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Camilo Jimenez

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Latest news from across the federation and our partners

Latest press releases

A selection of stories from across the Federation

Alvaro with YAM Ghana

Ghana

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Ghana: From The Community Level, To The Highest Political Offices, IPPF Director General Advocates For SRHR For All

Accra, February 14, 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) Director General, Dr. Alvaro Bermejo, concluded a three-day visit to Ghana this week hosted by IPPF member association Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG). High-level meetings with authorities and partners alongside community-level engagements underscored the two organizations’ commitment to expanding access to quality sexual and reproductive healthcare. 
Alvaro with YAM Ghana
media center

| 15 February 2024

Ghana: From The Community Level, To The Highest Political Offices, IPPF Director General Advocates For SRHR For All

Accra, February 14, 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) Director General, Dr. Alvaro Bermejo, concluded a three-day visit to Ghana this week hosted by IPPF member association Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG). High-level meetings with authorities and partners alongside community-level engagements underscored the two organizations’ commitment to expanding access to quality sexual and reproductive healthcare.  “This mission has reaffirmed the robust collaboration between IPPF and PPAG toward our shared vision of universal sexual and reproductive health and rights in Ghana,” said Dr. Bermejo. “I want to thank PPAG and all partners for their efforts and look forward to enhanced global-to-local coordination that ensures information and services reach all who need them.”  Founded in 1967, PPAG was IPPF’s first West African member association. Today it operates over 10 clinics and education centers delivering counseling, contraceptives, maternal care, HIV/AIDS testing, and more. The visit aimed to assess how the Federation could better support its Member Association while identifying persisting barriers around access to SRHR and strengthening joint advocacy and programming with local CSOs and governmental actors.  Upon his arrival, Dr. Bermejo was welcomed by PPAG leadership, staff, and youth advocates. “Your visit represents our collective renewed passions for influencing policy, delivering services, and progressing sexual and reproductive health rights to ensure universal quality of life,” said PPAG Executive Director Abena Adebuah Amoah, capturing a spirit of reinvigorated collaboration set from the outset.  Highlights from the mission included visiting PPAG’s new self-funded clinic under construction in Cape Coast as a symbol of the association’s increasing self-sustainability and ability to reach underserved communities independently. “The urgency and innovation PPAG shows to serve more people epitomize the federation’s bold vision for the future,” Dr. Bermejo remarked.  During his visit, the Director General engaged with members of the Youth Action Movement – PPAG youth arm -  to deepen his understanding of youth perspectives on barriers and solutions to comprehensive sexual health education and services. He was particularly moved by personal stories from youth volunteers and beneficiaries, including teen mothers, early pregnancy survivors, individuals facing disability and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) challenges, as well as those experiencing exclusion due to their LGBTIQ+ identity. The DG assured full support for developing their capacities as informed advocates and programme beneficiaries, highlighting the importance of empathy and tailored support in addressing these critical issues.  Meetings with partners like UNFPA and the Ministry of Health focused on strengthening coordination across the sexual and reproductive health landscape in Ghana. The Director General also met PPAG local partners (CSOs, and embassies) to discuss national priorities and how to reinforce IPPF and PPAG’s role in advancing universal health access and rights-based approaches.  “From the community level to the highest political offices, this visit revealed the deep roots and trust established between PPAG and partners over decades of collaboration to uphold health and human rights,” Dr. Bermejo concluded. “IPPF has supported PPAG since the beginning, and we reaffirm our commitment to advancing quality sexual and reproductive healthcare across Ghana long into the future.”   

Alvaro with YAM Ghana
media_center

| 27 February 2024

Ghana: From The Community Level, To The Highest Political Offices, IPPF Director General Advocates For SRHR For All

Accra, February 14, 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) Director General, Dr. Alvaro Bermejo, concluded a three-day visit to Ghana this week hosted by IPPF member association Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG). High-level meetings with authorities and partners alongside community-level engagements underscored the two organizations’ commitment to expanding access to quality sexual and reproductive healthcare.  “This mission has reaffirmed the robust collaboration between IPPF and PPAG toward our shared vision of universal sexual and reproductive health and rights in Ghana,” said Dr. Bermejo. “I want to thank PPAG and all partners for their efforts and look forward to enhanced global-to-local coordination that ensures information and services reach all who need them.”  Founded in 1967, PPAG was IPPF’s first West African member association. Today it operates over 10 clinics and education centers delivering counseling, contraceptives, maternal care, HIV/AIDS testing, and more. The visit aimed to assess how the Federation could better support its Member Association while identifying persisting barriers around access to SRHR and strengthening joint advocacy and programming with local CSOs and governmental actors.  Upon his arrival, Dr. Bermejo was welcomed by PPAG leadership, staff, and youth advocates. “Your visit represents our collective renewed passions for influencing policy, delivering services, and progressing sexual and reproductive health rights to ensure universal quality of life,” said PPAG Executive Director Abena Adebuah Amoah, capturing a spirit of reinvigorated collaboration set from the outset.  Highlights from the mission included visiting PPAG’s new self-funded clinic under construction in Cape Coast as a symbol of the association’s increasing self-sustainability and ability to reach underserved communities independently. “The urgency and innovation PPAG shows to serve more people epitomize the federation’s bold vision for the future,” Dr. Bermejo remarked.  During his visit, the Director General engaged with members of the Youth Action Movement – PPAG youth arm -  to deepen his understanding of youth perspectives on barriers and solutions to comprehensive sexual health education and services. He was particularly moved by personal stories from youth volunteers and beneficiaries, including teen mothers, early pregnancy survivors, individuals facing disability and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) challenges, as well as those experiencing exclusion due to their LGBTIQ+ identity. The DG assured full support for developing their capacities as informed advocates and programme beneficiaries, highlighting the importance of empathy and tailored support in addressing these critical issues.  Meetings with partners like UNFPA and the Ministry of Health focused on strengthening coordination across the sexual and reproductive health landscape in Ghana. The Director General also met PPAG local partners (CSOs, and embassies) to discuss national priorities and how to reinforce IPPF and PPAG’s role in advancing universal health access and rights-based approaches.  “From the community level to the highest political offices, this visit revealed the deep roots and trust established between PPAG and partners over decades of collaboration to uphold health and human rights,” Dr. Bermejo concluded. “IPPF has supported PPAG since the beginning, and we reaffirm our commitment to advancing quality sexual and reproductive healthcare across Ghana long into the future.”   

Alvaro in Cote d'Ivoire
media center

| 13 February 2024

Advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights in Côte d’Ivoire: highlights from the IPPF Director General’s visit

Abidjan, February 13, 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) Director General, Dr. Alvaro Bermejo, concluded a four-day visit to Côte d’Ivoire last week. Hosted by IPPF member association « Association Ivoirienne pour le Bien-Être Familial (AIBEF) », Dr. Bermejo met with key stakeholders to discuss priorities and challenges related to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in the country.  “I want to thank the Ivorian government for its efforts and partnership with AIBEF over the years to expand access to quality sexual and reproductive healthcare information and services. During my meetings, I emphasized IPPF’s commitment to continue investing and supporting the country’s SRHR efforts. An improved legal framework would facilitate our work and allow us to achieve greater impact,” said Dr. Bermejo.  Highlights from the visit included meetings with the Minister of Health, Dr. Pierre Dimba, the President of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council, Dr. Eugène Aka Aouélé, and the Chief of Staff of the Minister of Women, Family and Children, Mr. Moussa Diarrassouba. Discussions focused on ongoing collaboration and future opportunities to strengthen SRHR policy, programming and awareness in Côte d’Ivoire.  Dr. Bermejo also met with key partners including UNFPA, PSI, MSI, IPAS, PATHFINDER and local NGOs supporting AIBEF’s work on the ground. Partners highlighted impactful partnerships on various SRHR issues and exploring ways to enhance collaboration moving forward. The visit also included a meeting with UNAIDS Country Office to identify opportunities for closer collaboration between HIV and family planning services.  At the community level, Dr. Bermejo visited “Espace Confiance”, an AIBEF-supported clinic providing SRHR services to key populations, including members of the LGBTQ+ community, transgender people, and sex workers. He spoke directly with clients to better understand the services they access and persistent barriers faced. Finally, recognizing the importance of leaving no one behind, the Director General visited the National Ivorian Institute for the Promotion of the Blind (INIPA) which recently received support from AIBEF to translate a comprehensive sexuality education manual into braille so visually impaired young people can access this critical information.  “This visit allowed for critical high-level discussions about how we can work together to fully meet the sexual and reproductive health needs of all people in Côte d’Ivoire. It also revealed grassroots perspectives to ensure our programmes address barriers and gaps experienced by key populations and marginalized groups on a daily basis as we advance universal health coverage,” concluded Dr. Bermejo.   

