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Stories

Latest stories from IPPF

Spotlight

A selection of stories from across the Federation

Humanitarian response team, Fiji.
Story

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.
A humanitarian worker in India
story

| 17 August 2021

In pictures: World Humanitarian Day 2021

This World Humanitarian Day we reflect on the incredible work undertaken by our humanitarian response teams over the last 12 months. Last year, IPPF reached approximately 5.5 million people in humanitarian crises through our local Member Associations. This achievement would not have been possible without the dedicated and heroic healthcare teams providing vital sexual and reproductive healthcare in the most fragile humanitarian settings. COVID-19 response in Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea Family Health Association (PNGFHA) PNGFHA responded to the COVID-19 outbreak in PNG, supported by the Australian government. With access to emergency healthcare facilities now extremely limited, PNGFHA health workers travel to hard-to-reach areas providing sexual and reproductive healthcare to the most marginalized communities.Clients like Vavine Kila receive a consultation at the PNGFHA mobile clinic. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email The humanitarian response teams taking healthcare into people's homes in Gaza Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Association (PFPPA) On 10 May 2021, Israel launched airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, killing over 220 people (including women and children) and leaving over 75,000 displaced. At the time, an estimated 87,000 women in the Gaza Strip and nearby areas were pregnant. The PFPPA humanitarian response team visited families in their homes, with each household expected to have four to five women of reproductive age needing healthcare. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Offering holistic care to families in Gaza Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Association (PFPPA) Children account for close to 50% of the population in Gaza. As part of the response, PFPPA youth volunteers entertained the children while their family members received life-saving sexual and reproductive healthcare and psychosocial support by the humanitarian response teams in privacy. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Ensuring ante- and post-natal care in the aftermath of an earthquake in West Sulawesi Indonesia Planned Parenthood Association (IPPA) On 15 January 2021, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck the West Sulawesi province in Indonesia leaving over 15,000 displaced, including many pregnant people and nursing mothers.As part of its response efforts, the IPPA set up mobile clinics near the shelters to provide vital ante- and post-natal care. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email A super cyclone and a pandemic Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) On 20 May 2020, severe Cyclone Amphan hit the Indian state of West Bengal, affecting millions of people in and around the state capital Kolkata. Emergency crises during the COVID-19 pandemic intensifies the impact of the disaster and puts a strain on health systems and access to sexual and reproductive healthcare.FPAI responded by providing emergency sexual and reproductive healthcare to affected communities, particularly focusing on the most marginalized and vulnerable people including the LGBTI community, sex workers, pregnant women, and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Providing healthcare to hardest hit communities after Cyclone Yasa The Reproductive and Family Health Association of Fiji (RFHAF) In mid-December 2020, a category 5 severe Tropical Cyclone Yasa hit the island of Fiji and neighbouring Lau group of Islands. IPPF’s Member Association, RFHAF, was supported by the Australian government to provide life-saving sexual and reproductive healthcare in the hardest hit communities, including counselling on STI risk reduction, first-line support for survivors of SGBV, and contraceptive and ante-natal care. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email

A humanitarian worker in India
story

| 26 May 2022

In pictures: World Humanitarian Day 2021

This World Humanitarian Day we reflect on the incredible work undertaken by our humanitarian response teams over the last 12 months. Last year, IPPF reached approximately 5.5 million people in humanitarian crises through our local Member Associations. This achievement would not have been possible without the dedicated and heroic healthcare teams providing vital sexual and reproductive healthcare in the most fragile humanitarian settings. COVID-19 response in Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea Family Health Association (PNGFHA) PNGFHA responded to the COVID-19 outbreak in PNG, supported by the Australian government. With access to emergency healthcare facilities now extremely limited, PNGFHA health workers travel to hard-to-reach areas providing sexual and reproductive healthcare to the most marginalized communities.Clients like Vavine Kila receive a consultation at the PNGFHA mobile clinic. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email The humanitarian response teams taking healthcare into people's homes in Gaza Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Association (PFPPA) On 10 May 2021, Israel launched airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, killing over 220 people (including women and children) and leaving over 75,000 displaced. At the time, an estimated 87,000 women in the Gaza Strip and nearby areas were pregnant. The PFPPA humanitarian response team visited families in their homes, with each household expected to have four to five women of reproductive age needing healthcare. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Offering holistic care to families in Gaza Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Association (PFPPA) Children account for close to 50% of the population in Gaza. As part of the response, PFPPA youth volunteers entertained the children while their family members received life-saving sexual and reproductive healthcare and psychosocial support by the humanitarian response teams in privacy. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Ensuring ante- and post-natal care in the aftermath of an earthquake in West Sulawesi Indonesia Planned Parenthood Association (IPPA) On 15 January 2021, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck the West Sulawesi province in Indonesia leaving over 15,000 displaced, including many pregnant people and nursing mothers.As part of its response efforts, the IPPA set up mobile clinics near the shelters to provide vital ante- and post-natal care. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email A super cyclone and a pandemic Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) On 20 May 2020, severe Cyclone Amphan hit the Indian state of West Bengal, affecting millions of people in and around the state capital Kolkata. Emergency crises during the COVID-19 pandemic intensifies the impact of the disaster and puts a strain on health systems and access to sexual and reproductive healthcare.FPAI responded by providing emergency sexual and reproductive healthcare to affected communities, particularly focusing on the most marginalized and vulnerable people including the LGBTI community, sex workers, pregnant women, and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Providing healthcare to hardest hit communities after Cyclone Yasa The Reproductive and Family Health Association of Fiji (RFHAF) In mid-December 2020, a category 5 severe Tropical Cyclone Yasa hit the island of Fiji and neighbouring Lau group of Islands. IPPF’s Member Association, RFHAF, was supported by the Australian government to provide life-saving sexual and reproductive healthcare in the hardest hit communities, including counselling on STI risk reduction, first-line support for survivors of SGBV, and contraceptive and ante-natal care. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email

Healthcare worker
story

| 26 May 2021

The personal contraceptive delivery service

When Famia Planea Aruba (FPA) saw a gap in the market, the team developed an online contraceptive store and bespoke delivery service to better reach their clients. The online store is available in the local Aruban language, Papiamento, and has been designed to provide quick access to various contraceptive methods, with supporting information to help clients make choices based on their needs.   Ghislaine, Head of Information, Education and Communication Support at FPA has been managing the delivery service since it started in August 2018.  “Since the start of the delivery service in 2018, our clients were enthusiastic however, the usage started slow. I believe this was due to the unfamiliarity, and people were still in the transition phase to online services. Moreover, clients believed that the delivery transportation would have been in a car, completely covered in images of condoms, sperm cells and pills, which made them sceptic of using the service due to embarrassment”, says Ghislaine.   The site is accessible to both FPA members and non-members who can shop in privacy for their contraceptives and schedule a delivery. Orders are delivered by FPA staff with clients having the option to pay cash or debit upon delivery. To ensure a clients’ privacy and confidentiality orders are delivered discreetly.  Challenges and opportunities  As with any new service comes challenges as well as opportunities. “Some of the challenges we face are the overload of deliveries on one day.” Even though Aruba is a small island and there are traffic jams only at specific hours in the day. “Sometimes I get stuck in traffic and try to rush myself to deliver the products in the time slot and at times I find myself in places that I barely recognize and discover new locations.”  “The part I enjoy is the communication with the clients. Building a relationship with the client and vice versa provides a smoother transition of service but also provides the comfort and safe feeling for the client.”  Ghislaine says the service often calls for more than the delivery of contraceptive orders, as clients may have questions or need support about their health.  Personal and convenient healthcare  Damara is a data analyst and a member of the Sustainable Development Goals Commission. She started using FPA contraceptive delivery service a year ago.   “It definitely has made my life much easier, especially when I have a busy schedule. With the delivery service I simply order my products through the online store and choose the date and time that is most convenient for me”, she says.  Damara values the personal service and the convenience of paying by card and choosing a preferred delivery time. “I love this service because sometimes I place an order a few days before and the employees at FPA call to confirm the order the day of the delivery, which is great because it is like a personal reminder! The best part is that they also have a portable ATM machine. I get my products, guidance and have it delivered to my location, what more can you ask for?”  FPA’s bespoke healthcare delivery has seen a successful growth since it started, with an increase of 115% during 2019 and 170% in 2020. “There has been an immense increase in the service in 2020 due to the pandemic. We already had the service in place, so we just had to fill in the gaps; for example, providing more hours and dates for clients to make use of the service”, says Ghislaine.  Hilyann, a journalist, is another regular user of the online store. “Shopping on the FPA online store makes me feel very in control and empowered. I hope that more people of all ages take advantage of this service. I hear far too often that people say they don’t have time, nobody has actually, but FPA is there for you. Take control of your sexual and reproductive health, empower yourself, be the boss of your time and your body.”   

