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Maternal Healthcare

Every day some 830 women die from causes related to pregnancy or childbirth. Many more have serious injuries or long-lasting consequences.  IPPF works around the world to improve maternal health through our clinics and outreach services and by training health workers, improving the availability of essential medicines and strengthening health systems.

Articles by Maternal Healthcare

elise-kenimbeni
04 June 2020

My Experience as a Journalist Reporting on Sexual and Reproductive Health in Africa - Elise Kenimbeni

Elise Kenimbeni is a prolific journalist from Cameroon in Central Africa. She talks about how her passion for sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) was nurtured by IPPF Africa Region, and how she is today a SRHR champion for the #RightByHer Campaign. The #RightByHer is a campaign that is pushing for the implementation of continental commitments, specifically the Maputo Protocol and Maputo Plan of Action. The campaign works with champions including  young men and women, First Ladies, parliamentarians, journalists, feminists and religious leaders to raise awareness in their circles of influence and push for implementation of policies on gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights in Africa. "My name is Elise Kenimbeni, a journalist with TimesNews2.info in Cameroon. I was trained in writing about health issues in 2012, and later on in sexual and reproductive health and rights by two local non-governmental organizations in my country. I however developed more interest in reporting on SRHR issues when I produced some sponsored radio programmes for IPPF’s Member Association (MA) in my country -Cameroon National Association for Family Welfare (CAMNAFAW). Through this work, I got the opportunity to join the IPPF Africa Region’s journalists’ network in November 2014. As a member of the journalists’ network, I attended a capacity building training workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, where I met journalists from other African countries who had impacted on their respective communities by reporting on development issues. The journalists –from Togo, Uganda and Kenya – had won media awards and during the three days’ workshop, they share their experiences.  I was really moved by their stories and I asked myself, if their reporting could impact the lives of people, why couldn’t I do the same with the resources I had? From the Newsroom to the Field I decided to sharpen my skills and knowledge on SRHR issues by working with CAMNAFAW when I returned home. For several months, I worked closely with CAMNAFAW’s youth and Gender Advocacy Officer, who taught me how to write impactful reports. This came as a big boost to my writing as I got more interested in issues affecting refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and vulnerable groups like young girls and women in northern Cameroon. Most of the time I tried to put myself in the shoes of these people and my first reaction was to go to the field and get stories about their lives. My passion grew when I was supported by IPPF Africa Region to get out of the newsroom and go to the field to write more stories about people’s lives. Reporting, Building and Growing Networks I was inspired and worked hard and hoped that I would be recognized for my efforts. I traveled long distances by road and railway to the eastern and northern parts of Cameroon to cover SRHR issues including female genital mutilation (FGM), early child marriages, obstetric fistula, maternal and infant mortality, HIV and AIDS and use of modern contraceptives by the youth. I established good relationships with local and international organizations, as well as with other journalists and community agents, who helped me get reliable statistics and facts from the ground. I also interviewed refugees and IDPs following the Boko Haram crisis. Many of the people I met during this time have become my friends and I often call them to get updates on what is going on in their regions. I even worked in hostile environments, but I never relented. I was motivated and believed I could write stories that would highlight important issues and push the government to address them. As a journalist and champion for the #RightByHer campaign, I have been involved in many advocacy activities and workshops as well as the action learning sessions organized in Belgium and Kenya by IPPF and its consortium partners in the State of the Africa Woman (SOWAC) project. I also learnt how to conduct scientific data research for my reports during a similar workshop held in Navaisha, Kenya. Through this platform, I have met and shared ideas with many champions from all walks of life: journalists, activists, feminists, and religious leaders. As a media practitioner, I have learned a lot about how we can move the African SRHR agenda forward. All this knowledge has helped me as I cover the current COVID-19 pandemic in Cameroon. Most of the articles I write for my online media are from information shared via Facebook or WhatsApp by some experts, NGOs, the government or institutions. I am also working on a series of reports on how COVID-19 is affecting SRHR. Due to the containment measures to stop the spread of the virus, I am not doing any field work at the moment. The current health crisis has highlighted the need for a robust health policy to address loopholes in our country’s weak health infrastructure. There is also need to set up a good communication strategy in various local languages to reach the grassroots with information on how to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease and engage community health workers in the fight against COVID-19." Follow Elise Kenimbeni on Twitter here. For more information about the work of IPPF Africa Region, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Family-Guidance-Association-of-Ethiopia
12 May 2020

Ethiopia: Raising Awareness on COVID-19 Through Video

In a bid to complement the government’s efforts to raise awareness about COVID-19, Family Guidance Association of Ethiopia (FGAE) has created a short video that communicates the importance of undertaking preventive measures to stop the spread of the disease.   The 65-second-long video shares information about the need for practicing good hygiene, wearing of facemasks, social distancing, and other quarantine measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus. The video carries subtitles in Amharic -the national language that is understood by all Ethiopians across the country. The video has been shared multiple times on FGAE’s social media platforms, reaching thousands of Ethiopians. It has also been broadcast in 46 FGAE-owned health facilities across the country. In addition, the video has been screened at various public television screens in major towns in Ethiopia. Learn more about FGAE's work in Ethiopia here.

