods. "When I arrived at the center, I thought that there would be no paperwork to do, but I was pleasantly surprised that the organizers want to find out about me and maybe one day they will be able to set up a health centre to follow us regularly," she hopes. In the DRC, few women raise the subject of sexual violence because they are afraid of being rejected and that "poverty sometimes leads us into sex work," she says. "But the consequences are enormous and sometimes harmful. Girls who are not sensitized will have unsafe abortions and catch sexually transmitted infections." Claudine has expectations and hopes regarding this kind of activity: "However, if awareness-raising is regulated, even every three months, we will, I think, have fewer young mothers because they will be more knowledgable about family planning". The WISH project has seen a positive change in women and girls' access to integrated family planning and sexual and reproductive health care. WISH promotes a variety of contraceptive methods and sexual and reproductive health support, ranging from referrals to services for those who need it most.   "I want to feel free in my sexual activities". I have a boyfriend but that doesn't stop me from doing my life. "I make my livelihood as a sex worker and he is a carpenter. That's how we've been trying to make ends meet since we moved to the capital two years ago." "We're going back to the village to take a break, it's not a permanent departure." Claudine and her boyfriend are both from Boende, the capital of the Tshuapa province, in the north-west of the country, 2,285 km from Kinshasa. She was encouraged to move to the capital at the insistence of one of her uncles who had been living there for several years. "The reality is quite different. We have been able to raise enough money to send goods to the village for the past two years. My companion and I will go back there to rest and maybe come back if we get bored in the village again.” “Pakadjuma is a place where almost everyone comes from the village, but it is only here that I see enough interest from associations to sensitize young girls on family planning by distributing condoms to prevent early pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. It's all very interesting. It's an opportunity for us and I think it's one of the things I'll miss the most when I go back to the village. I hope to still have friends here who can send me these methods.”

Claudine
story

| 17 May 2022

"In the past, I was wary of 'contraceptive' methods"

“I've heard kids yelling on the street that there was a program to space pregnancies. I've always wanted to do that for the long term. Until then, I'm still trying with the three-month-old pills. Besides, listening to one of the people advertising these services, the address was not very far from my home." Claudine, aged 27, is a sex worker. "In the past, I was wary of 'contraceptive' methods. But once I tried them and I didn't notice any negative impact on my body, I made it a habit in order to not get pregnant". Like all young girls interested in the Women’s Integrated Sexual Health (Lot 1) programme services, Claudine arrives shyly at the center where Association pour le Bien-Etre Familial-Naissances Désirables (ABEF-ND) distributes contraceptive methods. "When I arrived at the center, I thought that there would be no paperwork to do, but I was pleasantly surprised that the organizers want to find out about me and maybe one day they will be able to set up a health centre to follow us regularly," she hopes. In the DRC, few women raise the subject of sexual violence because they are afraid of being rejected and that "poverty sometimes leads us into sex work," she says. "But the consequences are enormous and sometimes harmful. Girls who are not sensitized will have unsafe abortions and catch sexually transmitted infections." Claudine has expectations and hopes regarding this kind of activity: "However, if awareness-raising is regulated, even every three months, we will, I think, have fewer young mothers because they will be more knowledgable about family planning". The WISH project has seen a positive change in women and girls' access to integrated family planning and sexual and reproductive health care. WISH promotes a variety of contraceptive methods and sexual and reproductive health support, ranging from referrals to services for those who need it most.   "I want to feel free in my sexual activities". I have a boyfriend but that doesn't stop me from doing my life. "I make my livelihood as a sex worker and he is a carpenter. That's how we've been trying to make ends meet since we moved to the capital two years ago." "We're going back to the village to take a break, it's not a permanent departure." Claudine and her boyfriend are both from Boende, the capital of the Tshuapa province, in the north-west of the country, 2,285 km from Kinshasa. She was encouraged to move to the capital at the insistence of one of her uncles who had been living there for several years. "The reality is quite different. We have been able to raise enough money to send goods to the village for the past two years. My companion and I will go back there to rest and maybe come back if we get bored in the village again.” “Pakadjuma is a place where almost everyone comes from the village, but it is only here that I see enough interest from associations to sensitize young girls on family planning by distributing condoms to prevent early pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. It's all very interesting. It's an opportunity for us and I think it's one of the things I'll miss the most when I go back to the village. I hope to still have friends here who can send me these methods.”