Healthcare worker
story

| 26 May 2022

The personal contraceptive delivery service

When Famia Planea Aruba (FPA) saw a gap in the market, the team developed an online contraceptive store and bespoke delivery service to better reach their clients. The online store is available in the local Aruban language, Papiamento, and has been designed to provide quick access to various contraceptive methods, with supporting information to help clients make choices based on their needs.   Ghislaine, Head of Information, Education and Communication Support at FPA has been managing the delivery service since it started in August 2018.  “Since the start of the delivery service in 2018, our clients were enthusiastic however, the usage started slow. I believe this was due to the unfamiliarity, and people were still in the transition phase to online services. Moreover, clients believed that the delivery transportation would have been in a car, completely covered in images of condoms, sperm cells and pills, which made them sceptic of using the service due to embarrassment”, says Ghislaine.   The site is accessible to both FPA members and non-members who can shop in privacy for their contraceptives and schedule a delivery. Orders are delivered by FPA staff with clients having the option to pay cash or debit upon delivery. To ensure a clients’ privacy and confidentiality orders are delivered discreetly.  Challenges and opportunities  As with any new service comes challenges as well as opportunities. “Some of the challenges we face are the overload of deliveries on one day.” Even though Aruba is a small island and there are traffic jams only at specific hours in the day. “Sometimes I get stuck in traffic and try to rush myself to deliver the products in the time slot and at times I find myself in places that I barely recognize and discover new locations.”  “The part I enjoy is the communication with the clients. Building a relationship with the client and vice versa provides a smoother transition of service but also provides the comfort and safe feeling for the client.”  Ghislaine says the service often calls for more than the delivery of contraceptive orders, as clients may have questions or need support about their health.  Personal and convenient healthcare  Damara is a data analyst and a member of the Sustainable Development Goals Commission. She started using FPA contraceptive delivery service a year ago.   “It definitely has made my life much easier, especially when I have a busy schedule. With the delivery service I simply order my products through the online store and choose the date and time that is most convenient for me”, she says.  Damara values the personal service and the convenience of paying by card and choosing a preferred delivery time. “I love this service because sometimes I place an order a few days before and the employees at FPA call to confirm the order the day of the delivery, which is great because it is like a personal reminder! The best part is that they also have a portable ATM machine. I get my products, guidance and have it delivered to my location, what more can you ask for?”  FPA’s bespoke healthcare delivery has seen a successful growth since it started, with an increase of 115% during 2019 and 170% in 2020. “There has been an immense increase in the service in 2020 due to the pandemic. We already had the service in place, so we just had to fill in the gaps; for example, providing more hours and dates for clients to make use of the service”, says Ghislaine.  Hilyann, a journalist, is another regular user of the online store. “Shopping on the FPA online store makes me feel very in control and empowered. I hope that more people of all ages take advantage of this service. I hear far too often that people say they don’t have time, nobody has actually, but FPA is there for you. Take control of your sexual and reproductive health, empower yourself, be the boss of your time and your body.”   

Volunteer
story

| 19 May 2021

"I changed first...so can other men"

"One day, when I returned from work, Ms. Glenda and Mr. Martin from Pro-Familia were at my house. I heard what the volunteering was about, regarding the education of the men in the community, how to teach how to stop machismo, to be less violent, how to give the talks and visit the clients. They also talked about the contraceptive methods, medicines and many things that would change people's lives. The proposal seemed important to me and I accepted, since I like to work for my people," recalls José.  In 2008, the Asociación Demográfica Salvadoreña (Pro-Familia) developed a project focusing on sexual and reproductive health and the active participation of men in rural areas. It concentrated specifically on the integration of male participation in sexual and reproductive healthcare. Since 2014, the project has been integrated into the Community-Based Programme as part of the provision of healthcare for rural men.  "When I gave the talks on masculinities, they questioned me: 'Why can't you scream at home, if you're the man?' Or 'who do you think you are to say those things?', questions that I also asked myself once", says José. "Thanks to the training I have had and the support of the Pro-Familia staff, I have managed to learn and clarify my doubts. I take care of my own health, I share the responsibilities at home, I take care of my two-year-old son – before volunteering, I thought it was a woman’s job, I didn't do that."  Ensuring access to information and contraception   Educational activities in sexual and reproductive health remain a challenge, but Pro-Familia is committed to delivering their strategy. The role of the health promoter is to advocate – with other men – the use of contraception, counselling couples, and providing supplies (especially condoms) and medicines.   "I like the communication I have with the Pro-Familia staff, and the training reinforcements – they should keep it that way, because it's the way to learn and do things better in the community," he says.  "The change begins with oneself and then transmits it to others. I gather men in talks, make visits to their homes, give guidance on prevention of sexually- transmitted infections, on family planning, and how not to be violent", says José. "Older adult men are more difficult to change."  Increasing contraceptive use among men   José has seen the positive change among men in his community and those small achievements encourage him to keep going. "When men ask me about violence and condom use, I feel encouraged. For example: a co-worker uses a condom and confidently tells me that he does it because he learned from the talks he received, that motivates me to continue guiding towards new masculinities."  The Community-Based Program has a special fund for clients who are referred by promoters for a voluntary surgical contraception (VSC) procedure, so the service is free of charge for clients. In this regard, José is aware that there is still work to be done: "The issue of vasectomy is difficult with men in the community, the challenges continue."  "In the community, young people 'get to live together' [marital union] at an early age. Maybe I cannot change that, but I can help them to be better people, to respect each other. Just as I changed, so can other men," says José. 