Alvaro in Cote d'Ivoire
media_center

| 27 February 2024

Advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights in Côte d’Ivoire: highlights from the IPPF Director General’s visit

Abidjan, February 13, 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) Director General, Dr. Alvaro Bermejo, concluded a four-day visit to Côte d’Ivoire last week. Hosted by IPPF member association « Association Ivoirienne pour le Bien-Être Familial (AIBEF) », Dr. Bermejo met with key stakeholders to discuss priorities and challenges related to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in the country.  “I want to thank the Ivorian government for its efforts and partnership with AIBEF over the years to expand access to quality sexual and reproductive healthcare information and services. During my meetings, I emphasized IPPF’s commitment to continue investing and supporting the country’s SRHR efforts. An improved legal framework would facilitate our work and allow us to achieve greater impact,” said Dr. Bermejo.  Highlights from the visit included meetings with the Minister of Health, Dr. Pierre Dimba, the President of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council, Dr. Eugène Aka Aouélé, and the Chief of Staff of the Minister of Women, Family and Children, Mr. Moussa Diarrassouba. Discussions focused on ongoing collaboration and future opportunities to strengthen SRHR policy, programming and awareness in Côte d’Ivoire.  Dr. Bermejo also met with key partners including UNFPA, PSI, MSI, IPAS, PATHFINDER and local NGOs supporting AIBEF’s work on the ground. Partners highlighted impactful partnerships on various SRHR issues and exploring ways to enhance collaboration moving forward. The visit also included a meeting with UNAIDS Country Office to identify opportunities for closer collaboration between HIV and family planning services.  At the community level, Dr. Bermejo visited “Espace Confiance”, an AIBEF-supported clinic providing SRHR services to key populations, including members of the LGBTQ+ community, transgender people, and sex workers. He spoke directly with clients to better understand the services they access and persistent barriers faced. Finally, recognizing the importance of leaving no one behind, the Director General visited the National Ivorian Institute for the Promotion of the Blind (INIPA) which recently received support from AIBEF to translate a comprehensive sexuality education manual into braille so visually impaired young people can access this critical information.  “This visit allowed for critical high-level discussions about how we can work together to fully meet the sexual and reproductive health needs of all people in Côte d’Ivoire. It also revealed grassroots perspectives to ensure our programmes address barriers and gaps experienced by key populations and marginalized groups on a daily basis as we advance universal health coverage,” concluded Dr. Bermejo.   

UGANDA LGBTQ steve kabuye
media center

| 08 January 2024

Standing United Against Hate: IPPF Africa Region Condemns Brutal Attack on Ugandan LGBTQ+ Activist

Nairobi, Kenya, 08 January 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) condemns in the strongest terms the brutal knife attack on Ugandan LGBTQ+ activist Steven Kabuye. This shocking act of violence is an affront to basic human rights and dignity. “What happened to Steven is unacceptable and inexcusable,” said Marie-Evelyne PETRUS-BARRY, IPPF Africa Regional Director. “No one should face threats, violence or persecution because of who they are or who they love. Steven was exercising his basic right to live openly and authentically - a right that belongs to everyone.” Kabuye was stabbed multiple times by unknown assailants and left for dead on his way to work on January 3rd, 2023. This comes after Kabuye reported receiving death threats related to his LGBTQ+ advocacy work. Sadly, this brutal attack reflects a broader climate of intolerance and hostility towards LGBTQ+ people in Uganda. Just last year, Uganda instituted one of the world’s most oppressive anti-LGBTQ+ laws, criminalizing same-sex relations and “aggravated homosexuality.” “Such regressive legislation breeds discrimination and violence,” said Marie-Evelyne PETRUS-BARRY. “We call on the Ugandan authorities to urgently investigate this attack and bring the perpetrators to justice. But more broadly, the government must reconsider laws that deny LGBTQ+ people their basic human rights and dignity - universal rights. No one deserves to live in fear because of who they are.” IPPFAR stands firmly with the LGBTQ+ community in Uganda and across Africa. All people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, deserve to live freely and safely. We believe reproductive rights and broader human rights are interlinked and universal. IPPFAR calls on civil society, faith institutions, cultural leaders and policymakers to: Unequivocally condemn violence against LGBTQ+ individuals Advocate repeal of laws criminalizing homosexuality Push for legal protections against LGBTQ+ discrimination Support health, psychosocial and security assistance for LGBTQ+ people Amplify LGBTQ+ voices and stories in national discourse “Only by embracing our shared dignity can we build a just society. There is no room for homophobia, transphobia or exclusion of any kind,” Marie-Evelyne PETRUS-BARRY concluded. IPPFAR stands ready to support efforts toward a more equal, inclusive Uganda where everyone can enjoy their rights and freedoms in full. Most urgently, our hearts remain with Steven Kabuye and the entire LGBTQ+ community in Uganda during this difficult time. Violence and dehumanization will not silence your voices or quash your spirit. Hatred cannot defeat love if we stand united for one another’s humanity. END For more on IPPFAR's statements on the Anti-Homosexuality Act in Uganda: 23 March 2023 - Uganda: IPPF Africa Region strongly urges the government not to enact the new harmful anti – LGBTIQ+ law 10 May 2023 - Uganda: IPPF Africa Region Urges President Museveni to Veto Harmful New Anti-Rights Law Targeting LGBTIQ+ Community 30 May 2023 - IPPF Africa Condemns Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act as a Violation of Human Rights And Sexual And Reproductive Rights For further information or to request an interview, please contact: - Moctar MENTA, Media Advisor - IPPF Africa Regional Office (IPPFAR) – email: [email protected] / Tel: +254 0113 896 555 ABOUT IPPF AFRICA REGION (IPPFAR) The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is one of the leading sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service delivery organization in Africa, and a leading sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) advocacy voice in the region. Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, the overarching goal of IPPFAR is to increase access to SRHR services to the most vulnerable youth, men and women in sub-Saharan Africa. Supported by thousands of volunteers, IPPFAR tackles the continent’s growing SRHR challenges through a network of Member Associations (MAs) in 40 countries. We do this by developing our MAs into efficient entities with the capacity to deliver and sustain high-quality, youth-focused, and gender-sensitive services. We work with Governments, the African Union, Regional Economic Commissions, the Pan-African Parliament, and United Nations bodies among others to expand political and financial commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights in Africa. Learn more about us on our website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and You Tube.

UGANDA LGBTQ steve kabuye
media_center

| 26 February 2024

Standing United Against Hate: IPPF Africa Region Condemns Brutal Attack on Ugandan LGBTQ+ Activist

Nairobi, Kenya, 08 January 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) condemns in the strongest terms the brutal knife attack on Ugandan LGBTQ+ activist Steven Kabuye. This shocking act of violence is an affront to basic human rights and dignity. “What happened to Steven is unacceptable and inexcusable,” said Marie-Evelyne PETRUS-BARRY, IPPF Africa Regional Director. “No one should face threats, violence or persecution because of who they are or who they love. Steven was exercising his basic right to live openly and authentically - a right that belongs to everyone.” Kabuye was stabbed multiple times by unknown assailants and left for dead on his way to work on January 3rd, 2023. This comes after Kabuye reported receiving death threats related to his LGBTQ+ advocacy work. Sadly, this brutal attack reflects a broader climate of intolerance and hostility towards LGBTQ+ people in Uganda. Just last year, Uganda instituted one of the world’s most oppressive anti-LGBTQ+ laws, criminalizing same-sex relations and “aggravated homosexuality.” “Such regressive legislation breeds discrimination and violence,” said Marie-Evelyne PETRUS-BARRY. “We call on the Ugandan authorities to urgently investigate this attack and bring the perpetrators to justice. But more broadly, the government must reconsider laws that deny LGBTQ+ people their basic human rights and dignity - universal rights. No one deserves to live in fear because of who they are.” IPPFAR stands firmly with the LGBTQ+ community in Uganda and across Africa. All people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, deserve to live freely and safely. We believe reproductive rights and broader human rights are interlinked and universal. IPPFAR calls on civil society, faith institutions, cultural leaders and policymakers to: Unequivocally condemn violence against LGBTQ+ individuals Advocate repeal of laws criminalizing homosexuality Push for legal protections against LGBTQ+ discrimination Support health, psychosocial and security assistance for LGBTQ+ people Amplify LGBTQ+ voices and stories in national discourse “Only by embracing our shared dignity can we build a just society. There is no room for homophobia, transphobia or exclusion of any kind,” Marie-Evelyne PETRUS-BARRY concluded. IPPFAR stands ready to support efforts toward a more equal, inclusive Uganda where everyone can enjoy their rights and freedoms in full. Most urgently, our hearts remain with Steven Kabuye and the entire LGBTQ+ community in Uganda during this difficult time. Violence and dehumanization will not silence your voices or quash your spirit. Hatred cannot defeat love if we stand united for one another’s humanity. END For more on IPPFAR's statements on the Anti-Homosexuality Act in Uganda: 23 March 2023 - Uganda: IPPF Africa Region strongly urges the government not to enact the new harmful anti – LGBTIQ+ law 10 May 2023 - Uganda: IPPF Africa Region Urges President Museveni to Veto Harmful New Anti-Rights Law Targeting LGBTIQ+ Community 30 May 2023 - IPPF Africa Condemns Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act as a Violation of Human Rights And Sexual And Reproductive Rights For further information or to request an interview, please contact: - Moctar MENTA, Media Advisor - IPPF Africa Regional Office (IPPFAR) – email: [email protected] / Tel: +254 0113 896 555 ABOUT IPPF AFRICA REGION (IPPFAR) The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is one of the leading sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service delivery organization in Africa, and a leading sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) advocacy voice in the region. Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, the overarching goal of IPPFAR is to increase access to SRHR services to the most vulnerable youth, men and women in sub-Saharan Africa. Supported by thousands of volunteers, IPPFAR tackles the continent’s growing SRHR challenges through a network of Member Associations (MAs) in 40 countries. We do this by developing our MAs into efficient entities with the capacity to deliver and sustain high-quality, youth-focused, and gender-sensitive services. We work with Governments, the African Union, Regional Economic Commissions, the Pan-African Parliament, and United Nations bodies among others to expand political and financial commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights in Africa. Learn more about us on our website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and You Tube.

cso
media center

| 11 December 2023

Joint Statement from Civil Society on the 75th Anniversary of the UDHR

cso
media_center

| 26 February 2024

Joint Statement from Civil Society on the 75th Anniversary of the UDHR

Zambia statement 1
media center

| 12 October 2023

IPPF Africa Expresses Concern Following instructions from Zambia’s Ministry of Health to Avoid Use of The Term “Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights”.