Ruth
story

| 08 October 2020

"Right now, the most important thing is to continue my studies and take care of my child"

After her parents divorced, the family dissolved and Ruth found herself in Pakadjuma where she rented a small house. "My boyfriend helps me pay the rent," she says. She thought she would continue with school but could not afford it. After a few years of a relationship, Ruth became pregnant, and explain that "it was late to get an abortion, and I didn't want to put my life in danger." "I would have liked to get my bachelor's degree, but I don't regret it; I loved my child right away." Ruth, aged 19, like other young girls, queues up to learn about the different contraceptive methods the WISH programme offers for girls and women living in Pakadjuma. Some of them sign up directly to take them. Others find out and promise to come back after talking with their companions. The Women’s Integrated Sexual Health (WISH Lot 1) programme offers quality integrated sexual and reproductive health services across the Democratic Republic of Congo through IPPF Member, Association pour le Bien-Etre Familial – Naissances Désirables (ABEF-ND). Ruth is trying the service for the first time. She is in favour of receiving a contraceptive method for the next three months. "Some people have discouraged me because they believe that the 5-year method can destroy the body. But before deciding to come here, I asked around with the neighbours who have already tried it. I didn't have any negative experiences." Ruth asked the organizers about the consequences: "They said it's just to protect me so that I don't get pregnant for 3 months and then I can renew if I feel like it.” Ruth feels that many parents do not discuss sexual matters with their children. They probably feel it is inappropriate. Yet, if young girls get pregnant before they are socially stable, it is also due to a lack of guidance and orientation. "This should be a regular initiative," she says. "It's not late to receive sex education but above all to have free contraceptive methods, because I would have preferred a thousand times to buy milk for my baby than to pay for a condom or a Jadelle. Ruth has an 8-month-old baby, "I didn't want this and having many children will be disadvantageous for me especially as I am not yet married". She lives from small businesses and the money to support from her companion. Ruth says she took this contraceptive method without her partner's advice. "Since the birth of our child, we have been abstinent, and that's good. "He encourages me to go back to school, and I think that's what I should do.”

Ruth
story

| 17 May 2022

"Right now, the most important thing is to continue my studies and take care of my child"

After her parents divorced, the family dissolved and Ruth found herself in Pakadjuma where she rented a small house. "My boyfriend helps me pay the rent," she says. She thought she would continue with school but could not afford it. After a few years of a relationship, Ruth became pregnant, and explain that "it was late to get an abortion, and I didn't want to put my life in danger." "I would have liked to get my bachelor's degree, but I don't regret it; I loved my child right away." Ruth, aged 19, like other young girls, queues up to learn about the different contraceptive methods the WISH programme offers for girls and women living in Pakadjuma. Some of them sign up directly to take them. Others find out and promise to come back after talking with their companions. The Women’s Integrated Sexual Health (WISH Lot 1) programme offers quality integrated sexual and reproductive health services across the Democratic Republic of Congo through IPPF Member, Association pour le Bien-Etre Familial – Naissances Désirables (ABEF-ND). Ruth is trying the service for the first time. She is in favour of receiving a contraceptive method for the next three months. "Some people have discouraged me because they believe that the 5-year method can destroy the body. But before deciding to come here, I asked around with the neighbours who have already tried it. I didn't have any negative experiences." Ruth asked the organizers about the consequences: "They said it's just to protect me so that I don't get pregnant for 3 months and then I can renew if I feel like it.” Ruth feels that many parents do not discuss sexual matters with their children. They probably feel it is inappropriate. Yet, if young girls get pregnant before they are socially stable, it is also due to a lack of guidance and orientation. "This should be a regular initiative," she says. "It's not late to receive sex education but above all to have free contraceptive methods, because I would have preferred a thousand times to buy milk for my baby than to pay for a condom or a Jadelle. Ruth has an 8-month-old baby, "I didn't want this and having many children will be disadvantageous for me especially as I am not yet married". She lives from small businesses and the money to support from her companion. Ruth says she took this contraceptive method without her partner's advice. "Since the birth of our child, we have been abstinent, and that's good. "He encourages me to go back to school, and I think that's what I should do.”

women at clinic receives contraception - Pakistan
story

| 25 September 2020

“I have a three-year-old and want to wait a few years before I have another child"