Reproductive Health Association of South Sudan (RHASS)
06 May 2020

Using Radio to Promote SRHR During COVID-19: the Case of Reproductive Health Association of South Sudan (RHASS)

IPPF’s collaborative partner in South Sudan, Reproductive Health Association of South Sudan (RHASS), is working closely with different media houses to increase public awareness on the impact of COVID-19 on sexual and reproductive health (SRH) in the country. Its participation in radio shows have also contributed towards establishing RHASS as a leader in SRH in South Sudan. RHASS staff, Dr. Abraham John Thubo -a Project Manager, and Ms. Naima Brown, the head nurse, have been participating in interactive and educative shows in two popular radio stations: City FM Juba and Radio Miraya. The shows have reached a combined audience of over 25,000 South Sudanese, for whom radio is a primary source of information. City FM Juba is a unique youth-focused private, independent commercial radio station based in Juba. It reaches a wide audience through its broadcasts which are mainly in English and in Juba Arabic, a lingua franca spoken in parts of the Equatoria State. Radio Miraya on the other hand, is owned and run by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). The station covers 10 states through relay stations from the capital in Juba. During the radio shows, Dr. Thubo emphasizes the importance of ensuring access to sexual and reproductive health services for those who needed them during the COVID-19 crisis. “We inform listeners that despite disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic, it is important to pay attention to their sexual and reproductive health,” he says. “We let them know that they can access a wide range of reproductive health services from our clinics that are still open. They include family planning, safe motherhood (prenatal, safe delivery and post-natal care), treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and cervical cancer screening, preventive, and treatment. We also offer information and counseling on comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) that is mainly targeted at the youth,” he continues. The discussions also highlight the plight of women and girls during pandemics. “We are aware of the difficulties that many women face due to restrictions brought about by COVID-19,” says nurse Naima. “Since the vulnerability of women and girls is particularly heightened in times of crisis, we discuss ways women and girls could avoid risks such as unintended pregnancy, unsafe abortion, early marriage, sexually transmitted infections and gender-based violence. We also stress the importance of family planning, including use of condoms.” Describing the shows as very interactive, Dr. Thubo says many callers want information about the effects of COVID-19 on their reproductive health, as well as where RHASS clinics are located. “Some callers want to know if COVID-19 could affect their fertility, and about the range of services available at our clinics. Some also want to know what RHASS is doing about taking SRHR and COVID-19 information to remote communities, especially those that are not literate,” he adds. “Others want to discuss the importance of parents talking to their children about their bodies. They ask us how we are sensitizing parents who don’t allow their daughters to talk about their sexuality. We address all these questions and invite the listeners to come to our clinics for more information and services,” he notes. RHASS continues to provide routine SRH services in the following static clinics: Two family health clinics I and II in Juba (Central Equatoria State); one in Torit (Eastern Equatoria State); and one in Bor (Jonglei State) after putting in place the recommended measure for preventing the spread of COVID-19. It also has supported facilities in Yei (Central Equatoria State) and Wau (Western Bahr El Ghazal State). However, activities involving more than 10 people, including outreach services (mobile clinics), peer to peer educational sessions, workshops, meetings and dialogues have been suspended. Cover photo: Naima Brown and Dr. Abraham John Thubo on Radio Miraya 101FM Juba on 15 April 2020. Other photos: Naima and Dr. Thubo on City Fm Juba on 7 April 2020. Follow Reproductive Health Association of South Sudan (RHASS) on Twitter here and Facebook here. For more information about the work of IPPF Africa Region, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Planned-Parenthood-Association-of-Sierra-Leone
07 April 2020