Volunteer
story

| 26 May 2022

"I changed first...so can other men"

"One day, when I returned from work, Ms. Glenda and Mr. Martin from Pro-Familia were at my house. I heard what the volunteering was about, regarding the education of the men in the community, how to teach how to stop machismo, to be less violent, how to give the talks and visit the clients. They also talked about the contraceptive methods, medicines and many things that would change people's lives. The proposal seemed important to me and I accepted, since I like to work for my people," recalls José.  In 2008, the Asociación Demográfica Salvadoreña (Pro-Familia) developed a project focusing on sexual and reproductive health and the active participation of men in rural areas. It concentrated specifically on the integration of male participation in sexual and reproductive healthcare. Since 2014, the project has been integrated into the Community-Based Programme as part of the provision of healthcare for rural men.  "When I gave the talks on masculinities, they questioned me: 'Why can't you scream at home, if you're the man?' Or 'who do you think you are to say those things?', questions that I also asked myself once", says José. "Thanks to the training I have had and the support of the Pro-Familia staff, I have managed to learn and clarify my doubts. I take care of my own health, I share the responsibilities at home, I take care of my two-year-old son – before volunteering, I thought it was a woman’s job, I didn't do that."  Ensuring access to information and contraception   Educational activities in sexual and reproductive health remain a challenge, but Pro-Familia is committed to delivering their strategy. The role of the health promoter is to advocate – with other men – the use of contraception, counselling couples, and providing supplies (especially condoms) and medicines.   "I like the communication I have with the Pro-Familia staff, and the training reinforcements – they should keep it that way, because it's the way to learn and do things better in the community," he says.  "The change begins with oneself and then transmits it to others. I gather men in talks, make visits to their homes, give guidance on prevention of sexually- transmitted infections, on family planning, and how not to be violent", says José. "Older adult men are more difficult to change."  Increasing contraceptive use among men   José has seen the positive change among men in his community and those small achievements encourage him to keep going. "When men ask me about violence and condom use, I feel encouraged. For example: a co-worker uses a condom and confidently tells me that he does it because he learned from the talks he received, that motivates me to continue guiding towards new masculinities."  The Community-Based Program has a special fund for clients who are referred by promoters for a voluntary surgical contraception (VSC) procedure, so the service is free of charge for clients. In this regard, José is aware that there is still work to be done: "The issue of vasectomy is difficult with men in the community, the challenges continue."  "In the community, young people 'get to live together' [marital union] at an early age. Maybe I cannot change that, but I can help them to be better people, to respect each other. Just as I changed, so can other men," says José. 

Volunteer
story

| 19 May 2021

Talking about contraceptive choice on the soccer field

"I decided to become a volunteer at Pro-Familia when I heard a talk the staff were giving at the Acajutla City Hall, where they explained what they were doing in the communities with the program, and they invited us to be part of the volunteer service. I liked what I could do with the men in the community. It’s been two-and-a-half years." Juan Martinez Leon is a volunteer with the Asociación Demográfica Salvadoreña (ADS/Pro-Familia) community-based programme. Juan’s remit is broad, working mainly with men to provide information on contraceptive methods and counselling to individuals and couples. He also provides contraceptive methods including the Pill, injectables and, especially, condoms. For some hormonal contraceptive methods, Juan refers his clients to Pro-Familia clinics or other public health facilities. Putting community first "I like to work for my community, despite the difficulties, and I help in four more communities for them to have the [contraceptive] methods and medicines, because they come to get me," says Juan. "I give talks on the soccer field in front of my house or I have meetings at my house. My children help me invite men to come and they also learn and admire the work." Juan visits clients at home and organizes talks – mainly with other men – to promote the importance of contraceptive use, and women and children's health. The importance of men’s health and their family group is a key element in Juan's role as a health promoter. “I like providing family planning counselling, because sometimes men don't like women using anything to prevent pregnancy. When I talk with the men of my community, people's lives change and you see the difference: you no longer see the domination over women, they let women plan, and [the woman] no longer requests the method secretly – although there are still some women who hide from their husbands. That's why we have to continue working on counselling, that's what awakens them." Changing behaviour and attitudes Juan runs informative talks on reproductive health and the prevention of STIs and HIV. "In some talks, some men have come out angry and questioned me. Who am I to tell those things? ‘Someone who has learned and who respects people's rights,’ I tell them. Now men come to ask for condoms, and even my wife confidently gives the condoms to them. She also supports me." Some men thank Juan for having "awakened their minds", and encouraged them to change to respect women and to help at home. “I think I help my community a lot. You wake them up. I like what I do, I like to help. Before there was no promoter and they had women submerged. Little by little that is changing, but only by talking to men is it achieved. I want to continue learning about sexual and reproductive health issues, it never ends. I would like to continue in training as we used to before the pandemic, and for Pro-Familia to come more often. Until God tells me, I feel that it is my obligation to attend to men or whoever seeks me to help them. That's what I'm for.”

Volunteer
story

| 26 May 2022

Talking about contraceptive choice on the soccer field

"I decided to become a volunteer at Pro-Familia when I heard a talk the staff were giving at the Acajutla City Hall, where they explained what they were doing in the communities with the program, and they invited us to be part of the volunteer service. I liked what I could do with the men in the community. It’s been two-and-a-half years." Juan Martinez Leon is a volunteer with the Asociación Demográfica Salvadoreña (ADS/Pro-Familia) community-based programme. Juan’s remit is broad, working mainly with men to provide information on contraceptive methods and counselling to individuals and couples. He also provides contraceptive methods including the Pill, injectables and, especially, condoms. For some hormonal contraceptive methods, Juan refers his clients to Pro-Familia clinics or other public health facilities. Putting community first "I like to work for my community, despite the difficulties, and I help in four more communities for them to have the [contraceptive] methods and medicines, because they come to get me," says Juan. "I give talks on the soccer field in front of my house or I have meetings at my house. My children help me invite men to come and they also learn and admire the work." Juan visits clients at home and organizes talks – mainly with other men – to promote the importance of contraceptive use, and women and children's health. The importance of men’s health and their family group is a key element in Juan's role as a health promoter. “I like providing family planning counselling, because sometimes men don't like women using anything to prevent pregnancy. When I talk with the men of my community, people's lives change and you see the difference: you no longer see the domination over women, they let women plan, and [the woman] no longer requests the method secretly – although there are still some women who hide from their husbands. That's why we have to continue working on counselling, that's what awakens them." Changing behaviour and attitudes Juan runs informative talks on reproductive health and the prevention of STIs and HIV. "In some talks, some men have come out angry and questioned me. Who am I to tell those things? ‘Someone who has learned and who respects people's rights,’ I tell them. Now men come to ask for condoms, and even my wife confidently gives the condoms to them. She also supports me." Some men thank Juan for having "awakened their minds", and encouraged them to change to respect women and to help at home. “I think I help my community a lot. You wake them up. I like what I do, I like to help. Before there was no promoter and they had women submerged. Little by little that is changing, but only by talking to men is it achieved. I want to continue learning about sexual and reproductive health issues, it never ends. I would like to continue in training as we used to before the pandemic, and for Pro-Familia to come more often. Until God tells me, I feel that it is my obligation to attend to men or whoever seeks me to help them. That's what I'm for.”

Volunteer
story

| 19 May 2021

"I am for my community"