Nairobi, Kenya: 12 October 2023 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) notes with concern an internal memo sent by the Zambian Ministry of Health to all provincial health directors and cooperating partners dated 21 September 2023, which advises against the use of the term “sexual and reproductive health and rights” and to instead refer to “reproductive health and rights” only. The Zambian Ministry of Health’s rationale for the removal of the terms “sexual health and rights” is that “the inclusion of the words “sexual” and “rights” in the same phrase is the inclusion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Qveer (sic) rights” (MoH Zambia, 2023). This is correct, as “sexual rights are constituted by a set of entitlements related to the sexuality of all persons regardless of their gender, gender identity and/or expression, that emanate from the rights to freedom, equality, privacy, autonomy, integrity and dignity of all people” (IPPF, 2016) – and like all rights, sexual rights are interconnected, indivisible, and applicable to all.  “Removing reference to sexual health and rights has real-world implications for people, especially women, and girls, including an entrenchment of patriarchal norms and a framing of people's bodies as useful for reproductive purposes only. This has far-reaching negative implications that are demonstrated by an increase in female genital mutilation and child marriage, and forced treatments, including sterilisation, virginity examinations, and abortions. Removal of sexual rights could also lead to the subjecting of women’s access to sexual health services to external approval, for example from a husband or male relative.”, said Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry, IPPF Africa Regional Director. The inclusion of the term “sexual health and rights” protects the rights of women and girls to consent to sexual activity and treatments, and to access information that allows them to make informed decisions about their sexual health. In addition to offering equality for women in freely deciding the spacing of their children, sexual rights also protect the right to bodily autonomy and to make informed decisions about one’s body. Furthermore, sexual health and rights are closely associated with the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. Removal of these terms could negatively affect the provision of services to, and rights of people living positively and needing access to treatment and other forms of support services. Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry added that: “IPPF Africa echoes the Guttmacher-Lancet Commission report (2018), sexual health and rights are not just words, behind them are real people; especially women and girls who need to access services that aim to provide a state of complete physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being in relation to sexuality. These services are protected by sexual rights that protect all people’s rights to fulfill and express their sexuality and enjoy sexual health free from coercion.” IPPFAR reiterates that the Government of Zambia is party to several commitments in which sexual and reproductive health and rights are central – including the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, the African Charter on People’s and Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. Furthermore, as Lusaka will host the AU/UNECA ICPD+30 Africa Region Consultation in November 2023, it is critical to recall that the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) affirmed that Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights are Human Rights. If we are to achieve these commitments 30 years later, it is critical that Zambia recommits to the attainment of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.   END For further information or to request an interview, please contact: -Mahmoud GARGA, Lead Specialist - Strategic Communication, Media Relations and Digital Campaigning, IPPF Africa Regional Office (IPPFARO) – email: [email protected] / Tel: +254 704 626 920   ABOUT IPPF AFRICA REGION (IPPFAR) The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is one of the leading sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service delivery organization in Africa, and a leading sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) advocacy voice in the region. Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, the overarching goal of IPPFAR is to increase access to SRHR services to the most vulnerable youth, men and women in sub-Saharan Africa. Supported by thousands of volunteers, IPPFAR tackles the continent’s growing SRHR challenges through a network of Member Associations (MAs) in 40 countries. We do this by developing our MAs into efficient entities with the capacity to deliver and sustain high quality, youth focused and gender sensitive services. We work with Governments, the African Union, Regional Economic Commissions, the Pan-African Parliament, United Nations bodies among others to expand political and financial commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights in Africa. Learn more about us on our website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and You Tube.

Zambia statement 1
media_center

| 26 February 2024

IPPF Africa Expresses Concern Following instructions from Zambia’s Ministry of Health to Avoid Use of The Term “Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights”.

Nairobi, Kenya: 12 October 2023 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) notes with concern an internal memo sent by the Zambian Ministry of Health to all provincial health directors and cooperating partners dated 21 September 2023, which advises against the use of the term “sexual and reproductive health and rights” and to instead refer to “reproductive health and rights” only. The Zambian Ministry of Health’s rationale for the removal of the terms “sexual health and rights” is that “the inclusion of the words “sexual” and “rights” in the same phrase is the inclusion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Qveer (sic) rights” (MoH Zambia, 2023). This is correct, as “sexual rights are constituted by a set of entitlements related to the sexuality of all persons regardless of their gender, gender identity and/or expression, that emanate from the rights to freedom, equality, privacy, autonomy, integrity and dignity of all people” (IPPF, 2016) – and like all rights, sexual rights are interconnected, indivisible, and applicable to all.  “Removing reference to sexual health and rights has real-world implications for people, especially women, and girls, including an entrenchment of patriarchal norms and a framing of people's bodies as useful for reproductive purposes only. This has far-reaching negative implications that are demonstrated by an increase in female genital mutilation and child marriage, and forced treatments, including sterilisation, virginity examinations, and abortions. Removal of sexual rights could also lead to the subjecting of women’s access to sexual health services to external approval, for example from a husband or male relative.”, said Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry, IPPF Africa Regional Director. The inclusion of the term “sexual health and rights” protects the rights of women and girls to consent to sexual activity and treatments, and to access information that allows them to make informed decisions about their sexual health. In addition to offering equality for women in freely deciding the spacing of their children, sexual rights also protect the right to bodily autonomy and to make informed decisions about one’s body. Furthermore, sexual health and rights are closely associated with the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. Removal of these terms could negatively affect the provision of services to, and rights of people living positively and needing access to treatment and other forms of support services. Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry added that: “IPPF Africa echoes the Guttmacher-Lancet Commission report (2018), sexual health and rights are not just words, behind them are real people; especially women and girls who need to access services that aim to provide a state of complete physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being in relation to sexuality. These services are protected by sexual rights that protect all people’s rights to fulfill and express their sexuality and enjoy sexual health free from coercion.” IPPFAR reiterates that the Government of Zambia is party to several commitments in which sexual and reproductive health and rights are central – including the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, the African Charter on People’s and Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. Furthermore, as Lusaka will host the AU/UNECA ICPD+30 Africa Region Consultation in November 2023, it is critical to recall that the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) affirmed that Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights are Human Rights. If we are to achieve these commitments 30 years later, it is critical that Zambia recommits to the attainment of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.   END For further information or to request an interview, please contact: -Mahmoud GARGA, Lead Specialist - Strategic Communication, Media Relations and Digital Campaigning, IPPF Africa Regional Office (IPPFARO) – email: [email protected] / Tel: +254 704 626 920   ABOUT IPPF AFRICA REGION (IPPFAR) The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is one of the leading sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service delivery organization in Africa, and a leading sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) advocacy voice in the region. Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, the overarching goal of IPPFAR is to increase access to SRHR services to the most vulnerable youth, men and women in sub-Saharan Africa. Supported by thousands of volunteers, IPPFAR tackles the continent’s growing SRHR challenges through a network of Member Associations (MAs) in 40 countries. We do this by developing our MAs into efficient entities with the capacity to deliver and sustain high quality, youth focused and gender sensitive services. We work with Governments, the African Union, Regional Economic Commissions, the Pan-African Parliament, United Nations bodies among others to expand political and financial commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights in Africa. Learn more about us on our website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and You Tube.

common senses cover
media center

| 07 September 2023

IPPFAR Launches 'Common Senses' Campaign to Challenge Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Stereotypes in Sub-Saharan Africa