Scoring Goals for Healthy Life Choices: Bo’s Cinema Hall in Sierra Leone

By Maryanne W. Waweru Bo, Sierra Leone --Liverpool FC, Arsenal FC, Chelsea FC, Manchester United FC, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid… these are the logos of some the world’s popular football clubs that adorn the outer walls of the youth-friendly cinema hall of the Planned Parenthood Association of Sierra Leone (PPASL) health center in Bo. Bo is Sierra Leone’s second largest city, located in the Eastern region.   Undoubtedly, soccer is one of the most loved sport in the country. In almost every open space –from the sandy beaches of Freetown in the capital city to the countryside and all across the country, you will not miss to see groups of young people playing the sport. Little boys, adolescents, teenagers, youth and adults alike look for every opportunity they can to kick ball. As they do so, tens, hundreds and even thousands of fans line the makeshift pitches, cheering their stars on. Football is a game that brings Sierra Leonians together and is the perfect conversation starter for many, especially boys and men. They have many role models to look up to in the country, such as Mohamed Kallon and Kei Kamara -Sierra Leone’s most-loved football stars who are also revered at the international level due to their prowess in the sport.  To enhance male involvement in sexual and reproductive health issues, PPASL has successfully tapped into this opportunity by using football to reach adolescent boys and young men with life-saving reproductive health information and services. At the PPASL youth-friendly cinema hall in Bo is a television set that broadcasts different premier league soccer matches –both local and international, featuring popular football clubs. Boys and young men stream in and out of the cinema hall at different times of the day and week, depending on the matches being broadcast. “The cinema hall is a hot spot for the young male folk in Bo, and is particularly busy on Saturdays and Sundays when they are not in school, college or at work. Unlike other cinema halls in Bo that charge a fee, access to the PPASL youth-friendly cinema hall is free of charge. This helps in attracting more of them to the hall,” says Richard Lamin, the Youth Action Movement Chairperson of PPASL’s Bo region. Richard Lamin, YAM Chair, Bo Regular screening of football matches at the cinema hall means regular engagement of these young people. It is a great opportunity to offer education on sexual reproductive health. During half-time, PPASL peer educators carry out informative talks with the audience. They share information on different topics such as the importance of knowing one’s HIV status, the practice of safe sex, drugs and substance abuse, peer pressure, and information on Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). The peer educators also conduct condom demonstrations. Documentaries on HIV and AIDS, safe sex behaviour, teen pregnancies, STIs and related topics are also broadcast during breaks between the football games. These are usually interactive sessions, where the audience asks various questions in a bid to broaden their understanding on sexual health. “Throughout the football screenings, there is a ‘help desk’ at a corner in the cinema hall, where the youth can access a wide range of information material on sexual and reproductive health. The material includes leaflets, booklets, pamphlets and brochures. Both male and female condoms are given to the youth for free. A volunteer peer educator with PPASL’s Youth Action Movement (YAM) is always present to provide additional information and counseling,” says Lamin. For those who need to know their HIV status, Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) services are available at the PPASL youth-friendly clinic, located within the same compound. Those who need family planning services, STI treatment or other services can also access them at the youth-friendly clinic. Lamin says that each month, the cinema hall directly reaches about 120 youth with information and services about their sexual reproductive health. “The cinema hall acts as a safe space for adolescents and youth to learn more about their sexual and reproductive health, while engaging in something they love; soccer. It is indeed an effective way that enables them to make better and informed choices about their health and well-being, hence scoring goals for sexual and reproductive health!”. Maryanne W. Waweru is the Governance and Compliance Officer, IPPF Africa Region. For more information about the work of IPPF Africa Region, connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. 

YAM CAR
03 December 2019

Growing as a Youth Advocate: Pounika Theoneste's Story

By Maryanne W. Waweru Pounika Theoneste is a 21-year old university student studying Law. He is also a volunteer with the Youth Action Movement (YAM) member in IPPF’s Member Association in the Central African Republic -Association Centrafricaine pour le Bien-Etre Familial (ACABEF). We caught up with him at the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) taking place in Kigali, Rwanda (2 - 7 December 2019). He spoke to Maryanne W. Waweru about his experiences as a young volunteer with ACABEF's YAM program.  "I decided to become a YAM member two years ago. My interest in doing so arose from the need to increase my knowledge about sexuality issues. While growing up, I didn’t receive much information from my parents about issues of sex and reproductive health, so when I heard about ACABEF’s youth program, I decided to join it so that I could learn more,” he says. Since joining in 2017, Pounika has been trained as a peer youth educator, and has been empowered to educate fellow youth. He is a peer educator with the JeuneS3 project, which aims to deliver Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) information and services to young people in vulnerable contexts, more so women and young girls. His participation in the JeuneS3 project has also seen Pounika receive training in radio journalism and radio production. Each week, he and his fellow youth advocates produce a show targeting young people with SRHR information. This includes information about health centers where they can get youth-friendly services. The shows are produced by the youth, for the youth. Pounika and his team also produce radio broadcasts for ‘Listening Clubs. This involves going to the community and mobilizing young people to come together to listen to the shows produced by Pounika and the team. “During the ‘Listening Club’ outreaches, we are always accompanied by a health service provider. After listening to the episodes, the youth ask many questions, which our team competently answers,” he says. Pounika believes his volunteer activities with ACABEF are helping him even as he pursues his career goals. “I hope to become a reproductive health rights advocate in the future, and the opportunities that I have gotten by being a YAM member are helping me work towards my goal. This exposure has broadened my understanding of the challenges that young people face regarding their sexual and reproductive health, the gaps that exist, and the solutions that can bring change. My work with YAM is also helping me gather insights and perspectives into how the development, improvement and implementation of policies that affect young people and their reproductive health are instrumental in this,” he concludes. If you are young person and would like to join the Youth Action Movement, see where we work and get in touch. You can also reach us through @YAM Africa Maryanne W. Waweru is the Governance and Compliance Officer, IPPF Africa Region. For more updates on our work, follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Oswald-Homeky
08 November 2019

Benin Sports Minister Reiterates Commitment to Supporting the Youth SRHR Agenda During Regional Francophone Forum