"I started as a Pro-Family Health Promoter 30 years ago. I received a visit from Pro-Familia staff on several occasions and I was very interested in what I could do to help in my community as a volunteer, so I accepted. I was trained in sexual and reproductive health issues, and in the technique of injecting [contraceptives]", says Juana Margoth.  Since 1974, the Asociación Demográfica Salvadoreña (ADS/Pro-Familia), has been providing sexual and reproductive healthcare to marginalized communities in rural and peri-urban areas. Through their Pro-Family Health Promoter and community-based programme, the Pro-Familia teams provide information and contraceptive care and supplies to vulnerable populations. Today, the programme has around 900 health promoters throughout El Salvador.  Building relationships and trust   Juana Margoth is one of these health promoters who provides care across four local villages in Hacienda El Edén, in Sonsonate, where the Ministry of Health does not have a presence.   "I like that women know that I am here to help them, also to give advice and understand each person's problem; [to help them] to plan their family, and I like the fact that they want to do it with me," she says.  She receives a quarterly supply of contraceptives that she distributes at low prices to the women in her community.  "I make visits in the communities to the clients I already have, to see if they are okay with the [contraceptive] method, and to receive new clients. Sometimes even the same clients tell me that there is someone who needs a visit. I like that they look to me to help them – I give confidence to the clients, to their partners too. I have clients since two, five or six years ago. There is a lot of need, so I am here, until God wants it." Providing contraceptive advice Juana Margoth also highlights the importance of guiding women and men, providing counselling to clients so that they understand the different methods and contraception, and how to use it: "In other places they only give the contraceptive methods to women and do not explain [on its use]." Veronica has been a regular client of Juana Margoth’s for eight years, receiving counselling and contraceptives. "Margoth has changed our life, mine and my family’s, I have been planning with her for eight years, she is kind and always has the method I use. When I have doubts, I ask her with confidence, without shame, and I can go to her house at any time, she is always there. I don't like going to the health unit, because it costs a lot of money, and sometimes they don't have contraceptives; nowadays, with the pandemic, we have Margoth close and she never stopped treating me, it is very helpful in our community."  Responding to humanitarian disasters   As well as the community-based programme, Pro-Familia supports the network of volunteer promoter's humanitarian crises, such as natural disasters. Pro-Familia conducts a survey of needs and responds with support for reconstruction, healthcare, and food security.  "I have a lot to thank Pro-Familia for. I have learned and continue to learn with them, they are always there when I need to know something, when I run out of contraceptives and without medications [for the program]; I am also grateful because I have my prefabricated house thanks to Pro-Familia who helped me when the earthquake of 2001 happened, several years ago."

Volunteer
story

| 26 May 2022

"I am for my community"

"I started as a Pro-Family Health Promoter 30 years ago. I received a visit from Pro-Familia staff on several occasions and I was very interested in what I could do to help in my community as a volunteer, so I accepted. I was trained in sexual and reproductive health issues, and in the technique of injecting [contraceptives]", says Juana Margoth.  Since 1974, the Asociación Demográfica Salvadoreña (ADS/Pro-Familia), has been providing sexual and reproductive healthcare to marginalized communities in rural and peri-urban areas. Through their Pro-Family Health Promoter and community-based programme, the Pro-Familia teams provide information and contraceptive care and supplies to vulnerable populations. Today, the programme has around 900 health promoters throughout El Salvador.  Building relationships and trust   Juana Margoth is one of these health promoters who provides care across four local villages in Hacienda El Edén, in Sonsonate, where the Ministry of Health does not have a presence.   "I like that women know that I am here to help them, also to give advice and understand each person's problem; [to help them] to plan their family, and I like the fact that they want to do it with me," she says.  She receives a quarterly supply of contraceptives that she distributes at low prices to the women in her community.  "I make visits in the communities to the clients I already have, to see if they are okay with the [contraceptive] method, and to receive new clients. Sometimes even the same clients tell me that there is someone who needs a visit. I like that they look to me to help them – I give confidence to the clients, to their partners too. I have clients since two, five or six years ago. There is a lot of need, so I am here, until God wants it." Providing contraceptive advice Juana Margoth also highlights the importance of guiding women and men, providing counselling to clients so that they understand the different methods and contraception, and how to use it: "In other places they only give the contraceptive methods to women and do not explain [on its use]." Veronica has been a regular client of Juana Margoth’s for eight years, receiving counselling and contraceptives. "Margoth has changed our life, mine and my family’s, I have been planning with her for eight years, she is kind and always has the method I use. When I have doubts, I ask her with confidence, without shame, and I can go to her house at any time, she is always there. I don't like going to the health unit, because it costs a lot of money, and sometimes they don't have contraceptives; nowadays, with the pandemic, we have Margoth close and she never stopped treating me, it is very helpful in our community."  Responding to humanitarian disasters   As well as the community-based programme, Pro-Familia supports the network of volunteer promoter's humanitarian crises, such as natural disasters. Pro-Familia conducts a survey of needs and responds with support for reconstruction, healthcare, and food security.  "I have a lot to thank Pro-Familia for. I have learned and continue to learn with them, they are always there when I need to know something, when I run out of contraceptives and without medications [for the program]; I am also grateful because I have my prefabricated house thanks to Pro-Familia who helped me when the earthquake of 2001 happened, several years ago."

Blanca talks to a client
story

| 19 May 2021

"I can always do something to help others"

When Blanca started volunteering with the Asociación Demográfica Salvadoreña’s (ADS/Pro-Familia), she committed to her new role with enthusiasm. Her thoughts were about how the women of La Loma village would benefit from being able to access contraceptive methods close to home.  "Many women walk up to an hour-and-a-half from the villages of the Guazapa Hill to receive family planning services, or to receive counselling," 61-year-old Blanca Edith Mendoza Ramos says proudly.   Her house is a cosy and special place for the clients. "I have been a Pro-Familia volunteer for 29 years. When I started, I had already had my five children. I was busy at home, but when the Pro-Familia staff explained to me about working in my community, I trusted it was important to support women. I have learned a lot and I continue to do so. I have received training that helps me to be a better person, to have knowledge and to give good advice; I have received many people from Pro-Familia in these years, and always with great responsibility", she says.  A confidential and cosy place    To ensure her clients’ confidentiality, Blanca has created a private room with a sofa where she provides counselling and administers injectable contraceptive methods. By creating a private space, Blanca has built up trust in the community and women prefer to go to her for contraception and advice.  "I am proud to help in my community. I visit clients to see if they have any side effects, when they do not come to receive their method, to know if they are well, or to recruit new clients who are encouraged to use a family planning method, because their families are already very large." Although the public health facility provides free healthcare, women from other local communities prefer to see Blanca because she is closer and offers confidential personalized care.   "The Health Unit is not close, so women prefer to plan with me. They come with confidence to apply their method. On their first visit, I ask them a few questions about their health, and if everything is okay, they plan with me. I think that family planning is important for the spacing of the children and that it is not only the use of methods, but also communication with the couple", reflects Blanca. 

Blanca talks to a client
story

| 26 May 2022

"I can always do something to help others"

When Blanca started volunteering with the Asociación Demográfica Salvadoreña’s (ADS/Pro-Familia), she committed to her new role with enthusiasm. Her thoughts were about how the women of La Loma village would benefit from being able to access contraceptive methods close to home.  "Many women walk up to an hour-and-a-half from the villages of the Guazapa Hill to receive family planning services, or to receive counselling," 61-year-old Blanca Edith Mendoza Ramos says proudly.   Her house is a cosy and special place for the clients. "I have been a Pro-Familia volunteer for 29 years. When I started, I had already had my five children. I was busy at home, but when the Pro-Familia staff explained to me about working in my community, I trusted it was important to support women. I have learned a lot and I continue to do so. I have received training that helps me to be a better person, to have knowledge and to give good advice; I have received many people from Pro-Familia in these years, and always with great responsibility", she says.  A confidential and cosy place    To ensure her clients’ confidentiality, Blanca has created a private room with a sofa where she provides counselling and administers injectable contraceptive methods. By creating a private space, Blanca has built up trust in the community and women prefer to go to her for contraception and advice.  "I am proud to help in my community. I visit clients to see if they have any side effects, when they do not come to receive their method, to know if they are well, or to recruit new clients who are encouraged to use a family planning method, because their families are already very large." Although the public health facility provides free healthcare, women from other local communities prefer to see Blanca because she is closer and offers confidential personalized care.   "The Health Unit is not close, so women prefer to plan with me. They come with confidence to apply their method. On their first visit, I ask them a few questions about their health, and if everything is okay, they plan with me. I think that family planning is important for the spacing of the children and that it is not only the use of methods, but also communication with the couple", reflects Blanca. 