Nairobi, Kenya, 10th September 2023 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation African Region (IPPFAR) proudly presents 'Common Senses', a digital campaign for Sub-Saharan African youths, aiming to challenge stereotypes about Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), gender, and people with disabilities, in English, French, and Portuguese. Let’s change the narrative! Difference in all of its forms is not understood and often feared. What if, instead of focusing on differences, we focus on what we have in common? To raise awareness and sensitize adolescents and youth on stereotypes related to SRHR and gender, the campaign will stimulate people to experience empathy in a way they have never been able to before. The movement, grounded in common sense and human values, aims to break common misconceptions, inviting the audience to think, discuss, and debunk these myths. It highlights stereotypes rooted in social constructs like culture, education, dogmas, society, educators, and family values. “At IPPF we believe lasting change comes through understanding one another’s perspectives. #CommonSenses seeks to unite us through our common humanity rather than divide us by our differences,” said IPPF Africa Regional Director Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry at the campaign launch. Using the power of empathy and shared human experiences, Common Senses aims to transform topics once seen as taboo into an open, judgement-free conversation. It aims at: Celebrating the common senses that humanise and bond us beyond our differences, through the values of Ubuntu. Changing the narrative around Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Expression, and roles by creating and supporting a new narrative towards what is just, honest, and undeniably human. Empowering the audience by informing and educating them on simple terms relatable to women & young girls, persons with disabilities, and LGBTIQ+ Community. Campaign Overview Rooted in the Ubuntu philosophy, this campaign invites African youths to embrace the common senses and fundamental principles that unite us all: freedom, passion, togetherness, and humanity. Take the challenge, challenge your #CommonSenses! We’re all just #UndeniablyHuman. Our "Common Senses" campaign unfolds across six major social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube and Linkedin. Common Senses campaign has been launched since the 1st of September 2023 and will run for 3 months until November 2023. To mark the inception of the campaign, we're excited to unveil a compelling launching video that encapsulates the essence of "Common Senses." This video sets the tone for the transformative journey ahead, inviting all African youths to join hands in reshaping narratives and breaking stereotypes. At the heart of the campaign will be a series of three impactful video series showing the world through the eyes of marginalized groups, including LGBTQI+ and transgender individuals, people with disabilities, and victims of sexual harassment. By evoking empathy, these stories will encourage audiences to reconsider preconceived notions around topics like gender identity, sexual orientation, and women’s rights. IPPF is inviting people across Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond to join Common Senses by opening their eyes, ears and minds. “This is not about pointing fingers or assigning blame. It is about realizing we have more in common than we think. Let’s just approach each other with empathy first,” Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry stated. CONTEXT BEHIND THE MAKING OF ‘COMMON SENSES’ Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) is a human rights concept applied to sexuality and reproduction, encompassing a range of fundamental human rights, such as the right to life, health, privacy, education, and freedom from discrimination. These principles ensure that everyone is entitled to accessible reproductive healthcare, information, and facilities without discrimination. Despite these rights, gender stereotypes often obstruct access to SRHR, especially for women, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ individuals ('key populations'). These stereotypes persist in many Sub-Saharan countries, underlining the need for a shift in mindset and youth engagement to reshape narratives regarding SRHR and gender. Figures of Women & Young Girls Facing Stereotypes:  Gender inequality and stereotypes deny women access to reproductive healthcare. With 31% of African females aged 20-24 married before 18, addressing adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights is vital.[1] A 2021 UNFPA study revealed that approximately 49 million sexually active women in East and Southern Africa lack access to modern contraception and family planning services, resulting in adolescent pregnancy rates in the region being twice the global average, at 92 births per 1,000 girls. 37% of ever-partnered women above the age of 15 in low and middle-income countries in the African region had experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.[2] Figures of Persons with Disabilities Facing Stereotypes: Persons with disabilities face a myriad of demand and supply-side barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health care in Sub-Saharan Africa because of systemic discrimination and denial of their needs. Figures of LGBTIQ+ Community Facing Stereotypes: According to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association (ILGA), 33 of the 54 African states recognised by the UN have laws that criminalise same-sex sexual acts. In most of the 21 other African countries, homosexuality is not criminalised in legislation. However, in some, provisions penalising ‘acts against nature’, ‘indecency’, or ‘debauchery’ are used against LGBTIQ persons. TESTIMONIALS Women & Young Girls “Our church doctrine is that girls must marry when they are between 12- and 16-years-old to make sure they do not sin by having sexual relations outside marriage. As soon as a girl reaches puberty any man in the church can claim her for a wife.”- women, South Sudan, 2015[3]. Persons with Disabilities “Most of the ladies like to tease me and they say, “Come, I want to marry you”. Then they say, “If I marry you, how are you going to satisfy me sex-wise?” I said, “That’s the problem with you people when you look at people with spinal cord injuries, people with physical disabilities, you still have that mindset of saying that they can’t have sex, they can’t do this or they can’t do that. That is your big mistake. We can have sex. We can live a normal life like everyone else. So, that thing must come out of your mind.”— Mandla, February 2021 - South Africa[4] LGBTIQ+ Community “I am a human being before who I have sex with. I could be a doctor giving services at the health care centre, but the media portrays me just as a sex addict.” - Jam Session, 2023. NOTES TO EDITORS: For more information, please visit africa.ippf.org or follow us on @Facebook, @Instagram, and @Twitter. ABOUT IPPFAR The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is one of the leading sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service delivery organization and sexual and reproductive rights advocacy voice in Africa through its Member Associations (MAs) in 40 countries. All people are free to make choices about their sexuality and well-being, in a world without discrimination. To continue the mission of safeguarding universal access to SRHR for all as a fundamental right in Sub-Saharian Africa, there is the need to work strategically on demystifying the harmful stereotypes related to Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and gender. For enquiries please contact: Moctar MENTA, Media Advisor, IPPF Africa Regional Office (IPPFARO) – email: [email protected] -Phone +254 113 896 555 [1] Global causes of maternal death: a WHO systematic analysis. Lale Say, Doris Chou, Alison Gemmill, Özge Tunçalp, Ann-Beth Moller, Jane Daniels, A Metin Gülmezoglu, Marleen Temmerman, Leontine Alkema. 6, 2014, Lancet Global Health, Vol. 2 [2] World Health Organization. Global and regional estimates of violence against women: prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and nonpartner sexual violence. 2013 [3] Human rights watch https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/12/09/ending-child-marriage-afric [4] Physical Disability and Sexuality Stories from South Africa, Palgrave Macmillan Cham, 2021

common senses cover
media_center

| 26 February 2024

IPPFAR Launches 'Common Senses' Campaign to Challenge Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Stereotypes in Sub-Saharan Africa

Nairobi, Kenya, 10th September 2023 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation African Region (IPPFAR) proudly presents 'Common Senses', a digital campaign for Sub-Saharan African youths, aiming to challenge stereotypes about Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), gender, and people with disabilities, in English, French, and Portuguese. Let’s change the narrative! Difference in all of its forms is not understood and often feared. What if, instead of focusing on differences, we focus on what we have in common? To raise awareness and sensitize adolescents and youth on stereotypes related to SRHR and gender, the campaign will stimulate people to experience empathy in a way they have never been able to before. The movement, grounded in common sense and human values, aims to break common misconceptions, inviting the audience to think, discuss, and debunk these myths. It highlights stereotypes rooted in social constructs like culture, education, dogmas, society, educators, and family values. “At IPPF we believe lasting change comes through understanding one another’s perspectives. #CommonSenses seeks to unite us through our common humanity rather than divide us by our differences,” said IPPF Africa Regional Director Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry at the campaign launch. Using the power of empathy and shared human experiences, Common Senses aims to transform topics once seen as taboo into an open, judgement-free conversation. It aims at: Celebrating the common senses that humanise and bond us beyond our differences, through the values of Ubuntu. Changing the narrative around Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Expression, and roles by creating and supporting a new narrative towards what is just, honest, and undeniably human. Empowering the audience by informing and educating them on simple terms relatable to women & young girls, persons with disabilities, and LGBTIQ+ Community. Campaign Overview Rooted in the Ubuntu philosophy, this campaign invites African youths to embrace the common senses and fundamental principles that unite us all: freedom, passion, togetherness, and humanity. Take the challenge, challenge your #CommonSenses! We’re all just #UndeniablyHuman. Our "Common Senses" campaign unfolds across six major social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube and Linkedin. Common Senses campaign has been launched since the 1st of September 2023 and will run for 3 months until November 2023. To mark the inception of the campaign, we're excited to unveil a compelling launching video that encapsulates the essence of "Common Senses." This video sets the tone for the transformative journey ahead, inviting all African youths to join hands in reshaping narratives and breaking stereotypes. At the heart of the campaign will be a series of three impactful video series showing the world through the eyes of marginalized groups, including LGBTQI+ and transgender individuals, people with disabilities, and victims of sexual harassment. By evoking empathy, these stories will encourage audiences to reconsider preconceived notions around topics like gender identity, sexual orientation, and women’s rights. IPPF is inviting people across Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond to join Common Senses by opening their eyes, ears and minds. “This is not about pointing fingers or assigning blame. It is about realizing we have more in common than we think. Let’s just approach each other with empathy first,” Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry stated. CONTEXT BEHIND THE MAKING OF ‘COMMON SENSES’ Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) is a human rights concept applied to sexuality and reproduction, encompassing a range of fundamental human rights, such as the right to life, health, privacy, education, and freedom from discrimination. These principles ensure that everyone is entitled to accessible reproductive healthcare, information, and facilities without discrimination. Despite these rights, gender stereotypes often obstruct access to SRHR, especially for women, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ individuals ('key populations'). These stereotypes persist in many Sub-Saharan countries, underlining the need for a shift in mindset and youth engagement to reshape narratives regarding SRHR and gender. Figures of Women & Young Girls Facing Stereotypes:  Gender inequality and stereotypes deny women access to reproductive healthcare. With 31% of African females aged 20-24 married before 18, addressing adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights is vital.[1] A 2021 UNFPA study revealed that approximately 49 million sexually active women in East and Southern Africa lack access to modern contraception and family planning services, resulting in adolescent pregnancy rates in the region being twice the global average, at 92 births per 1,000 girls. 37% of ever-partnered women above the age of 15 in low and middle-income countries in the African region had experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.[2] Figures of Persons with Disabilities Facing Stereotypes: Persons with disabilities face a myriad of demand and supply-side barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health care in Sub-Saharan Africa because of systemic discrimination and denial of their needs. Figures of LGBTIQ+ Community Facing Stereotypes: According to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association (ILGA), 33 of the 54 African states recognised by the UN have laws that criminalise same-sex sexual acts. In most of the 21 other African countries, homosexuality is not criminalised in legislation. However, in some, provisions penalising ‘acts against nature’, ‘indecency’, or ‘debauchery’ are used against LGBTIQ persons. TESTIMONIALS Women & Young Girls “Our church doctrine is that girls must marry when they are between 12- and 16-years-old to make sure they do not sin by having sexual relations outside marriage. As soon as a girl reaches puberty any man in the church can claim her for a wife.”- women, South Sudan, 2015[3]. Persons with Disabilities “Most of the ladies like to tease me and they say, “Come, I want to marry you”. Then they say, “If I marry you, how are you going to satisfy me sex-wise?” I said, “That’s the problem with you people when you look at people with spinal cord injuries, people with physical disabilities, you still have that mindset of saying that they can’t have sex, they can’t do this or they can’t do that. That is your big mistake. We can have sex. We can live a normal life like everyone else. So, that thing must come out of your mind.”— Mandla, February 2021 - South Africa[4] LGBTIQ+ Community “I am a human being before who I have sex with. I could be a doctor giving services at the health care centre, but the media portrays me just as a sex addict.” - Jam Session, 2023. NOTES TO EDITORS: For more information, please visit africa.ippf.org or follow us on @Facebook, @Instagram, and @Twitter. ABOUT IPPFAR The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is one of the leading sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service delivery organization and sexual and reproductive rights advocacy voice in Africa through its Member Associations (MAs) in 40 countries. All people are free to make choices about their sexuality and well-being, in a world without discrimination. To continue the mission of safeguarding universal access to SRHR for all as a fundamental right in Sub-Saharian Africa, there is the need to work strategically on demystifying the harmful stereotypes related to Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and gender. For enquiries please contact: Moctar MENTA, Media Advisor, IPPF Africa Regional Office (IPPFARO) – email: [email protected] -Phone +254 113 896 555 [1] Global causes of maternal death: a WHO systematic analysis. Lale Say, Doris Chou, Alison Gemmill, Özge Tunçalp, Ann-Beth Moller, Jane Daniels, A Metin Gülmezoglu, Marleen Temmerman, Leontine Alkema. 6, 2014, Lancet Global Health, Vol. 2 [2] World Health Organization. Global and regional estimates of violence against women: prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and nonpartner sexual violence. 2013 [3] Human rights watch https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/12/09/ending-child-marriage-afric [4] Physical Disability and Sexuality Stories from South Africa, Palgrave Macmillan Cham, 2021