By Maryanne W. Waweru Cotonou, BENIN: The Minister of Sports Mr. Oswald Homeky joined youth from French-speaking sub-Saharan African countries during the closing ceremony of the second edition of the Francophone regional forum aimed at sharing best practices on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) among adolescents and young people. The regional forum was organized by the Benin chapter of the Youth Action Movement (YAM) and was supported by the Embassy of Netherlands in Benin, together with IPPF. It brought together over 150 youth from 20 different countries. YAM is the youth arm of IPPF Africa Region’s volunteer body based within the Member Associations (MAs). The Sports Minister congratulated the youth for their noble initiative of knowledge exchange between each other, especially on the crucial matter of their sexual reproductive health and well-being. Mr. Homeky further appreciated the work of IPPF’s Member Association in Benin - Association Béninoise pour la Promotion de la Famille (ABPF) and its partners in putting youth at the forefront and prioritizing the youth agenda in their programs. The Sports Minister committed to increasing the budget for youth Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) activities. He also acknowledged the importance of Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) and reiterated his availability to support young people’s meaningful participation in development matters. Mr. Homeky pledged to support the implementation of recommendations from the forum. See Related Story: Regional Forum on SRHR Best Practices Among Youth in Francophone Africa During the meeting, IPPFAR’s Regional President Hon. Antonio Niquice lauded the brilliant initiative by the young people of Francophone Africa in coming together to share experiences and discuss about how they can tackle some of the sexual and reproductive health challenges facing them. He emphasized IPPF’s commitment to promoting youth-centered approaches and support the implementation of the resolutions from the forum. Maryanne W. Waweru is the Governance and Compliance Officer, IPPF Africa Region. For more information about the work of IPPF Africa Region, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Family Health Options Kenya (FHOK)
28 August 2019

How a Smart Card has Enhanced FHOK’s Delivery of Quality SRH Services

Delivering Quality SRH Services through use of SMARTCARE: FHOK’s experience with eCMIS In 2010, Family Health Options Kenya (FHOK) which is IPPF's Member Association in Kenya shifted from service-oriented data collection to the use of client cards, then to a fully client-based system (CMIS) that involves data capturing and reporting. This electronic data management system is called ‘SMART Care’. The rationale for the use of the electronic data management system was that, with stakeholders demanding accurate client-related data, and FHOK geared at moving towards performance-based funding, its clinic systems therefore needed to be those that could efficiently support providers in managing client flow whilst providing quality care. The implementation of the SMART Care system began with a pilot that was initiated in five FHOK clinics distributed across the country. They were: Family Care Medical Centre Nairobi West Family Care Medical Centre Nakuru Family Care Medical Centre Ribeiro Family Care Medical Centre Mombasa Family Care Medical Centre Meru Methodology Formation of a CMIS team to spearhead resource mobilization, training and implementation of the system. They included: Director of clinic services, the Monitoring & Evaluation team, GCACI Project Manager, IT Manager, accountant, internal auditor and Procurement Manager Selling the benefits of the system and demonstrating incentives for those involved in its implementation to utilize the system. This included showing them the reports generated by the system, analysis of data entered into the system and a user-friendly graphical user interface Creating a sense of ownership and addressing the psychological fears of the service providers before implementing the system. Some of the fears included not knowing how to use a software, possible loss of data, investigations and the general ‘fear of the unknown’                                                                                               Inclusion of customized reporting tools to assist in reporting to the various partners i.e. FHOK internal reports, IPPF, Ministry of Health and other donors Conducting on-the-job training as opposed to offsite training as the trainees were able to practice with real clients and hence gained hands-on skills Regular checking of data by the clinic manager and the team at the head office during facilitative supervisory visits which continues to ensure that service providers are keen to capture the correct data which improves quality Integration with SMS system for appointment reminders and client follow-up Results Currently, 14 out of 15 FHOK clinics are utilizing the SMART care system to capture financial, programmatic data and stock management (commodities) data. The use of SMART Care has significantly helped FHOK avoid cases of stock-outs The SMART Care system has enhanced accurate and timely collection of data from different service delivery points, which has improved data quality The data generated is actively used for decision-making at both clinic and Head office level. For example, the clinic can review data client trends and put necessary strategies to improve performance or make changes There has been an increase in service statistics in most clinics since the installation of the system                                                                                                                Minimized loss of data as the service providers can use one data collection system instead of many registers It has helped in the management of human resources at clinic level. Previously, the clinics would use client cards, daily activity register, prescription pads and lab request forms. But with the paperless SMART Care system, operational costs have now reduced as the clinic manager can monitor and analyze what is happening in the clinic from his/her office here has been reduction in the loss regarding follow up on clients as the system automatically sends Short Text Messages (SMS) to clients to remind them of their appointment Most of the FHOK clinics extended their operating hours after review of the system which showed some clients preferred to attend the services after working hours Reliability and accuracy of the information collected as it is easier to retrieve data and even verify “SMART Care has significantly reduced the workload of our service providers when it comes to capturing of essential data in real time, and consequent generation of reports. Through SMART Care, consumer specific reports -MoH, FHOK, IPPF and donor reports are readily generated at the end of each month by our health personnel within a very short time. The system has gone a long way in ensuring quality data and enhancing compliance to reporting timelines within FHOK,” says Esther Muketo, Director, Resource Mobilization at FHOK. ‘If I didn’t receive an SMS reminding me of my appointment, I wouldn’t have remembered to come for my family planning resupply” One FP client told a provider Conclusion The SMART Care system is one that can be adopted by other Member Associations as it saves immensely on time and money. It has enhanced accurate and timely collection of data from different service delivery points which has in turn improved data quality. Reduced workload is a huge incentive to service providers doing different reports for the different FHOK partners, including the Ministry of Health. Operation costs have reduced and the Clinic Manager can now monitor and analyze what is happening in the clinic from the comfort of his/her seat. FHOK's social franchising model was identified as one of the Member Association’s Good Practices during the 3rd Cycle of Accreditation. A Good Practice is an activity or practice that  has been proven to work and yields positive results. The  sharing of Good Practices by IPPF Member Associations offers learning experiences for their counterparts. See other Good Practices from our Member Associations: Social Franchising for Reproductive Health Services: The Experience of Family Guidance Association of Ethiopia (FGAE) Implementation of The Evidence for Contraceptive Options and HIV Outcomes (ECHO) Trial in Eswatini Partnerships for Improved Maternal Health: The Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG) Experience Partnership with Armed Rebel Groups in the Provision of SRH Services in Crisis Situations: The Central African Republic (CAR) Experience Leading Efforts to End Child Marriage: The Case of Senior Chief Theresa Kachindamoto of Malawi Mobile Clinics in Cape Verde: Taking Services Closer to the People Awarding the Best Performing Clinics: Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association (LPPA) What’s in a Game? ABUBEF’s use of Playing Cards for Youth SRHR Education For more information about the work of IPPF Africa Region, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Thabo Phohleli
04 July 2019