A humanitarian worker in India
story

| 17 August 2021

In pictures: World Humanitarian Day 2021

This World Humanitarian Day we reflect on the incredible work undertaken by our humanitarian response teams over the last 12 months. Last year, IPPF reached approximately 5.5 million people in humanitarian crises through our local Member Associations. This achievement would not have been possible without the dedicated and heroic healthcare teams providing vital sexual and reproductive healthcare in the most fragile humanitarian settings. COVID-19 response in Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea Family Health Association (PNGFHA) PNGFHA responded to the COVID-19 outbreak in PNG, supported by the Australian government. With access to emergency healthcare facilities now extremely limited, PNGFHA health workers travel to hard-to-reach areas providing sexual and reproductive healthcare to the most marginalized communities.Clients like Vavine Kila receive a consultation at the PNGFHA mobile clinic. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email The humanitarian response teams taking healthcare into people's homes in Gaza Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Association (PFPPA) On 10 May 2021, Israel launched airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, killing over 220 people (including women and children) and leaving over 75,000 displaced. At the time, an estimated 87,000 women in the Gaza Strip and nearby areas were pregnant. The PFPPA humanitarian response team visited families in their homes, with each household expected to have four to five women of reproductive age needing healthcare. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Offering holistic care to families in Gaza Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Association (PFPPA) Children account for close to 50% of the population in Gaza. As part of the response, PFPPA youth volunteers entertained the children while their family members received life-saving sexual and reproductive healthcare and psychosocial support by the humanitarian response teams in privacy. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Ensuring ante- and post-natal care in the aftermath of an earthquake in West Sulawesi Indonesia Planned Parenthood Association (IPPA) On 15 January 2021, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck the West Sulawesi province in Indonesia leaving over 15,000 displaced, including many pregnant people and nursing mothers.As part of its response efforts, the IPPA set up mobile clinics near the shelters to provide vital ante- and post-natal care. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email A super cyclone and a pandemic Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) On 20 May 2020, severe Cyclone Amphan hit the Indian state of West Bengal, affecting millions of people in and around the state capital Kolkata. Emergency crises during the COVID-19 pandemic intensifies the impact of the disaster and puts a strain on health systems and access to sexual and reproductive healthcare.FPAI responded by providing emergency sexual and reproductive healthcare to affected communities, particularly focusing on the most marginalized and vulnerable people including the LGBTI community, sex workers, pregnant women, and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Providing healthcare to hardest hit communities after Cyclone Yasa The Reproductive and Family Health Association of Fiji (RFHAF) In mid-December 2020, a category 5 severe Tropical Cyclone Yasa hit the island of Fiji and neighbouring Lau group of Islands. IPPF’s Member Association, RFHAF, was supported by the Australian government to provide life-saving sexual and reproductive healthcare in the hardest hit communities, including counselling on STI risk reduction, first-line support for survivors of SGBV, and contraceptive and ante-natal care. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email

A humanitarian worker in India
story

| 26 May 2022

In pictures: World Humanitarian Day 2021

This World Humanitarian Day we reflect on the incredible work undertaken by our humanitarian response teams over the last 12 months. Last year, IPPF reached approximately 5.5 million people in humanitarian crises through our local Member Associations. This achievement would not have been possible without the dedicated and heroic healthcare teams providing vital sexual and reproductive healthcare in the most fragile humanitarian settings. COVID-19 response in Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea Family Health Association (PNGFHA) PNGFHA responded to the COVID-19 outbreak in PNG, supported by the Australian government. With access to emergency healthcare facilities now extremely limited, PNGFHA health workers travel to hard-to-reach areas providing sexual and reproductive healthcare to the most marginalized communities.Clients like Vavine Kila receive a consultation at the PNGFHA mobile clinic. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email The humanitarian response teams taking healthcare into people's homes in Gaza Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Association (PFPPA) On 10 May 2021, Israel launched airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, killing over 220 people (including women and children) and leaving over 75,000 displaced. At the time, an estimated 87,000 women in the Gaza Strip and nearby areas were pregnant. The PFPPA humanitarian response team visited families in their homes, with each household expected to have four to five women of reproductive age needing healthcare. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Offering holistic care to families in Gaza Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Association (PFPPA) Children account for close to 50% of the population in Gaza. As part of the response, PFPPA youth volunteers entertained the children while their family members received life-saving sexual and reproductive healthcare and psychosocial support by the humanitarian response teams in privacy. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Ensuring ante- and post-natal care in the aftermath of an earthquake in West Sulawesi Indonesia Planned Parenthood Association (IPPA) On 15 January 2021, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck the West Sulawesi province in Indonesia leaving over 15,000 displaced, including many pregnant people and nursing mothers.As part of its response efforts, the IPPA set up mobile clinics near the shelters to provide vital ante- and post-natal care. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email A super cyclone and a pandemic Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) On 20 May 2020, severe Cyclone Amphan hit the Indian state of West Bengal, affecting millions of people in and around the state capital Kolkata. Emergency crises during the COVID-19 pandemic intensifies the impact of the disaster and puts a strain on health systems and access to sexual and reproductive healthcare.FPAI responded by providing emergency sexual and reproductive healthcare to affected communities, particularly focusing on the most marginalized and vulnerable people including the LGBTI community, sex workers, pregnant women, and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email Providing healthcare to hardest hit communities after Cyclone Yasa The Reproductive and Family Health Association of Fiji (RFHAF) In mid-December 2020, a category 5 severe Tropical Cyclone Yasa hit the island of Fiji and neighbouring Lau group of Islands. IPPF’s Member Association, RFHAF, was supported by the Australian government to provide life-saving sexual and reproductive healthcare in the hardest hit communities, including counselling on STI risk reduction, first-line support for survivors of SGBV, and contraceptive and ante-natal care. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via WhatsApp Share via Email

Healthcare worker
story

| 26 May 2021

The personal contraceptive delivery service

When Famia Planea Aruba (FPA) saw a gap in the market, the team developed an online contraceptive store and bespoke delivery service to better reach their clients. The online store is available in the local Aruban language, Papiamento, and has been designed to provide quick access to various contraceptive methods, with supporting information to help clients make choices based on their needs.   Ghislaine, Head of Information, Education and Communication Support at FPA has been managing the delivery service since it started in August 2018.  “Since the start of the delivery service in 2018, our clients were enthusiastic however, the usage started slow. I believe this was due to the unfamiliarity, and people were still in the transition phase to online services. Moreover, clients believed that the delivery transportation would have been in a car, completely covered in images of condoms, sperm cells and pills, which made them sceptic of using the service due to embarrassment”, says Ghislaine.   The site is accessible to both FPA members and non-members who can shop in privacy for their contraceptives and schedule a delivery. Orders are delivered by FPA staff with clients having the option to pay cash or debit upon delivery. To ensure a clients’ privacy and confidentiality orders are delivered discreetly.  Challenges and opportunities  As with any new service comes challenges as well as opportunities. “Some of the challenges we face are the overload of deliveries on one day.” Even though Aruba is a small island and there are traffic jams only at specific hours in the day. “Sometimes I get stuck in traffic and try to rush myself to deliver the products in the time slot and at times I find myself in places that I barely recognize and discover new locations.”  “The part I enjoy is the communication with the clients. Building a relationship with the client and vice versa provides a smoother transition of service but also provides the comfort and safe feeling for the client.”  Ghislaine says the service often calls for more than the delivery of contraceptive orders, as clients may have questions or need support about their health.  Personal and convenient healthcare  Damara is a data analyst and a member of the Sustainable Development Goals Commission. She started using FPA contraceptive delivery service a year ago.   “It definitely has made my life much easier, especially when I have a busy schedule. With the delivery service I simply order my products through the online store and choose the date and time that is most convenient for me”, she says.  Damara values the personal service and the convenience of paying by card and choosing a preferred delivery time. “I love this service because sometimes I place an order a few days before and the employees at FPA call to confirm the order the day of the delivery, which is great because it is like a personal reminder! The best part is that they also have a portable ATM machine. I get my products, guidance and have it delivered to my location, what more can you ask for?”  FPA’s bespoke healthcare delivery has seen a successful growth since it started, with an increase of 115% during 2019 and 170% in 2020. “There has been an immense increase in the service in 2020 due to the pandemic. We already had the service in place, so we just had to fill in the gaps; for example, providing more hours and dates for clients to make use of the service”, says Ghislaine.  Hilyann, a journalist, is another regular user of the online store. “Shopping on the FPA online store makes me feel very in control and empowered. I hope that more people of all ages take advantage of this service. I hear far too often that people say they don’t have time, nobody has actually, but FPA is there for you. Take control of your sexual and reproductive health, empower yourself, be the boss of your time and your body.”   