Alvaro with YAM Ghana
media center

| 15 February 2024

Ghana: From The Community Level, To The Highest Political Offices, IPPF Director General Advocates For SRHR For All

Accra, February 14, 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) Director General, Dr. Alvaro Bermejo, concluded a three-day visit to Ghana this week hosted by IPPF member association Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG). High-level meetings with authorities and partners alongside community-level engagements underscored the two organizations’ commitment to expanding access to quality sexual and reproductive healthcare.  “This mission has reaffirmed the robust collaboration between IPPF and PPAG toward our shared vision of universal sexual and reproductive health and rights in Ghana,” said Dr. Bermejo. “I want to thank PPAG and all partners for their efforts and look forward to enhanced global-to-local coordination that ensures information and services reach all who need them.”  Founded in 1967, PPAG was IPPF’s first West African member association. Today it operates over 10 clinics and education centers delivering counseling, contraceptives, maternal care, HIV/AIDS testing, and more. The visit aimed to assess how the Federation could better support its Member Association while identifying persisting barriers around access to SRHR and strengthening joint advocacy and programming with local CSOs and governmental actors.  Upon his arrival, Dr. Bermejo was welcomed by PPAG leadership, staff, and youth advocates. “Your visit represents our collective renewed passions for influencing policy, delivering services, and progressing sexual and reproductive health rights to ensure universal quality of life,” said PPAG Executive Director Abena Adebuah Amoah, capturing a spirit of reinvigorated collaboration set from the outset.  Highlights from the mission included visiting PPAG’s new self-funded clinic under construction in Cape Coast as a symbol of the association’s increasing self-sustainability and ability to reach underserved communities independently. “The urgency and innovation PPAG shows to serve more people epitomize the federation’s bold vision for the future,” Dr. Bermejo remarked.  During his visit, the Director General engaged with members of the Youth Action Movement – PPAG youth arm -  to deepen his understanding of youth perspectives on barriers and solutions to comprehensive sexual health education and services. He was particularly moved by personal stories from youth volunteers and beneficiaries, including teen mothers, early pregnancy survivors, individuals facing disability and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) challenges, as well as those experiencing exclusion due to their LGBTIQ+ identity. The DG assured full support for developing their capacities as informed advocates and programme beneficiaries, highlighting the importance of empathy and tailored support in addressing these critical issues.  Meetings with partners like UNFPA and the Ministry of Health focused on strengthening coordination across the sexual and reproductive health landscape in Ghana. The Director General also met PPAG local partners (CSOs, and embassies) to discuss national priorities and how to reinforce IPPF and PPAG’s role in advancing universal health access and rights-based approaches.  “From the community level to the highest political offices, this visit revealed the deep roots and trust established between PPAG and partners over decades of collaboration to uphold health and human rights,” Dr. Bermejo concluded. “IPPF has supported PPAG since the beginning, and we reaffirm our commitment to advancing quality sexual and reproductive healthcare across Ghana long into the future.”   

Alvaro with YAM Ghana
media_center

| 27 February 2024

Ghana: From The Community Level, To The Highest Political Offices, IPPF Director General Advocates For SRHR For All

Accra, February 14, 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) Director General, Dr. Alvaro Bermejo, concluded a three-day visit to Ghana this week hosted by IPPF member association Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG). High-level meetings with authorities and partners alongside community-level engagements underscored the two organizations’ commitment to expanding access to quality sexual and reproductive healthcare.  “This mission has reaffirmed the robust collaboration between IPPF and PPAG toward our shared vision of universal sexual and reproductive health and rights in Ghana,” said Dr. Bermejo. “I want to thank PPAG and all partners for their efforts and look forward to enhanced global-to-local coordination that ensures information and services reach all who need them.”  Founded in 1967, PPAG was IPPF’s first West African member association. Today it operates over 10 clinics and education centers delivering counseling, contraceptives, maternal care, HIV/AIDS testing, and more. The visit aimed to assess how the Federation could better support its Member Association while identifying persisting barriers around access to SRHR and strengthening joint advocacy and programming with local CSOs and governmental actors.  Upon his arrival, Dr. Bermejo was welcomed by PPAG leadership, staff, and youth advocates. “Your visit represents our collective renewed passions for influencing policy, delivering services, and progressing sexual and reproductive health rights to ensure universal quality of life,” said PPAG Executive Director Abena Adebuah Amoah, capturing a spirit of reinvigorated collaboration set from the outset.  Highlights from the mission included visiting PPAG’s new self-funded clinic under construction in Cape Coast as a symbol of the association’s increasing self-sustainability and ability to reach underserved communities independently. “The urgency and innovation PPAG shows to serve more people epitomize the federation’s bold vision for the future,” Dr. Bermejo remarked.  During his visit, the Director General engaged with members of the Youth Action Movement – PPAG youth arm -  to deepen his understanding of youth perspectives on barriers and solutions to comprehensive sexual health education and services. He was particularly moved by personal stories from youth volunteers and beneficiaries, including teen mothers, early pregnancy survivors, individuals facing disability and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) challenges, as well as those experiencing exclusion due to their LGBTIQ+ identity. The DG assured full support for developing their capacities as informed advocates and programme beneficiaries, highlighting the importance of empathy and tailored support in addressing these critical issues.  Meetings with partners like UNFPA and the Ministry of Health focused on strengthening coordination across the sexual and reproductive health landscape in Ghana. The Director General also met PPAG local partners (CSOs, and embassies) to discuss national priorities and how to reinforce IPPF and PPAG’s role in advancing universal health access and rights-based approaches.  “From the community level to the highest political offices, this visit revealed the deep roots and trust established between PPAG and partners over decades of collaboration to uphold health and human rights,” Dr. Bermejo concluded. “IPPF has supported PPAG since the beginning, and we reaffirm our commitment to advancing quality sexual and reproductive healthcare across Ghana long into the future.”   

Alvaro in Cote d'Ivoire
media center

| 13 February 2024

Advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights in Côte d’Ivoire: highlights from the IPPF Director General’s visit

Abidjan, February 13, 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) Director General, Dr. Alvaro Bermejo, concluded a four-day visit to Côte d’Ivoire last week. Hosted by IPPF member association « Association Ivoirienne pour le Bien-Être Familial (AIBEF) », Dr. Bermejo met with key stakeholders to discuss priorities and challenges related to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in the country.  “I want to thank the Ivorian government for its efforts and partnership with AIBEF over the years to expand access to quality sexual and reproductive healthcare information and services. During my meetings, I emphasized IPPF’s commitment to continue investing and supporting the country’s SRHR efforts. An improved legal framework would facilitate our work and allow us to achieve greater impact,” said Dr. Bermejo.  Highlights from the visit included meetings with the Minister of Health, Dr. Pierre Dimba, the President of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council, Dr. Eugène Aka Aouélé, and the Chief of Staff of the Minister of Women, Family and Children, Mr. Moussa Diarrassouba. Discussions focused on ongoing collaboration and future opportunities to strengthen SRHR policy, programming and awareness in Côte d’Ivoire.  Dr. Bermejo also met with key partners including UNFPA, PSI, MSI, IPAS, PATHFINDER and local NGOs supporting AIBEF’s work on the ground. Partners highlighted impactful partnerships on various SRHR issues and exploring ways to enhance collaboration moving forward. The visit also included a meeting with UNAIDS Country Office to identify opportunities for closer collaboration between HIV and family planning services.  At the community level, Dr. Bermejo visited “Espace Confiance”, an AIBEF-supported clinic providing SRHR services to key populations, including members of the LGBTQ+ community, transgender people, and sex workers. He spoke directly with clients to better understand the services they access and persistent barriers faced. Finally, recognizing the importance of leaving no one behind, the Director General visited the National Ivorian Institute for the Promotion of the Blind (INIPA) which recently received support from AIBEF to translate a comprehensive sexuality education manual into braille so visually impaired young people can access this critical information.  “This visit allowed for critical high-level discussions about how we can work together to fully meet the sexual and reproductive health needs of all people in Côte d’Ivoire. It also revealed grassroots perspectives to ensure our programmes address barriers and gaps experienced by key populations and marginalized groups on a daily basis as we advance universal health coverage,” concluded Dr. Bermejo.   

Alvaro in Cote d'Ivoire
media_center

| 27 February 2024

Advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights in Côte d’Ivoire: highlights from the IPPF Director General’s visit

Abidjan, February 13, 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) Director General, Dr. Alvaro Bermejo, concluded a four-day visit to Côte d’Ivoire last week. Hosted by IPPF member association « Association Ivoirienne pour le Bien-Être Familial (AIBEF) », Dr. Bermejo met with key stakeholders to discuss priorities and challenges related to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in the country.  “I want to thank the Ivorian government for its efforts and partnership with AIBEF over the years to expand access to quality sexual and reproductive healthcare information and services. During my meetings, I emphasized IPPF’s commitment to continue investing and supporting the country’s SRHR efforts. An improved legal framework would facilitate our work and allow us to achieve greater impact,” said Dr. Bermejo.  Highlights from the visit included meetings with the Minister of Health, Dr. Pierre Dimba, the President of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council, Dr. Eugène Aka Aouélé, and the Chief of Staff of the Minister of Women, Family and Children, Mr. Moussa Diarrassouba. Discussions focused on ongoing collaboration and future opportunities to strengthen SRHR policy, programming and awareness in Côte d’Ivoire.  Dr. Bermejo also met with key partners including UNFPA, PSI, MSI, IPAS, PATHFINDER and local NGOs supporting AIBEF’s work on the ground. Partners highlighted impactful partnerships on various SRHR issues and exploring ways to enhance collaboration moving forward. The visit also included a meeting with UNAIDS Country Office to identify opportunities for closer collaboration between HIV and family planning services.  At the community level, Dr. Bermejo visited “Espace Confiance”, an AIBEF-supported clinic providing SRHR services to key populations, including members of the LGBTQ+ community, transgender people, and sex workers. He spoke directly with clients to better understand the services they access and persistent barriers faced. Finally, recognizing the importance of leaving no one behind, the Director General visited the National Ivorian Institute for the Promotion of the Blind (INIPA) which recently received support from AIBEF to translate a comprehensive sexuality education manual into braille so visually impaired young people can access this critical information.  “This visit allowed for critical high-level discussions about how we can work together to fully meet the sexual and reproductive health needs of all people in Côte d’Ivoire. It also revealed grassroots perspectives to ensure our programmes address barriers and gaps experienced by key populations and marginalized groups on a daily basis as we advance universal health coverage,” concluded Dr. Bermejo.   