At the Family Health Model Clinic (FHMC) set up by Rahnuma Family Planning Association of Pakistan (FPAP), mothers and daughters-in-laws wait for a consultation for affordable treatment and medication. At the FHMC, patients are charged only 50 Rupees (0.22 GBP) for a consultation. This is a fraction of what they would pay at a private clinic and less than the cost of travelling to the nearest government hospital. The clinic also has a ‘no-refusal policy’ to ensure those who cannot afford to pay the fee can still receive the care they need. Around 50 patients visit the clinic every day.  For 26-year-old Sehrish Hamid, the clinic is providing essential healthcare services, she is unable to afford elsewhere. “My husband sells scrap metal off a cart and we often struggle to make ends meet,” she says.  In the past, Sehrish frequently got urinary tract infections but could rarely afford to visit a doctor. A few weeks back, a social organizer from the WISH project visited her house and told her about the FHMC, where she was able to get affordable treatment and medication. “The staff here are friendly, and the doctor gives time and attention to each patient. In the past, no doctor took out the time to talk to me about hygiene and explain how recurring infections can be prevented,” she says.  The FHMC operates as a ‘one stop clinic’ offering a range of health services including family planning and screening for cervical cancer and counselling for Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV). Many, such as Sehrish come to clinic for one reason but also end up choosing to take up of family planning services.  “I have a three-year-old and want to wait a few years before I have another child. When I came to the clinic, I also found out about family planning methods. I had a lot of questions and concerns that were addressed and allowed me to make a decision about which contraceptives to use,” Sehrish says. 

women at clinic receives contraception - Pakistan
story

| 17 May 2022

“I have a three-year-old and want to wait a few years before I have another child"

At the Family Health Model Clinic (FHMC) set up by Rahnuma Family Planning Association of Pakistan (FPAP), mothers and daughters-in-laws wait for a consultation for affordable treatment and medication. At the FHMC, patients are charged only 50 Rupees (0.22 GBP) for a consultation. This is a fraction of what they would pay at a private clinic and less than the cost of travelling to the nearest government hospital. The clinic also has a ‘no-refusal policy’ to ensure those who cannot afford to pay the fee can still receive the care they need. Around 50 patients visit the clinic every day.  For 26-year-old Sehrish Hamid, the clinic is providing essential healthcare services, she is unable to afford elsewhere. “My husband sells scrap metal off a cart and we often struggle to make ends meet,” she says.  In the past, Sehrish frequently got urinary tract infections but could rarely afford to visit a doctor. A few weeks back, a social organizer from the WISH project visited her house and told her about the FHMC, where she was able to get affordable treatment and medication. “The staff here are friendly, and the doctor gives time and attention to each patient. In the past, no doctor took out the time to talk to me about hygiene and explain how recurring infections can be prevented,” she says.  The FHMC operates as a ‘one stop clinic’ offering a range of health services including family planning and screening for cervical cancer and counselling for Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV). Many, such as Sehrish come to clinic for one reason but also end up choosing to take up of family planning services.  “I have a three-year-old and want to wait a few years before I have another child. When I came to the clinic, I also found out about family planning methods. I had a lot of questions and concerns that were addressed and allowed me to make a decision about which contraceptives to use,” Sehrish says. 