Healthcare worker
story

| 26 May 2022

The personal contraceptive delivery service

When Famia Planea Aruba (FPA) saw a gap in the market, the team developed an online contraceptive store and bespoke delivery service to better reach their clients. The online store is available in the local Aruban language, Papiamento, and has been designed to provide quick access to various contraceptive methods, with supporting information to help clients make choices based on their needs.   Ghislaine, Head of Information, Education and Communication Support at FPA has been managing the delivery service since it started in August 2018.  “Since the start of the delivery service in 2018, our clients were enthusiastic however, the usage started slow. I believe this was due to the unfamiliarity, and people were still in the transition phase to online services. Moreover, clients believed that the delivery transportation would have been in a car, completely covered in images of condoms, sperm cells and pills, which made them sceptic of using the service due to embarrassment”, says Ghislaine.   The site is accessible to both FPA members and non-members who can shop in privacy for their contraceptives and schedule a delivery. Orders are delivered by FPA staff with clients having the option to pay cash or debit upon delivery. To ensure a clients’ privacy and confidentiality orders are delivered discreetly.  Challenges and opportunities  As with any new service comes challenges as well as opportunities. “Some of the challenges we face are the overload of deliveries on one day.” Even though Aruba is a small island and there are traffic jams only at specific hours in the day. “Sometimes I get stuck in traffic and try to rush myself to deliver the products in the time slot and at times I find myself in places that I barely recognize and discover new locations.”  “The part I enjoy is the communication with the clients. Building a relationship with the client and vice versa provides a smoother transition of service but also provides the comfort and safe feeling for the client.”  Ghislaine says the service often calls for more than the delivery of contraceptive orders, as clients may have questions or need support about their health.  Personal and convenient healthcare  Damara is a data analyst and a member of the Sustainable Development Goals Commission. She started using FPA contraceptive delivery service a year ago.   “It definitely has made my life much easier, especially when I have a busy schedule. With the delivery service I simply order my products through the online store and choose the date and time that is most convenient for me”, she says.  Damara values the personal service and the convenience of paying by card and choosing a preferred delivery time. “I love this service because sometimes I place an order a few days before and the employees at FPA call to confirm the order the day of the delivery, which is great because it is like a personal reminder! The best part is that they also have a portable ATM machine. I get my products, guidance and have it delivered to my location, what more can you ask for?”  FPA’s bespoke healthcare delivery has seen a successful growth since it started, with an increase of 115% during 2019 and 170% in 2020. “There has been an immense increase in the service in 2020 due to the pandemic. We already had the service in place, so we just had to fill in the gaps; for example, providing more hours and dates for clients to make use of the service”, says Ghislaine.  Hilyann, a journalist, is another regular user of the online store. “Shopping on the FPA online store makes me feel very in control and empowered. I hope that more people of all ages take advantage of this service. I hear far too often that people say they don’t have time, nobody has actually, but FPA is there for you. Take control of your sexual and reproductive health, empower yourself, be the boss of your time and your body.”   

Volunteer
story

| 19 May 2021

"I changed first...so can other men"

"One day, when I returned from work, Ms. Glenda and Mr. Martin from Pro-Familia were at my house. I heard what the volunteering was about, regarding the education of the men in the community, how to teach how to stop machismo, to be less violent, how to give the talks and visit the clients. They also talked about the contraceptive methods, medicines and many things that would change people's lives. The proposal seemed important to me and I accepted, since I like to work for my people," recalls José.  In 2008, the Asociación Demográfica Salvadoreña (Pro-Familia) developed a project focusing on sexual and reproductive health and the active participation of men in rural areas. It concentrated specifically on the integration of male participation in sexual and reproductive healthcare. Since 2014, the project has been integrated into the Community-Based Programme as part of the provision of healthcare for rural men.  "When I gave the talks on masculinities, they questioned me: 'Why can't you scream at home, if you're the man?' Or 'who do you think you are to say those things?', questions that I also asked myself once", says José. "Thanks to the training I have had and the support of the Pro-Familia staff, I have managed to learn and clarify my doubts. I take care of my own health, I share the responsibilities at home, I take care of my two-year-old son – before volunteering, I thought it was a woman’s job, I didn't do that."  Ensuring access to information and contraception   Educational activities in sexual and reproductive health remain a challenge, but Pro-Familia is committed to delivering their strategy. The role of the health promoter is to advocate – with other men – the use of contraception, counselling couples, and providing supplies (especially condoms) and medicines.   "I like the communication I have with the Pro-Familia staff, and the training reinforcements – they should keep it that way, because it's the way to learn and do things better in the community," he says.  "The change begins with oneself and then transmits it to others. I gather men in talks, make visits to their homes, give guidance on prevention of sexually- transmitted infections, on family planning, and how not to be violent", says José. "Older adult men are more difficult to change."  Increasing contraceptive use among men   José has seen the positive change among men in his community and those small achievements encourage him to keep going. "When men ask me about violence and condom use, I feel encouraged. For example: a co-worker uses a condom and confidently tells me that he does it because he learned from the talks he received, that motivates me to continue guiding towards new masculinities."  The Community-Based Program has a special fund for clients who are referred by promoters for a voluntary surgical contraception (VSC) procedure, so the service is free of charge for clients. In this regard, José is aware that there is still work to be done: "The issue of vasectomy is difficult with men in the community, the challenges continue."  "In the community, young people 'get to live together' [marital union] at an early age. Maybe I cannot change that, but I can help them to be better people, to respect each other. Just as I changed, so can other men," says José. 