UGANDA LGBTQ steve kabuye
media center

| 08 January 2024

Standing United Against Hate: IPPF Africa Region Condemns Brutal Attack on Ugandan LGBTQ+ Activist

Nairobi, Kenya, 08 January 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) condemns in the strongest terms the brutal knife attack on Ugandan LGBTQ+ activist Steven Kabuye. This shocking act of violence is an affront to basic human rights and dignity. “What happened to Steven is unacceptable and inexcusable,” said Marie-Evelyne PETRUS-BARRY, IPPF Africa Regional Director. “No one should face threats, violence or persecution because of who they are or who they love. Steven was exercising his basic right to live openly and authentically - a right that belongs to everyone.” Kabuye was stabbed multiple times by unknown assailants and left for dead on his way to work on January 3rd, 2023. This comes after Kabuye reported receiving death threats related to his LGBTQ+ advocacy work. Sadly, this brutal attack reflects a broader climate of intolerance and hostility towards LGBTQ+ people in Uganda. Just last year, Uganda instituted one of the world’s most oppressive anti-LGBTQ+ laws, criminalizing same-sex relations and “aggravated homosexuality.” “Such regressive legislation breeds discrimination and violence,” said Marie-Evelyne PETRUS-BARRY. “We call on the Ugandan authorities to urgently investigate this attack and bring the perpetrators to justice. But more broadly, the government must reconsider laws that deny LGBTQ+ people their basic human rights and dignity - universal rights. No one deserves to live in fear because of who they are.” IPPFAR stands firmly with the LGBTQ+ community in Uganda and across Africa. All people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, deserve to live freely and safely. We believe reproductive rights and broader human rights are interlinked and universal. IPPFAR calls on civil society, faith institutions, cultural leaders and policymakers to: Unequivocally condemn violence against LGBTQ+ individuals Advocate repeal of laws criminalizing homosexuality Push for legal protections against LGBTQ+ discrimination Support health, psychosocial and security assistance for LGBTQ+ people Amplify LGBTQ+ voices and stories in national discourse “Only by embracing our shared dignity can we build a just society. There is no room for homophobia, transphobia or exclusion of any kind,” Marie-Evelyne PETRUS-BARRY concluded. IPPFAR stands ready to support efforts toward a more equal, inclusive Uganda where everyone can enjoy their rights and freedoms in full. Most urgently, our hearts remain with Steven Kabuye and the entire LGBTQ+ community in Uganda during this difficult time. Violence and dehumanization will not silence your voices or quash your spirit. Hatred cannot defeat love if we stand united for one another’s humanity. END For more on IPPFAR's statements on the Anti-Homosexuality Act in Uganda: 23 March 2023 - Uganda: IPPF Africa Region strongly urges the government not to enact the new harmful anti – LGBTIQ+ law 10 May 2023 - Uganda: IPPF Africa Region Urges President Museveni to Veto Harmful New Anti-Rights Law Targeting LGBTIQ+ Community 30 May 2023 - IPPF Africa Condemns Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act as a Violation of Human Rights And Sexual And Reproductive Rights For further information or to request an interview, please contact: - Moctar MENTA, Media Advisor - IPPF Africa Regional Office (IPPFAR) – email: [email protected] / Tel: +254 0113 896 555 ABOUT IPPF AFRICA REGION (IPPFAR) The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is one of the leading sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service delivery organization in Africa, and a leading sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) advocacy voice in the region. Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, the overarching goal of IPPFAR is to increase access to SRHR services to the most vulnerable youth, men and women in sub-Saharan Africa. Supported by thousands of volunteers, IPPFAR tackles the continent’s growing SRHR challenges through a network of Member Associations (MAs) in 40 countries. We do this by developing our MAs into efficient entities with the capacity to deliver and sustain high-quality, youth-focused, and gender-sensitive services. We work with Governments, the African Union, Regional Economic Commissions, the Pan-African Parliament, and United Nations bodies among others to expand political and financial commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights in Africa. Learn more about us on our website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and You Tube.

UGANDA LGBTQ steve kabuye
media_center

| 26 February 2024

Standing United Against Hate: IPPF Africa Region Condemns Brutal Attack on Ugandan LGBTQ+ Activist

Nairobi, Kenya, 08 January 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) condemns in the strongest terms the brutal knife attack on Ugandan LGBTQ+ activist Steven Kabuye. This shocking act of violence is an affront to basic human rights and dignity. “What happened to Steven is unacceptable and inexcusable,” said Marie-Evelyne PETRUS-BARRY, IPPF Africa Regional Director. “No one should face threats, violence or persecution because of who they are or who they love. Steven was exercising his basic right to live openly and authentically - a right that belongs to everyone.” Kabuye was stabbed multiple times by unknown assailants and left for dead on his way to work on January 3rd, 2023. This comes after Kabuye reported receiving death threats related to his LGBTQ+ advocacy work. Sadly, this brutal attack reflects a broader climate of intolerance and hostility towards LGBTQ+ people in Uganda. Just last year, Uganda instituted one of the world’s most oppressive anti-LGBTQ+ laws, criminalizing same-sex relations and “aggravated homosexuality.” “Such regressive legislation breeds discrimination and violence,” said Marie-Evelyne PETRUS-BARRY. “We call on the Ugandan authorities to urgently investigate this attack and bring the perpetrators to justice. But more broadly, the government must reconsider laws that deny LGBTQ+ people their basic human rights and dignity - universal rights. No one deserves to live in fear because of who they are.” IPPFAR stands firmly with the LGBTQ+ community in Uganda and across Africa. All people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, deserve to live freely and safely. We believe reproductive rights and broader human rights are interlinked and universal. IPPFAR calls on civil society, faith institutions, cultural leaders and policymakers to: Unequivocally condemn violence against LGBTQ+ individuals Advocate repeal of laws criminalizing homosexuality Push for legal protections against LGBTQ+ discrimination Support health, psychosocial and security assistance for LGBTQ+ people Amplify LGBTQ+ voices and stories in national discourse “Only by embracing our shared dignity can we build a just society. There is no room for homophobia, transphobia or exclusion of any kind,” Marie-Evelyne PETRUS-BARRY concluded. IPPFAR stands ready to support efforts toward a more equal, inclusive Uganda where everyone can enjoy their rights and freedoms in full. Most urgently, our hearts remain with Steven Kabuye and the entire LGBTQ+ community in Uganda during this difficult time. Violence and dehumanization will not silence your voices or quash your spirit. Hatred cannot defeat love if we stand united for one another’s humanity. END For more on IPPFAR's statements on the Anti-Homosexuality Act in Uganda: 23 March 2023 - Uganda: IPPF Africa Region strongly urges the government not to enact the new harmful anti – LGBTIQ+ law 10 May 2023 - Uganda: IPPF Africa Region Urges President Museveni to Veto Harmful New Anti-Rights Law Targeting LGBTIQ+ Community 30 May 2023 - IPPF Africa Condemns Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act as a Violation of Human Rights And Sexual And Reproductive Rights For further information or to request an interview, please contact: - Moctar MENTA, Media Advisor - IPPF Africa Regional Office (IPPFAR) – email: [email protected] / Tel: +254 0113 896 555 ABOUT IPPF AFRICA REGION (IPPFAR) The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is one of the leading sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service delivery organization in Africa, and a leading sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) advocacy voice in the region. Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, the overarching goal of IPPFAR is to increase access to SRHR services to the most vulnerable youth, men and women in sub-Saharan Africa. Supported by thousands of volunteers, IPPFAR tackles the continent’s growing SRHR challenges through a network of Member Associations (MAs) in 40 countries. We do this by developing our MAs into efficient entities with the capacity to deliver and sustain high-quality, youth-focused, and gender-sensitive services. We work with Governments, the African Union, Regional Economic Commissions, the Pan-African Parliament, and United Nations bodies among others to expand political and financial commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights in Africa. Learn more about us on our website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and You Tube.

cso
media center

| 11 December 2023

Joint Statement from Civil Society on the 75th Anniversary of the UDHR

cso
media_center

| 26 February 2024

Joint Statement from Civil Society on the 75th Anniversary of the UDHR

Zambia statement 1
media center

| 12 October 2023

IPPF Africa Expresses Concern Following instructions from Zambia’s Ministry of Health to Avoid Use of The Term “Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights”.