Healthcare worker delivering CSE session.
story

| 09 September 2020

In pictures: Increasing contraceptive care to young people in Malawi

Our Member Association, Family Planning Association of Malawi (FPAM), is delivering healthcare through the support of WISH* in Lilongwe and Kasungu with a focus on young women and girls. A bespoke training programme supports community health workers on how to deliver youth-friendly healthcare through outreach to local communities, and especially young women. *The Women’s Integrated Sexual Health (WISH2Action) programme, is funded by the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), under the strategy to ‘Leave No One Behind’. Photographs ©FPAM/Andrew Mkandawire/Malawi Barriers to contraceptive care Young people, particularly girls, face barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive healthcare and contraception due to societal perceptions that they have no need for them. Chiefs and parents in the Lilongwe and Kasungu districts have demonstrated that by working together they are able to meet this need and protect the health and wellbeing of young people in their communities. Their collective approach ensures elders advocate on behalf of the youth in their communities, encouraging them to feel confident in accessing healthcare provision and to counter myths and misconceptions about contraception. Their goal is to reduce the high number of unintended pregnancies and STIs among young people. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Gogo Nakwenda Gogo Nakwenda is respected in her community as a go-to counsellor for young people, advising on sexuality and how to access healthcare. Now nearing her 80s, Nakwneda, talks about different contraception methods, saying that if she was 18 again, she would opt for the five-year implant to ensure her education and future work opportunities. “During our time we used traditional contraception, but I have learned that modern pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections prevention methods are very predictable and give no excuses to protection errors. One can comfortably plan when to have a child and when not to have child.” Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Lucy, volunteer and parent Lucy believes it is important to educate both parents and young people on the benefits of access to contraception. Lucy talks about how myths and misconceptions remain a barrier for young girls to be able to access contraception, mostly because of fears related to infertility. She is open about her own experiences with contraceptives. “I’m 38, I have used pills, injectables and now I’m now using the IUD and successfully I have given birth to three children and here I am in good health. Who else can lie about modern contraceptives? I usually encourage the young ones to be mindful of their future to avoid any mistake that could be prevented with available contraceptives they can comfortably demand from their community health workers.” Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Chiefs Sadulira and Chinoko Chiefs in Lilongwe and Kasungu districts are committed and supportive of the promotion of sexual and reproductive healthcare for the young people using the youth clubs they supervise. Chief Sadulira believes this is a crucial time for parents to understand the importance of being open with young people. Connecting them with community health workers who are experienced in counselling and provision of sexual and reproductive healthcare can help reduce unintended pregnancies. “I use community meeting sessions to advise parents who resist or misunderstand why youth should have access to contraceptives, because prevention is better than cure.” Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Matundu youth club In July 2020, FPAM visited the Lilongwe and Kasungu youth clubs to support sexual and reproductive health behaviour change communication interventions. “Our youth here access condoms from the chairman of Namangwe youth club who is linked to Chiwamba health center, located about 18km from Namangwe. He does all this as a volunteer because the area does not have any community-based distribution agents. And the fact that FPAM is finally here, we are assured that access to cervical cancer screening and contraception services are guaranteed,” says Chief Chinoko. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Ngwangwa Ngwangwa applauded FPAM for bringing youth-targeted outreach clinics to their remote area and requested to increase the frequency of the clinics to reach more youth living in hard-to-reach communities. “My area is big yet is leaning more like an island without a health facility nearby. It takes youth to walk 17km to get to Dzenza hospital, 15km to reach Ngoni health center, and 35km to get to Kabudula community hospital. This gap requires frequent mobile clinics.” Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Ruth, youth leader Radio and youth clubs are major sources of information on contraception as well as through community discussions and groups. “I first heard about contraception in 2016, when I was 15, from Zodiak and MBC radios. I accessed the Implanon implant that protects for three years from one of the FPAM outreach clinics. In my family we are three girls and all my elder sisters fell pregnant in their teens. I never wanted to get disturbed to complete my secondary school education. And hearing from radios about the benefits of contraception like the ability to complete education made me generate confidence to have an implant to avoid unintended pregnancy.” Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Banda, vice chair, Youth Action Movement (YAM) The teams of youth leaders have successfully advocated for sexual and reproductive health and rights, creating demand specifically for contraceptive care in their communities. “I engage in contraception discussions slowly by starting with a little probe if girls and young women have ever heard or used contraception before. Later I extend the discussion to give in that the unwanted pregnancy I got was total negligence because access to contraception services was available. I encourage them not to fall into unwanted pregnancy trap when they have all the support and preventative measures around." Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Lucy, youth leader Lucy chose a long-acting method of contraception through the FPAM mobile outreach clinic. “My friends discouraged me a lot because they feared a rumor that the IUD drops into the uterus and causes cancer. I gathered courage because I needed a solution that would enable me not to conceive again until my family's economic status improves, and I got the IUD fitted. I feel no problem. This evidence is now a tool I use to teach many girls and women about the benefits of contraception. We are really glad to have FPAM bring a youth-friendly mobile clinic which will support our ground efforts to advocate for youth access to all sexual and reproductive health and rights information and services.” Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email