Volunteer
story

| 26 May 2022

"I changed first...so can other men"

"One day, when I returned from work, Ms. Glenda and Mr. Martin from Pro-Familia were at my house. I heard what the volunteering was about, regarding the education of the men in the community, how to teach how to stop machismo, to be less violent, how to give the talks and visit the clients. They also talked about the contraceptive methods, medicines and many things that would change people's lives. The proposal seemed important to me and I accepted, since I like to work for my people," recalls José.  In 2008, the Asociación Demográfica Salvadoreña (Pro-Familia) developed a project focusing on sexual and reproductive health and the active participation of men in rural areas. It concentrated specifically on the integration of male participation in sexual and reproductive healthcare. Since 2014, the project has been integrated into the Community-Based Programme as part of the provision of healthcare for rural men.  "When I gave the talks on masculinities, they questioned me: 'Why can't you scream at home, if you're the man?' Or 'who do you think you are to say those things?', questions that I also asked myself once", says José. "Thanks to the training I have had and the support of the Pro-Familia staff, I have managed to learn and clarify my doubts. I take care of my own health, I share the responsibilities at home, I take care of my two-year-old son – before volunteering, I thought it was a woman’s job, I didn't do that."  Ensuring access to information and contraception   Educational activities in sexual and reproductive health remain a challenge, but Pro-Familia is committed to delivering their strategy. The role of the health promoter is to advocate – with other men – the use of contraception, counselling couples, and providing supplies (especially condoms) and medicines.   "I like the communication I have with the Pro-Familia staff, and the training reinforcements – they should keep it that way, because it's the way to learn and do things better in the community," he says.  "The change begins with oneself and then transmits it to others. I gather men in talks, make visits to their homes, give guidance on prevention of sexually- transmitted infections, on family planning, and how not to be violent", says José. "Older adult men are more difficult to change."  Increasing contraceptive use among men   José has seen the positive change among men in his community and those small achievements encourage him to keep going. "When men ask me about violence and condom use, I feel encouraged. For example: a co-worker uses a condom and confidently tells me that he does it because he learned from the talks he received, that motivates me to continue guiding towards new masculinities."  The Community-Based Program has a special fund for clients who are referred by promoters for a voluntary surgical contraception (VSC) procedure, so the service is free of charge for clients. In this regard, José is aware that there is still work to be done: "The issue of vasectomy is difficult with men in the community, the challenges continue."  "In the community, young people 'get to live together' [marital union] at an early age. Maybe I cannot change that, but I can help them to be better people, to respect each other. Just as I changed, so can other men," says José. 

Volunteer
story

| 19 May 2021

Talking about contraceptive choice on the soccer field

"I decided to become a volunteer at Pro-Familia when I heard a talk the staff were giving at the Acajutla City Hall, where they explained what they were doing in the communities with the program, and they invited us to be part of the volunteer service. I liked what I could do with the men in the community. It’s been two-and-a-half years." Juan Martinez Leon is a volunteer with the Asociación Demográfica Salvadoreña (ADS/Pro-Familia) community-based programme. Juan’s remit is broad, working mainly with men to provide information on contraceptive methods and counselling to individuals and couples. He also provides contraceptive methods including the Pill, injectables and, especially, condoms. For some hormonal contraceptive methods, Juan refers his clients to Pro-Familia clinics or other public health facilities. Putting community first "I like to work for my community, despite the difficulties, and I help in four more communities for them to have the [contraceptive] methods and medicines, because they come to get me," says Juan. "I give talks on the soccer field in front of my house or I have meetings at my house. My children help me invite men to come and they also learn and admire the work." Juan visits clients at home and organizes talks – mainly with other men – to promote the importance of contraceptive use, and women and children's health. The importance of men’s health and their family group is a key element in Juan's role as a health promoter. “I like providing family planning counselling, because sometimes men don't like women using anything to prevent pregnancy. When I talk with the men of my community, people's lives change and you see the difference: you no longer see the domination over women, they let women plan, and [the woman] no longer requests the method secretly – although there are still some women who hide from their husbands. That's why we have to continue working on counselling, that's what awakens them." Changing behaviour and attitudes Juan runs informative talks on reproductive health and the prevention of STIs and HIV. "In some talks, some men have come out angry and questioned me. Who am I to tell those things? ‘Someone who has learned and who respects people's rights,’ I tell them. Now men come to ask for condoms, and even my wife confidently gives the condoms to them. She also supports me." Some men thank Juan for having "awakened their minds", and encouraged them to change to respect women and to help at home. “I think I help my community a lot. You wake them up. I like what I do, I like to help. Before there was no promoter and they had women submerged. Little by little that is changing, but only by talking to men is it achieved. I want to continue learning about sexual and reproductive health issues, it never ends. I would like to continue in training as we used to before the pandemic, and for Pro-Familia to come more often. Until God tells me, I feel that it is my obligation to attend to men or whoever seeks me to help them. That's what I'm for.”

Volunteer
story

| 26 May 2022

Talking about contraceptive choice on the soccer field

"I decided to become a volunteer at Pro-Familia when I heard a talk the staff were giving at the Acajutla City Hall, where they explained what they were doing in the communities with the program, and they invited us to be part of the volunteer service. I liked what I could do with the men in the community. It’s been two-and-a-half years." Juan Martinez Leon is a volunteer with the Asociación Demográfica Salvadoreña (ADS/Pro-Familia) community-based programme. Juan’s remit is broad, working mainly with men to provide information on contraceptive methods and counselling to individuals and couples. He also provides contraceptive methods including the Pill, injectables and, especially, condoms. For some hormonal contraceptive methods, Juan refers his clients to Pro-Familia clinics or other public health facilities. Putting community first "I like to work for my community, despite the difficulties, and I help in four more communities for them to have the [contraceptive] methods and medicines, because they come to get me," says Juan. "I give talks on the soccer field in front of my house or I have meetings at my house. My children help me invite men to come and they also learn and admire the work." Juan visits clients at home and organizes talks – mainly with other men – to promote the importance of contraceptive use, and women and children's health. The importance of men’s health and their family group is a key element in Juan's role as a health promoter. “I like providing family planning counselling, because sometimes men don't like women using anything to prevent pregnancy. When I talk with the men of my community, people's lives change and you see the difference: you no longer see the domination over women, they let women plan, and [the woman] no longer requests the method secretly – although there are still some women who hide from their husbands. That's why we have to continue working on counselling, that's what awakens them." Changing behaviour and attitudes Juan runs informative talks on reproductive health and the prevention of STIs and HIV. "In some talks, some men have come out angry and questioned me. Who am I to tell those things? ‘Someone who has learned and who respects people's rights,’ I tell them. Now men come to ask for condoms, and even my wife confidently gives the condoms to them. She also supports me." Some men thank Juan for having "awakened their minds", and encouraged them to change to respect women and to help at home. “I think I help my community a lot. You wake them up. I like what I do, I like to help. Before there was no promoter and they had women submerged. Little by little that is changing, but only by talking to men is it achieved. I want to continue learning about sexual and reproductive health issues, it never ends. I would like to continue in training as we used to before the pandemic, and for Pro-Familia to come more often. Until God tells me, I feel that it is my obligation to attend to men or whoever seeks me to help them. That's what I'm for.”

Volunteer
story

| 19 May 2021

"I am for my community"

