Set up in 1957, the Mauritius Family Planning & Welfare Association (MFPWA) was one of the earliest organizations in Africa focusing on family planning issues. As the nation struggled to find a way to address pressing population issues, a group of advocates formed MFPWA and started to provide services directly to women.
Today, the organization caters to the sexual and reproductive health (SRH) needs of the whole community. It also has particular strands of activity relating to specific groups including sexually abused children, elderly people and marginalized populations on Rodrigues Island.
Through 2 permanent facilities, and a private sector-supported daycare centre, MFPWA’s 15 staff and 550 volunteers deliver services including family planning, the prevention and management of HIV and AIDS through voluntary counselling and testing (VCT), support for people living with HIV/AIDS, infertility management, antenatal and post-natal care, post-abortion care, the diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and screening for cancers of the reproductive systems. The Member Association also operates peer-educator-led outreach programmes targeting hotels, export processing zones and popular tourist hot spots.
MFPWA has played a critical role in promoting the integration of family life education into the national school curriculum and its powerful, informed advocacy has been influential in shaping government legislation on SRH, particularly in relation to HIV and AIDS. MFPWA partners with and advises government departments which address health, quality of life, women’s rights, child development, family welfare, social security and youth and sports.
MFPWA works with a large number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) including the Mauritius Council of Social Service, the Mauritius Alliance of Women, PILS (People living with AIDS), SOS Pauvrete, the National Women’s Council, the Senior Citizen Council and Link. Donors include the Indian Ocean Commission and UNFPA.