"How Volunteering is Helping me Learn More about Myself" Thabo Phohleli's Story

By Maryanne W. Waweru On a chilly Thursday morning, Thabo Phohleli is busy at the Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association (LPPA) Thakaneng clinic, refilling condoms in the condom dispenser. Each day, he ensures that there is enough supply in the dispenser for those who will need them. As he does so, he chats with his friend Bahlakoana Malelu in a hearty conversation punctuated with warm laughter. The two are young volunteers with LPPA, and are passionate about empowering their fellow youth. You can read Bahlakoana's story here. IPPF ARO's Maryanne W. Waweru spoke to Thabo about his volunteer experiences with LPPA.  “I joined LPPA’s youth volunteer programme (Youth Action Movement -YAM) in 2017. For about a year before then, I had been closely following the activities of the YAM peer educators in my home area. I liked what they did, and that’s when I decided to join. Upon joining, I was trained as a peer educator and started participating in outreach activities. This involved going to schools and in the community where we talked to young people about their sexual reproductive health. On most days, you’ll find me hanging out at the Thakaneng youth center together with my peers. At the youth-friendly corner, we participate in lots of fun activities, games and challenges and this helps keep us positively engaged during the day. We also learn a lot about our sexual health and when necessary, we seek youth-friendly services at the clinic. My participation in the youth center activities has helped me stay focused and keep out of trouble as a young person.  I am a very social person who loves talking and interacting with people. The activities that I participate in as a YAM member have helped strengthen my social networking skills and expand my social networks as I have gotten to interact with so many people in different forums. I have become more confident and I'm able to better express myself. I have also found out something about myself -when people have problems, they tend to come to me. This is because I’m a good listener. I’m always happy to help young people going through difficult situations. Personal Growth In addition to growing our leadership skills, LPPA gives young people the opportunity to learn certain life skills. For example, we once organized a fundraising campaign where we undertook a carwash activity. From this, we were able to raise funds that helped us cater for the expenses of some of our outreaches. We were also able to purchase and brand YAM t-shirts with the funds raised. This activity helped us learn about strategy, teamwork, respect for others’ opinions, communication and money management. I am also involved in other LPPA programs, such as awareness creation of the Voluntary Male Medical Circumcision (VMMC) program among men in the community and mobilizing them for respective services which are offered at LPPA’s Male Clinic in Maseru. Through my participation in the program, I have come to learn of the benefits of VMMC with regard to HIV prevention. This is information that I share with other men. All the activities that I engage in as a volunteer with LPPA have helped me spend my time wisely and exert my energies in a positive way; helping other people." If you are young person and would like to join the Youth Action Movement, see where we work and get in touch. You can also reach us through @YAM Africa Maryanne W. Waweru is the Governance and Compliance Officer, IPPF Africa Region. For more updates on our work, follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Michelle Phiri
26 June 2019