"I started as a Pro-Family Health Promoter 30 years ago. I received a visit from Pro-Familia staff on several occasions and I was very interested in what I could do to help in my community as a volunteer, so I accepted. I was trained in sexual and reproductive health issues, and in the technique of injecting [contraceptives]", says Juana Margoth.  Since 1974, the Asociación Demográfica Salvadoreña (ADS/Pro-Familia), has been providing sexual and reproductive healthcare to marginalized communities in rural and peri-urban areas. Through their Pro-Family Health Promoter and community-based programme, the Pro-Familia teams provide information and contraceptive care and supplies to vulnerable populations. Today, the programme has around 900 health promoters throughout El Salvador.  Building relationships and trust   Juana Margoth is one of these health promoters who provides care across four local villages in Hacienda El Edén, in Sonsonate, where the Ministry of Health does not have a presence.   "I like that women know that I am here to help them, also to give advice and understand each person's problem; [to help them] to plan their family, and I like the fact that they want to do it with me," she says.  She receives a quarterly supply of contraceptives that she distributes at low prices to the women in her community.  "I make visits in the communities to the clients I already have, to see if they are okay with the [contraceptive] method, and to receive new clients. Sometimes even the same clients tell me that there is someone who needs a visit. I like that they look to me to help them – I give confidence to the clients, to their partners too. I have clients since two, five or six years ago. There is a lot of need, so I am here, until God wants it." Providing contraceptive advice Juana Margoth also highlights the importance of guiding women and men, providing counselling to clients so that they understand the different methods and contraception, and how to use it: "In other places they only give the contraceptive methods to women and do not explain [on its use]." Veronica has been a regular client of Juana Margoth’s for eight years, receiving counselling and contraceptives. "Margoth has changed our life, mine and my family’s, I have been planning with her for eight years, she is kind and always has the method I use. When I have doubts, I ask her with confidence, without shame, and I can go to her house at any time, she is always there. I don't like going to the health unit, because it costs a lot of money, and sometimes they don't have contraceptives; nowadays, with the pandemic, we have Margoth close and she never stopped treating me, it is very helpful in our community."  Responding to humanitarian disasters   As well as the community-based programme, Pro-Familia supports the network of volunteer promoter's humanitarian crises, such as natural disasters. Pro-Familia conducts a survey of needs and responds with support for reconstruction, healthcare, and food security.  "I have a lot to thank Pro-Familia for. I have learned and continue to learn with them, they are always there when I need to know something, when I run out of contraceptives and without medications [for the program]; I am also grateful because I have my prefabricated house thanks to Pro-Familia who helped me when the earthquake of 2001 happened, several years ago."

Volunteer
story

| 26 May 2022

"I am for my community"

"I started as a Pro-Family Health Promoter 30 years ago. I received a visit from Pro-Familia staff on several occasions and I was very interested in what I could do to help in my community as a volunteer, so I accepted. I was trained in sexual and reproductive health issues, and in the technique of injecting [contraceptives]", says Juana Margoth.  Since 1974, the Asociación Demográfica Salvadoreña (ADS/Pro-Familia), has been providing sexual and reproductive healthcare to marginalized communities in rural and peri-urban areas. Through their Pro-Family Health Promoter and community-based programme, the Pro-Familia teams provide information and contraceptive care and supplies to vulnerable populations. Today, the programme has around 900 health promoters throughout El Salvador.  Building relationships and trust   Juana Margoth is one of these health promoters who provides care across four local villages in Hacienda El Edén, in Sonsonate, where the Ministry of Health does not have a presence.   "I like that women know that I am here to help them, also to give advice and understand each person's problem; [to help them] to plan their family, and I like the fact that they want to do it with me," she says.  She receives a quarterly supply of contraceptives that she distributes at low prices to the women in her community.  "I make visits in the communities to the clients I already have, to see if they are okay with the [contraceptive] method, and to receive new clients. Sometimes even the same clients tell me that there is someone who needs a visit. I like that they look to me to help them – I give confidence to the clients, to their partners too. I have clients since two, five or six years ago. There is a lot of need, so I am here, until God wants it." Providing contraceptive advice Juana Margoth also highlights the importance of guiding women and men, providing counselling to clients so that they understand the different methods and contraception, and how to use it: "In other places they only give the contraceptive methods to women and do not explain [on its use]." Veronica has been a regular client of Juana Margoth’s for eight years, receiving counselling and contraceptives. "Margoth has changed our life, mine and my family’s, I have been planning with her for eight years, she is kind and always has the method I use. When I have doubts, I ask her with confidence, without shame, and I can go to her house at any time, she is always there. I don't like going to the health unit, because it costs a lot of money, and sometimes they don't have contraceptives; nowadays, with the pandemic, we have Margoth close and she never stopped treating me, it is very helpful in our community."  Responding to humanitarian disasters   As well as the community-based programme, Pro-Familia supports the network of volunteer promoter's humanitarian crises, such as natural disasters. Pro-Familia conducts a survey of needs and responds with support for reconstruction, healthcare, and food security.  "I have a lot to thank Pro-Familia for. I have learned and continue to learn with them, they are always there when I need to know something, when I run out of contraceptives and without medications [for the program]; I am also grateful because I have my prefabricated house thanks to Pro-Familia who helped me when the earthquake of 2001 happened, several years ago."

Blanca talks to a client
story

| 19 May 2021

"I can always do something to help others"

When Blanca started volunteering with the Asociación Demográfica Salvadoreña’s (ADS/Pro-Familia), she committed to her new role with enthusiasm. Her thoughts were about how the women of La Loma village would benefit from being able to access contraceptive methods close to home.  "Many women walk up to an hour-and-a-half from the villages of the Guazapa Hill to receive family planning services, or to receive counselling," 61-year-old Blanca Edith Mendoza Ramos says proudly.   Her house is a cosy and special place for the clients. "I have been a Pro-Familia volunteer for 29 years. When I started, I had already had my five children. I was busy at home, but when the Pro-Familia staff explained to me about working in my community, I trusted it was important to support women. I have learned a lot and I continue to do so. I have received training that helps me to be a better person, to have knowledge and to give good advice; I have received many people from Pro-Familia in these years, and always with great responsibility", she says.  A confidential and cosy place    To ensure her clients’ confidentiality, Blanca has created a private room with a sofa where she provides counselling and administers injectable contraceptive methods. By creating a private space, Blanca has built up trust in the community and women prefer to go to her for contraception and advice.  "I am proud to help in my community. I visit clients to see if they have any side effects, when they do not come to receive their method, to know if they are well, or to recruit new clients who are encouraged to use a family planning method, because their families are already very large." Although the public health facility provides free healthcare, women from other local communities prefer to see Blanca because she is closer and offers confidential personalized care.   "The Health Unit is not close, so women prefer to plan with me. They come with confidence to apply their method. On their first visit, I ask them a few questions about their health, and if everything is okay, they plan with me. I think that family planning is important for the spacing of the children and that it is not only the use of methods, but also communication with the couple", reflects Blanca. 

Blanca talks to a client
story

| 26 May 2022

"I can always do something to help others"

When Blanca started volunteering with the Asociación Demográfica Salvadoreña’s (ADS/Pro-Familia), she committed to her new role with enthusiasm. Her thoughts were about how the women of La Loma village would benefit from being able to access contraceptive methods close to home.  "Many women walk up to an hour-and-a-half from the villages of the Guazapa Hill to receive family planning services, or to receive counselling," 61-year-old Blanca Edith Mendoza Ramos says proudly.   Her house is a cosy and special place for the clients. "I have been a Pro-Familia volunteer for 29 years. When I started, I had already had my five children. I was busy at home, but when the Pro-Familia staff explained to me about working in my community, I trusted it was important to support women. I have learned a lot and I continue to do so. I have received training that helps me to be a better person, to have knowledge and to give good advice; I have received many people from Pro-Familia in these years, and always with great responsibility", she says.  A confidential and cosy place    To ensure her clients’ confidentiality, Blanca has created a private room with a sofa where she provides counselling and administers injectable contraceptive methods. By creating a private space, Blanca has built up trust in the community and women prefer to go to her for contraception and advice.  "I am proud to help in my community. I visit clients to see if they have any side effects, when they do not come to receive their method, to know if they are well, or to recruit new clients who are encouraged to use a family planning method, because their families are already very large." Although the public health facility provides free healthcare, women from other local communities prefer to see Blanca because she is closer and offers confidential personalized care.   "The Health Unit is not close, so women prefer to plan with me. They come with confidence to apply their method. On their first visit, I ask them a few questions about their health, and if everything is okay, they plan with me. I think that family planning is important for the spacing of the children and that it is not only the use of methods, but also communication with the couple", reflects Blanca.