Nairobi, Kenya: 12 October 2023 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) notes with concern an internal memo sent by the Zambian Ministry of Health to all provincial health directors and cooperating partners dated 21 September 2023, which advises against the use of the term “sexual and reproductive health and rights” and to instead refer to “reproductive health and rights” only. The Zambian Ministry of Health’s rationale for the removal of the terms “sexual health and rights” is that “the inclusion of the words “sexual” and “rights” in the same phrase is the inclusion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Qveer (sic) rights” (MoH Zambia, 2023). This is correct, as “sexual rights are constituted by a set of entitlements related to the sexuality of all persons regardless of their gender, gender identity and/or expression, that emanate from the rights to freedom, equality, privacy, autonomy, integrity and dignity of all people” (IPPF, 2016) – and like all rights, sexual rights are interconnected, indivisible, and applicable to all.  “Removing reference to sexual health and rights has real-world implications for people, especially women, and girls, including an entrenchment of patriarchal norms and a framing of people's bodies as useful for reproductive purposes only. This has far-reaching negative implications that are demonstrated by an increase in female genital mutilation and child marriage, and forced treatments, including sterilisation, virginity examinations, and abortions. Removal of sexual rights could also lead to the subjecting of women’s access to sexual health services to external approval, for example from a husband or male relative.”, said Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry, IPPF Africa Regional Director. The inclusion of the term “sexual health and rights” protects the rights of women and girls to consent to sexual activity and treatments, and to access information that allows them to make informed decisions about their sexual health. In addition to offering equality for women in freely deciding the spacing of their children, sexual rights also protect the right to bodily autonomy and to make informed decisions about one’s body. Furthermore, sexual health and rights are closely associated with the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. Removal of these terms could negatively affect the provision of services to, and rights of people living positively and needing access to treatment and other forms of support services. Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry added that: “IPPF Africa echoes the Guttmacher-Lancet Commission report (2018), sexual health and rights are not just words, behind them are real people; especially women and girls who need to access services that aim to provide a state of complete physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being in relation to sexuality. These services are protected by sexual rights that protect all people’s rights to fulfill and express their sexuality and enjoy sexual health free from coercion.” IPPFAR reiterates that the Government of Zambia is party to several commitments in which sexual and reproductive health and rights are central – including the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, the African Charter on People’s and Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. Furthermore, as Lusaka will host the AU/UNECA ICPD+30 Africa Region Consultation in November 2023, it is critical to recall that the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) affirmed that Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights are Human Rights. If we are to achieve these commitments 30 years later, it is critical that Zambia recommits to the attainment of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.   END For further information or to request an interview, please contact: -Mahmoud GARGA, Lead Specialist - Strategic Communication, Media Relations and Digital Campaigning, IPPF Africa Regional Office (IPPFARO) – email: [email protected] / Tel: +254 704 626 920   ABOUT IPPF AFRICA REGION (IPPFAR) The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is one of the leading sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service delivery organization in Africa, and a leading sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) advocacy voice in the region. Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, the overarching goal of IPPFAR is to increase access to SRHR services to the most vulnerable youth, men and women in sub-Saharan Africa. Supported by thousands of volunteers, IPPFAR tackles the continent’s growing SRHR challenges through a network of Member Associations (MAs) in 40 countries. We do this by developing our MAs into efficient entities with the capacity to deliver and sustain high quality, youth focused and gender sensitive services. We work with Governments, the African Union, Regional Economic Commissions, the Pan-African Parliament, United Nations bodies among others to expand political and financial commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights in Africa. Learn more about us on our website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and You Tube.

Zambia statement 1
media_center

| 26 February 2024

IPPF Africa Expresses Concern Following instructions from Zambia’s Ministry of Health to Avoid Use of The Term “Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights”.

Nairobi, Kenya: 12 October 2023 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) notes with concern an internal memo sent by the Zambian Ministry of Health to all provincial health directors and cooperating partners dated 21 September 2023, which advises against the use of the term “sexual and reproductive health and rights” and to instead refer to “reproductive health and rights” only. The Zambian Ministry of Health’s rationale for the removal of the terms “sexual health and rights” is that “the inclusion of the words “sexual” and “rights” in the same phrase is the inclusion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Qveer (sic) rights” (MoH Zambia, 2023). This is correct, as “sexual rights are constituted by a set of entitlements related to the sexuality of all persons regardless of their gender, gender identity and/or expression, that emanate from the rights to freedom, equality, privacy, autonomy, integrity and dignity of all people” (IPPF, 2016) – and like all rights, sexual rights are interconnected, indivisible, and applicable to all.  “Removing reference to sexual health and rights has real-world implications for people, especially women, and girls, including an entrenchment of patriarchal norms and a framing of people's bodies as useful for reproductive purposes only. This has far-reaching negative implications that are demonstrated by an increase in female genital mutilation and child marriage, and forced treatments, including sterilisation, virginity examinations, and abortions. Removal of sexual rights could also lead to the subjecting of women’s access to sexual health services to external approval, for example from a husband or male relative.”, said Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry, IPPF Africa Regional Director. The inclusion of the term “sexual health and rights” protects the rights of women and girls to consent to sexual activity and treatments, and to access information that allows them to make informed decisions about their sexual health. In addition to offering equality for women in freely deciding the spacing of their children, sexual rights also protect the right to bodily autonomy and to make informed decisions about one’s body. Furthermore, sexual health and rights are closely associated with the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. Removal of these terms could negatively affect the provision of services to, and rights of people living positively and needing access to treatment and other forms of support services. Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry added that: “IPPF Africa echoes the Guttmacher-Lancet Commission report (2018), sexual health and rights are not just words, behind them are real people; especially women and girls who need to access services that aim to provide a state of complete physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being in relation to sexuality. These services are protected by sexual rights that protect all people’s rights to fulfill and express their sexuality and enjoy sexual health free from coercion.” IPPFAR reiterates that the Government of Zambia is party to several commitments in which sexual and reproductive health and rights are central – including the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, the African Charter on People’s and Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. Furthermore, as Lusaka will host the AU/UNECA ICPD+30 Africa Region Consultation in November 2023, it is critical to recall that the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) affirmed that Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights are Human Rights. If we are to achieve these commitments 30 years later, it is critical that Zambia recommits to the attainment of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.   END For further information or to request an interview, please contact: -Mahmoud GARGA, Lead Specialist - Strategic Communication, Media Relations and Digital Campaigning, IPPF Africa Regional Office (IPPFARO) – email: [email protected] / Tel: +254 704 626 920   ABOUT IPPF AFRICA REGION (IPPFAR) The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is one of the leading sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service delivery organization in Africa, and a leading sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) advocacy voice in the region. Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, the overarching goal of IPPFAR is to increase access to SRHR services to the most vulnerable youth, men and women in sub-Saharan Africa. Supported by thousands of volunteers, IPPFAR tackles the continent’s growing SRHR challenges through a network of Member Associations (MAs) in 40 countries. We do this by developing our MAs into efficient entities with the capacity to deliver and sustain high quality, youth focused and gender sensitive services. We work with Governments, the African Union, Regional Economic Commissions, the Pan-African Parliament, United Nations bodies among others to expand political and financial commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights in Africa. Learn more about us on our website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and You Tube.

common senses cover
media center

| 07 September 2023

IPPFAR Launches 'Common Senses' Campaign to Challenge Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Stereotypes in Sub-Saharan Africa