"My Volunteer Work Enabled me to Travel Outside my Country" -Michelle Grace

By Maryanne W. WAWERU Michelle Grace Phiri is a 21-year-old undergraduate student at the University of Malawi; Chancellor College. She is a member of the Youth Action Movement (YAM) in the Family Planning Association of Malawi (FPAM) and also serves in its governance structure. In this article, Michelle talks about her volunteer experiences and the lessons she continues to learn along the way. When Did you join the Youth Action Movement (YAM)? I joined YAM three years ago while in my second year of college. This was in 2016 when YAM was introduced at Chancellor College where I’m currently pursuing my undergraduate studies. I had come across a flier on the college notice board by FPAM inviting volunteers to join the program. Since I’ve always been interested in issues around youth and development, I quickly enrolled. I was one of the pioneer YAM members at Chancellor College and was elected by my peers to serve as the YAM Secretary for the Chancellor College chapter from 2016 - 2017. Today, I serve in the YAM leadership at the national level as the YAM National Treasurer General – a position I was elected to in December 2017. What Activities Do You Engage in as a YAM Volunteer? I am engaged in peer education activities. I participate in outreaches which we mostly undertake in secondary schools and colleges. During the outreaches, we share information about sexual reproductive health. We answer young people’s questions about sexuality by giving them information that helps clarify many of the myths and misconceptions they have. Some of the frequently asked questions include those around the menstrual cycle, safe days and condom use. I also offer counseling support to those who reach out to me -especially my college-mates. Where necessary, I refer them for further management to the student counsellor or the campus student clinic. In addition, owing to my work with YAM, my peers in campus approach me for information on emergency contraceptives and condoms. I often refer them to the nearest FPAM clinic in Zomba where youth-friendly services are offered. There are times when I have met some of my college-mates who, months later, tell me that because of a conversation I had with them, or an outreach I participated in, they learned something new and changed their behavior. This motivates me very much as it assures me that my volunteer work is directly benefiting individual's lives.   What Has Been one of your Most Memorable Moments as a YAM Volunteer? In January 2017, FPAM nominated me to attend the African Union summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as a youth volunteer representing the organization. This stirred the volunteer spirit in me because I honestly never thought I would ever be considered for such an opportunity. It was such a great honor to travel to another country because of my volunteer work! While attending the summit in Ethiopia, I learned a lot about advocacy and the need to raise our voices as African youth. I also got to interact with YAM members from other African countries such as Niger, Chad and Zambia, where we exchanged notes on how to improve our work. It was also a good networking opportunity for me as I got to interact with notable African youth leaders -including parliamentarians. I have also been able to travel to Nairobi, Kenya, to attend IPPF Africa Region statutory meetings. These include the youth forum and the Regional Council. During these forums, I have been able to gain immensely from my interaction with other volunteers and leaders within the Africa region. What is Your Encouragement to Young People Regarding Voluntarism? While offering your services to the community on a voluntary basis is certainly not easy, it teaches you a lot about the value of humanity. Also, interaction with people from other areas other than your comfort zone helps you realize more about yourself and grow you as an individual. Volunteering also helps you learn a lot from the organizations you choose to volunteer with, such as the concept of work ethics. It exposes you to the professional environment and helps prepare you for your future career. I would therefore like to encourage young people to seek out volunteer opportunities in organizations that align well with their goals. I’m glad that FPAM is one such organization. If you are young person and would like to join the Youth Action Movement, see where we work and get in touch. You can also reach us through @YAM Africa Maryanne W. Waweru is the Governance and Compliance Officer, IPPF Africa Region. For more updates on our work, follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Olgah Daphynne Namukuza
12 June 2019

Volunteer Voices: Olgah Daphynne Namukuza's Story

Olgah Daphynne Namukuza is a young volunteer with our Member Association in Uganda - Reproductive Health Uganda. She also holds various leadership positions within IPPF; she is the youth representative in the IPPF Africa Region Executive Committee, and is also an IPPF Governing Council member. What inspired Olgah to become a volunteer? What has she gained from being a volunteer? What have been her contributions as a young leader? What is her encouragement to other young people who wish to have meaningful impact in their community? In this video, Olgah tells it all. If you are young person and would like to join the Youth Action Movement, see where we work and get in touch. You can also reach us through @YAM Africa Story by Maryanne W. Waweru, Governance and Compliance Officer, IPPF Africa Region

elise-kenimbeni
04 June 2020

My Experience as a Journalist Reporting on Sexual and Reproductive Health in Africa - Elise Kenimbeni