Healthcare worker delivering CSE session.
story

| 17 May 2022

In pictures: Increasing contraceptive care to young people in Malawi

Our Member Association, Family Planning Association of Malawi (FPAM), is delivering healthcare through the support of WISH* in Lilongwe and Kasungu with a focus on young women and girls. A bespoke training programme supports community health workers on how to deliver youth-friendly healthcare through outreach to local communities, and especially young women. *The Women’s Integrated Sexual Health (WISH2Action) programme, is funded by the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), under the strategy to ‘Leave No One Behind’. Photographs ©FPAM/Andrew Mkandawire/Malawi Barriers to contraceptive care Young people, particularly girls, face barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive healthcare and contraception due to societal perceptions that they have no need for them. Chiefs and parents in the Lilongwe and Kasungu districts have demonstrated that by working together they are able to meet this need and protect the health and wellbeing of young people in their communities. Their collective approach ensures elders advocate on behalf of the youth in their communities, encouraging them to feel confident in accessing healthcare provision and to counter myths and misconceptions about contraception. Their goal is to reduce the high number of unintended pregnancies and STIs among young people. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Gogo Nakwenda Gogo Nakwenda is respected in her community as a go-to counsellor for young people, advising on sexuality and how to access healthcare. Now nearing her 80s, Nakwneda, talks about different contraception methods, saying that if she was 18 again, she would opt for the five-year implant to ensure her education and future work opportunities. “During our time we used traditional contraception, but I have learned that modern pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections prevention methods are very predictable and give no excuses to protection errors. One can comfortably plan when to have a child and when not to have child.” Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Lucy, volunteer and parent Lucy believes it is important to educate both parents and young people on the benefits of access to contraception. Lucy talks about how myths and misconceptions remain a barrier for young girls to be able to access contraception, mostly because of fears related to infertility. She is open about her own experiences with contraceptives. “I’m 38, I have used pills, injectables and now I’m now using the IUD and successfully I have given birth to three children and here I am in good health. Who else can lie about modern contraceptives? I usually encourage the young ones to be mindful of their future to avoid any mistake that could be prevented with available contraceptives they can comfortably demand from their community health workers.” Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Chiefs Sadulira and Chinoko Chiefs in Lilongwe and Kasungu districts are committed and supportive of the promotion of sexual and reproductive healthcare for the young people using the youth clubs they supervise. Chief Sadulira believes this is a crucial time for parents to understand the importance of being open with young people. Connecting them with community health workers who are experienced in counselling and provision of sexual and reproductive healthcare can help reduce unintended pregnancies. “I use community meeting sessions to advise parents who resist or misunderstand why youth should have access to contraceptives, because prevention is better than cure.” Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Matundu youth club In July 2020, FPAM visited the Lilongwe and Kasungu youth clubs to support sexual and reproductive health behaviour change communication interventions. “Our youth here access condoms from the chairman of Namangwe youth club who is linked to Chiwamba health center, located about 18km from Namangwe. He does all this as a volunteer because the area does not have any community-based distribution agents. And the fact that FPAM is finally here, we are assured that access to cervical cancer screening and contraception services are guaranteed,” says Chief Chinoko. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Ngwangwa Ngwangwa applauded FPAM for bringing youth-targeted outreach clinics to their remote area and requested to increase the frequency of the clinics to reach more youth living in hard-to-reach communities. “My area is big yet is leaning more like an island without a health facility nearby. It takes youth to walk 17km to get to Dzenza hospital, 15km to reach Ngoni health center, and 35km to get to Kabudula community hospital. This gap requires frequent mobile clinics.” Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Ruth, youth leader Radio and youth clubs are major sources of information on contraception as well as through community discussions and groups. “I first heard about contraception in 2016, when I was 15, from Zodiak and MBC radios. I accessed the Implanon implant that protects for three years from one of the FPAM outreach clinics. In my family we are three girls and all my elder sisters fell pregnant in their teens. I never wanted to get disturbed to complete my secondary school education. And hearing from radios about the benefits of contraception like the ability to complete education made me generate confidence to have an implant to avoid unintended pregnancy.” Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Banda, vice chair, Youth Action Movement (YAM) The teams of youth leaders have successfully advocated for sexual and reproductive health and rights, creating demand specifically for contraceptive care in their communities. “I engage in contraception discussions slowly by starting with a little probe if girls and young women have ever heard or used contraception before. Later I extend the discussion to give in that the unwanted pregnancy I got was total negligence because access to contraception services was available. I encourage them not to fall into unwanted pregnancy trap when they have all the support and preventative measures around." Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Lucy, youth leader Lucy chose a long-acting method of contraception through the FPAM mobile outreach clinic. “My friends discouraged me a lot because they feared a rumor that the IUD drops into the uterus and causes cancer. I gathered courage because I needed a solution that would enable me not to conceive again until my family's economic status improves, and I got the IUD fitted. I feel no problem. This evidence is now a tool I use to teach many girls and women about the benefits of contraception. We are really glad to have FPAM bring a youth-friendly mobile clinic which will support our ground efforts to advocate for youth access to all sexual and reproductive health and rights information and services.” Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email