Nairobi, Kenya, 10th September 2023 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation African Region (IPPFAR) proudly presents 'Common Senses', a digital campaign for Sub-Saharan African youths, aiming to challenge stereotypes about Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), gender, and people with disabilities, in English, French, and Portuguese. Let’s change the narrative! Difference in all of its forms is not understood and often feared. What if, instead of focusing on differences, we focus on what we have in common? To raise awareness and sensitize adolescents and youth on stereotypes related to SRHR and gender, the campaign will stimulate people to experience empathy in a way they have never been able to before. The movement, grounded in common sense and human values, aims to break common misconceptions, inviting the audience to think, discuss, and debunk these myths. It highlights stereotypes rooted in social constructs like culture, education, dogmas, society, educators, and family values. “At IPPF we believe lasting change comes through understanding one another’s perspectives. #CommonSenses seeks to unite us through our common humanity rather than divide us by our differences,” said IPPF Africa Regional Director Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry at the campaign launch. Using the power of empathy and shared human experiences, Common Senses aims to transform topics once seen as taboo into an open, judgement-free conversation. It aims at: Celebrating the common senses that humanise and bond us beyond our differences, through the values of Ubuntu. Changing the narrative around Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Expression, and roles by creating and supporting a new narrative towards what is just, honest, and undeniably human. Empowering the audience by informing and educating them on simple terms relatable to women & young girls, persons with disabilities, and LGBTIQ+ Community. Campaign Overview Rooted in the Ubuntu philosophy, this campaign invites African youths to embrace the common senses and fundamental principles that unite us all: freedom, passion, togetherness, and humanity. Take the challenge, challenge your #CommonSenses! We’re all just #UndeniablyHuman. Our "Common Senses" campaign unfolds across six major social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube and Linkedin. Common Senses campaign has been launched since the 1st of September 2023 and will run for 3 months until November 2023. To mark the inception of the campaign, we're excited to unveil a compelling launching video that encapsulates the essence of "Common Senses." This video sets the tone for the transformative journey ahead, inviting all African youths to join hands in reshaping narratives and breaking stereotypes. At the heart of the campaign will be a series of three impactful video series showing the world through the eyes of marginalized groups, including LGBTQI+ and transgender individuals, people with disabilities, and victims of sexual harassment. By evoking empathy, these stories will encourage audiences to reconsider preconceived notions around topics like gender identity, sexual orientation, and women’s rights. IPPF is inviting people across Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond to join Common Senses by opening their eyes, ears and minds. “This is not about pointing fingers or assigning blame. It is about realizing we have more in common than we think. Let’s just approach each other with empathy first,” Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry stated. CONTEXT BEHIND THE MAKING OF ‘COMMON SENSES’ Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) is a human rights concept applied to sexuality and reproduction, encompassing a range of fundamental human rights, such as the right to life, health, privacy, education, and freedom from discrimination. These principles ensure that everyone is entitled to accessible reproductive healthcare, information, and facilities without discrimination. Despite these rights, gender stereotypes often obstruct access to SRHR, especially for women, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ individuals ('key populations'). These stereotypes persist in many Sub-Saharan countries, underlining the need for a shift in mindset and youth engagement to reshape narratives regarding SRHR and gender. Figures of Women & Young Girls Facing Stereotypes:  Gender inequality and stereotypes deny women access to reproductive healthcare. With 31% of African females aged 20-24 married before 18, addressing adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights is vital.[1] A 2021 UNFPA study revealed that approximately 49 million sexually active women in East and Southern Africa lack access to modern contraception and family planning services, resulting in adolescent pregnancy rates in the region being twice the global average, at 92 births per 1,000 girls. 37% of ever-partnered women above the age of 15 in low and middle-income countries in the African region had experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.[2] Figures of Persons with Disabilities Facing Stereotypes: Persons with disabilities face a myriad of demand and supply-side barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health care in Sub-Saharan Africa because of systemic discrimination and denial of their needs. Figures of LGBTIQ+ Community Facing Stereotypes: According to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association (ILGA), 33 of the 54 African states recognised by the UN have laws that criminalise same-sex sexual acts. In most of the 21 other African countries, homosexuality is not criminalised in legislation. However, in some, provisions penalising ‘acts against nature’, ‘indecency’, or ‘debauchery’ are used against LGBTIQ persons. TESTIMONIALS Women & Young Girls “Our church doctrine is that girls must marry when they are between 12- and 16-years-old to make sure they do not sin by having sexual relations outside marriage. As soon as a girl reaches puberty any man in the church can claim her for a wife.”- women, South Sudan, 2015[3]. Persons with Disabilities “Most of the ladies like to tease me and they say, “Come, I want to marry you”. Then they say, “If I marry you, how are you going to satisfy me sex-wise?” I said, “That’s the problem with you people when you look at people with spinal cord injuries, people with physical disabilities, you still have that mindset of saying that they can’t have sex, they can’t do this or they can’t do that. That is your big mistake. We can have sex. We can live a normal life like everyone else. So, that thing must come out of your mind.”— Mandla, February 2021 - South Africa[4] LGBTIQ+ Community “I am a human being before who I have sex with. I could be a doctor giving services at the health care centre, but the media portrays me just as a sex addict.” - Jam Session, 2023. NOTES TO EDITORS: For more information, please visit africa.ippf.org or follow us on @Facebook, @Instagram, and @Twitter. ABOUT IPPFAR The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is one of the leading sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service delivery organization and sexual and reproductive rights advocacy voice in Africa through its Member Associations (MAs) in 40 countries. All people are free to make choices about their sexuality and well-being, in a world without discrimination. To continue the mission of safeguarding universal access to SRHR for all as a fundamental right in Sub-Saharian Africa, there is the need to work strategically on demystifying the harmful stereotypes related to Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and gender. For enquiries please contact: Moctar MENTA, Media Advisor, IPPF Africa Regional Office (IPPFARO) – email: [email protected] -Phone +254 113 896 555 [1] Global causes of maternal death: a WHO systematic analysis. Lale Say, Doris Chou, Alison Gemmill, Özge Tunçalp, Ann-Beth Moller, Jane Daniels, A Metin Gülmezoglu, Marleen Temmerman, Leontine Alkema. 6, 2014, Lancet Global Health, Vol. 2 [2] World Health Organization. Global and regional estimates of violence against women: prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and nonpartner sexual violence. 2013 [3] Human rights watch https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/12/09/ending-child-marriage-afric [4] Physical Disability and Sexuality Stories from South Africa, Palgrave Macmillan Cham, 2021

common senses cover
media_center

| 26 February 2024

IPPFAR Launches 'Common Senses' Campaign to Challenge Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Stereotypes in Sub-Saharan Africa

Nairobi, Kenya, 10th September 2023 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation African Region (IPPFAR) proudly presents 'Common Senses', a digital campaign for Sub-Saharan African youths, aiming to challenge stereotypes about Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), gender, and people with disabilities, in English, French, and Portuguese. Let’s change the narrative! Difference in all of its forms is not understood and often feared. What if, instead of focusing on differences, we focus on what we have in common? To raise awareness and sensitize adolescents and youth on stereotypes related to SRHR and gender, the campaign will stimulate people to experience empathy in a way they have never been able to before. The movement, grounded in common sense and human values, aims to break common misconceptions, inviting the audience to think, discuss, and debunk these myths. It highlights stereotypes rooted in social constructs like culture, education, dogmas, society, educators, and family values. “At IPPF we believe lasting change comes through understanding one another’s perspectives. #CommonSenses seeks to unite us through our common humanity rather than divide us by our differences,” said IPPF Africa Regional Director Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry at the campaign launch. Using the power of empathy and shared human experiences, Common Senses aims to transform topics once seen as taboo into an open, judgement-free conversation. It aims at: Celebrating the common senses that humanise and bond us beyond our differences, through the values of Ubuntu. Changing the narrative around Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Expression, and roles by creating and supporting a new narrative towards what is just, honest, and undeniably human. Empowering the audience by informing and educating them on simple terms relatable to women & young girls, persons with disabilities, and LGBTIQ+ Community. Campaign Overview Rooted in the Ubuntu philosophy, this campaign invites African youths to embrace the common senses and fundamental principles that unite us all: freedom, passion, togetherness, and humanity. Take the challenge, challenge your #CommonSenses! We’re all just #UndeniablyHuman. Our "Common Senses" campaign unfolds across six major social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube and Linkedin. Common Senses campaign has been launched since the 1st of September 2023 and will run for 3 months until November 2023. To mark the inception of the campaign, we're excited to unveil a compelling launching video that encapsulates the essence of "Common Senses." This video sets the tone for the transformative journey ahead, inviting all African youths to join hands in reshaping narratives and breaking stereotypes. At the heart of the campaign will be a series of three impactful video series showing the world through the eyes of marginalized groups, including LGBTQI+ and transgender individuals, people with disabilities, and victims of sexual harassment. By evoking empathy, these stories will encourage audiences to reconsider preconceived notions around topics like gender identity, sexual orientation, and women’s rights. IPPF is inviting people across Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond to join Common Senses by opening their eyes, ears and minds. “This is not about pointing fingers or assigning blame. It is about realizing we have more in common than we think. Let’s just approach each other with empathy first,” Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry stated. CONTEXT BEHIND THE MAKING OF ‘COMMON SENSES’ Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) is a human rights concept applied to sexuality and reproduction, encompassing a range of fundamental human rights, such as the right to life, health, privacy, education, and freedom from discrimination. These principles ensure that everyone is entitled to accessible reproductive healthcare, information, and facilities without discrimination. Despite these rights, gender stereotypes often obstruct access to SRHR, especially for women, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ individuals ('key populations'). These stereotypes persist in many Sub-Saharan countries, underlining the need for a shift in mindset and youth engagement to reshape narratives regarding SRHR and gender. Figures of Women & Young Girls Facing Stereotypes:  Gender inequality and stereotypes deny women access to reproductive healthcare. With 31% of African females aged 20-24 married before 18, addressing adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights is vital.[1] A 2021 UNFPA study revealed that approximately 49 million sexually active women in East and Southern Africa lack access to modern contraception and family planning services, resulting in adolescent pregnancy rates in the region being twice the global average, at 92 births per 1,000 girls. 37% of ever-partnered women above the age of 15 in low and middle-income countries in the African region had experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.[2] Figures of Persons with Disabilities Facing Stereotypes: Persons with disabilities face a myriad of demand and supply-side barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health care in Sub-Saharan Africa because of systemic discrimination and denial of their needs. Figures of LGBTIQ+ Community Facing Stereotypes: According to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association (ILGA), 33 of the 54 African states recognised by the UN have laws that criminalise same-sex sexual acts. In most of the 21 other African countries, homosexuality is not criminalised in legislation. However, in some, provisions penalising ‘acts against nature’, ‘indecency’, or ‘debauchery’ are used against LGBTIQ persons. TESTIMONIALS Women & Young Girls “Our church doctrine is that girls must marry when they are between 12- and 16-years-old to make sure they do not sin by having sexual relations outside marriage. As soon as a girl reaches puberty any man in the church can claim her for a wife.”- women, South Sudan, 2015[3]. Persons with Disabilities “Most of the ladies like to tease me and they say, “Come, I want to marry you”. Then they say, “If I marry you, how are you going to satisfy me sex-wise?” I said, “That’s the problem with you people when you look at people with spinal cord injuries, people with physical disabilities, you still have that mindset of saying that they can’t have sex, they can’t do this or they can’t do that. That is your big mistake. We can have sex. We can live a normal life like everyone else. So, that thing must come out of your mind.”— Mandla, February 2021 - South Africa[4] LGBTIQ+ Community “I am a human being before who I have sex with. I could be a doctor giving services at the health care centre, but the media portrays me just as a sex addict.” - Jam Session, 2023. NOTES TO EDITORS: For more information, please visit africa.ippf.org or follow us on @Facebook, @Instagram, and @Twitter. ABOUT IPPFAR The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is one of the leading sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service delivery organization and sexual and reproductive rights advocacy voice in Africa through its Member Associations (MAs) in 40 countries. All people are free to make choices about their sexuality and well-being, in a world without discrimination. To continue the mission of safeguarding universal access to SRHR for all as a fundamental right in Sub-Saharian Africa, there is the need to work strategically on demystifying the harmful stereotypes related to Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and gender. For enquiries please contact: Moctar MENTA, Media Advisor, IPPF Africa Regional Office (IPPFARO) – email: [email protected] -Phone +254 113 896 555 [1] Global causes of maternal death: a WHO systematic analysis. Lale Say, Doris Chou, Alison Gemmill, Özge Tunçalp, Ann-Beth Moller, Jane Daniels, A Metin Gülmezoglu, Marleen Temmerman, Leontine Alkema. 6, 2014, Lancet Global Health, Vol. 2 [2] World Health Organization. Global and regional estimates of violence against women: prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and nonpartner sexual violence. 2013 [3] Human rights watch https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/12/09/ending-child-marriage-afric [4] Physical Disability and Sexuality Stories from South Africa, Palgrave Macmillan Cham, 2021