Elise Kenimbeni is a prolific journalist from Cameroon in Central Africa. She talks about how her passion for sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) was nurtured by IPPF Africa Region, and how she is today a SRHR champion for the #RightByHer Campaign. The #RightByHer is a campaign that is pushing for the implementation of continental commitments, specifically the Maputo Protocol and Maputo Plan of Action. The campaign works with champions including  young men and women, First Ladies, parliamentarians, journalists, feminists and religious leaders to raise awareness in their circles of influence and push for implementation of policies on gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights in Africa. "My name is Elise Kenimbeni, a journalist with TimesNews2.info in Cameroon. I was trained in writing about health issues in 2012, and later on in sexual and reproductive health and rights by two local non-governmental organizations in my country. I however developed more interest in reporting on SRHR issues when I produced some sponsored radio programmes for IPPF’s Member Association (MA) in my country -Cameroon National Association for Family Welfare (CAMNAFAW). Through this work, I got the opportunity to join the IPPF Africa Region’s journalists’ network in November 2014. As a member of the journalists’ network, I attended a capacity building training workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, where I met journalists from other African countries who had impacted on their respective communities by reporting on development issues. The journalists –from Togo, Uganda and Kenya – had won media awards and during the three days’ workshop, they share their experiences.  I was really moved by their stories and I asked myself, if their reporting could impact the lives of people, why couldn’t I do the same with the resources I had? From the Newsroom to the Field I decided to sharpen my skills and knowledge on SRHR issues by working with CAMNAFAW when I returned home. For several months, I worked closely with CAMNAFAW’s youth and Gender Advocacy Officer, who taught me how to write impactful reports. This came as a big boost to my writing as I got more interested in issues affecting refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and vulnerable groups like young girls and women in northern Cameroon. Most of the time I tried to put myself in the shoes of these people and my first reaction was to go to the field and get stories about their lives. My passion grew when I was supported by IPPF Africa Region to get out of the newsroom and go to the field to write more stories about people’s lives. Reporting, Building and Growing Networks I was inspired and worked hard and hoped that I would be recognized for my efforts. I traveled long distances by road and railway to the eastern and northern parts of Cameroon to cover SRHR issues including female genital mutilation (FGM), early child marriages, obstetric fistula, maternal and infant mortality, HIV and AIDS and use of modern contraceptives by the youth. I established good relationships with local and international organizations, as well as with other journalists and community agents, who helped me get reliable statistics and facts from the ground. I also interviewed refugees and IDPs following the Boko Haram crisis. Many of the people I met during this time have become my friends and I often call them to get updates on what is going on in their regions. I even worked in hostile environments, but I never relented. I was motivated and believed I could write stories that would highlight important issues and push the government to address them. As a journalist and champion for the #RightByHer campaign, I have been involved in many advocacy activities and workshops as well as the action learning sessions organized in Belgium and Kenya by IPPF and its consortium partners in the State of the Africa Woman (SOWAC) project. I also learnt how to conduct scientific data research for my reports during a similar workshop held in Navaisha, Kenya. Through this platform, I have met and shared ideas with many champions from all walks of life: journalists, activists, feminists, and religious leaders. As a media practitioner, I have learned a lot about how we can move the African SRHR agenda forward. All this knowledge has helped me as I cover the current COVID-19 pandemic in Cameroon. Most of the articles I write for my online media are from information shared via Facebook or WhatsApp by some experts, NGOs, the government or institutions. I am also working on a series of reports on how COVID-19 is affecting SRHR. Due to the containment measures to stop the spread of the virus, I am not doing any field work at the moment. The current health crisis has highlighted the need for a robust health policy to address loopholes in our country’s weak health infrastructure. There is also need to set up a good communication strategy in various local languages to reach the grassroots with information on how to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease and engage community health workers in the fight against COVID-19." Follow Elise Kenimbeni on Twitter here. For more information about the work of IPPF Africa Region, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Family-Guidance-Association-of-Ethiopia
12 May 2020

Ethiopia: Raising Awareness on COVID-19 Through Video

In a bid to complement the government’s efforts to raise awareness about COVID-19, Family Guidance Association of Ethiopia (FGAE) has created a short video that communicates the importance of undertaking preventive measures to stop the spread of the disease.   The 65-second-long video shares information about the need for practicing good hygiene, wearing of facemasks, social distancing, and other quarantine measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus. The video carries subtitles in Amharic -the national language that is understood by all Ethiopians across the country. The video has been shared multiple times on FGAE’s social media platforms, reaching thousands of Ethiopians. It has also been broadcast in 46 FGAE-owned health facilities across the country. In addition, the video has been screened at various public television screens in major towns in Ethiopia. Learn more about FGAE's work in Ethiopia here.

Reproductive Health Association of South Sudan (RHASS)
06 May 2020

Using Radio to Promote SRHR During COVID-19: the Case of Reproductive Health Association of South Sudan (RHASS)

IPPF’s collaborative partner in South Sudan, Reproductive Health Association of South Sudan (RHASS), is working closely with different media houses to increase public awareness on the impact of COVID-19 on sexual and reproductive health (SRH) in the country. Its participation in radio shows have also contributed towards establishing RHASS as a leader in SRH in South Sudan. RHASS staff, Dr. Abraham John Thubo -a Project Manager, and Ms. Naima Brown, the head nurse, have been participating in interactive and educative shows in two popular radio stations: City FM Juba and Radio Miraya. The shows have reached a combined audience of over 25,000 South Sudanese, for whom radio is a primary source of information. City FM Juba is a unique youth-focused private, independent commercial radio station based in Juba. It reaches a wide audience through its broadcasts which are mainly in English and in Juba Arabic, a lingua franca spoken in parts of the Equatoria State. Radio Miraya on the other hand, is owned and run by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). The station covers 10 states through relay stations from the capital in Juba. During the radio shows, Dr. Thubo emphasizes the importance of ensuring access to sexual and reproductive health services for those who needed them during the COVID-19 crisis. “We inform listeners that despite disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic, it is important to pay attention to their sexual and reproductive health,” he says. “We let them know that they can access a wide range of reproductive health services from our clinics that are still open. They include family planning, safe motherhood (prenatal, safe delivery and post-natal care), treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and cervical cancer screening, preventive, and treatment. We also offer information and counseling on comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) that is mainly targeted at the youth,” he continues. The discussions also highlight the plight of women and girls during pandemics. “We are aware of the difficulties that many women face due to restrictions brought about by COVID-19,” says nurse Naima. “Since the vulnerability of women and girls is particularly heightened in times of crisis, we discuss ways women and girls could avoid risks such as unintended pregnancy, unsafe abortion, early marriage, sexually transmitted infections and gender-based violence. We also stress the importance of family planning, including use of condoms.” Describing the shows as very interactive, Dr. Thubo says many callers want information about the effects of COVID-19 on their reproductive health, as well as where RHASS clinics are located. “Some callers want to know if COVID-19 could affect their fertility, and about the range of services available at our clinics. Some also want to know what RHASS is doing about taking SRHR and COVID-19 information to remote communities, especially those that are not literate,” he adds. “Others want to discuss the importance of parents talking to their children about their bodies. They ask us how we are sensitizing parents who don’t allow their daughters to talk about their sexuality. We address all these questions and invite the listeners to come to our clinics for more information and services,” he notes. RHASS continues to provide routine SRH services in the following static clinics: Two family health clinics I and II in Juba (Central Equatoria State); one in Torit (Eastern Equatoria State); and one in Bor (Jonglei State) after putting in place the recommended measure for preventing the spread of COVID-19. It also has supported facilities in Yei (Central Equatoria State) and Wau (Western Bahr El Ghazal State). However, activities involving more than 10 people, including outreach services (mobile clinics), peer to peer educational sessions, workshops, meetings and dialogues have been suspended. Cover photo: Naima Brown and Dr. Abraham John Thubo on Radio Miraya 101FM Juba on 15 April 2020. Other photos: Naima and Dr. Thubo on City Fm Juba on 7 April 2020. Follow Reproductive Health Association of South Sudan (RHASS) on Twitter here and Facebook here. For more information about the work of IPPF Africa Region, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Planned-Parenthood-Association-of-Sierra-Leone
07 April 2020

Scoring Goals for Healthy Life Choices: Bo’s Cinema Hall in Sierra Leone

By Maryanne W. Waweru Bo, Sierra Leone --Liverpool FC, Arsenal FC, Chelsea FC, Manchester United FC, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid… these are the logos of some the world’s popular football clubs that adorn the outer walls of the youth-friendly cinema hall of the Planned Parenthood Association of Sierra Leone (PPASL) health center in Bo. Bo is Sierra Leone’s second largest city, located in the Eastern region.   Undoubtedly, soccer is one of the most loved sport in the country. In almost every open space –from the sandy beaches of Freetown in the capital city to the countryside and all across the country, you will not miss to see groups of young people playing the sport. Little boys, adolescents, teenagers, youth and adults alike look for every opportunity they can to kick ball. As they do so, tens, hundreds and even thousands of fans line the makeshift pitches, cheering their stars on. Football is a game that brings Sierra Leonians together and is the perfect conversation starter for many, especially boys and men. They have many role models to look up to in the country, such as Mohamed Kallon and Kei Kamara -Sierra Leone’s most-loved football stars who are also revered at the international level due to their prowess in the sport.  To enhance male involvement in sexual and reproductive health issues, PPASL has successfully tapped into this opportunity by using football to reach adolescent boys and young men with life-saving reproductive health information and services. At the PPASL youth-friendly cinema hall in Bo is a television set that broadcasts different premier league soccer matches –both local and international, featuring popular football clubs. Boys and young men stream in and out of the cinema hall at different times of the day and week, depending on the matches being broadcast. “The cinema hall is a hot spot for the young male folk in Bo, and is particularly busy on Saturdays and Sundays when they are not in school, college or at work. Unlike other cinema halls in Bo that charge a fee, access to the PPASL youth-friendly cinema hall is free of charge. This helps in attracting more of them to the hall,” says Richard Lamin, the Youth Action Movement Chairperson of PPASL’s Bo region. Richard Lamin, YAM Chair, Bo Regular screening of football matches at the cinema hall means regular engagement of these young people. It is a great opportunity to offer education on sexual reproductive health. During half-time, PPASL peer educators carry out informative talks with the audience. They share information on different topics such as the importance of knowing one’s HIV status, the practice of safe sex, drugs and substance abuse, peer pressure, and information on Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). The peer educators also conduct condom demonstrations. Documentaries on HIV and AIDS, safe sex behaviour, teen pregnancies, STIs and related topics are also broadcast during breaks between the football games. These are usually interactive sessions, where the audience asks various questions in a bid to broaden their understanding on sexual health. “Throughout the football screenings, there is a ‘help desk’ at a corner in the cinema hall, where the youth can access a wide range of information material on sexual and reproductive health. The material includes leaflets, booklets, pamphlets and brochures. Both male and female condoms are given to the youth for free. A volunteer peer educator with PPASL’s Youth Action Movement (YAM) is always present to provide additional information and counseling,” says Lamin. For those who need to know their HIV status, Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) services are available at the PPASL youth-friendly clinic, located within the same compound. Those who need family planning services, STI treatment or other services can also access them at the youth-friendly clinic. Lamin says that each month, the cinema hall directly reaches about 120 youth with information and services about their sexual reproductive health. “The cinema hall acts as a safe space for adolescents and youth to learn more about their sexual and reproductive health, while engaging in something they love; soccer. It is indeed an effective way that enables them to make better and informed choices about their health and well-being, hence scoring goals for sexual and reproductive health!”. Maryanne W. Waweru is the Governance and Compliance Officer, IPPF Africa Region. For more information about the work of IPPF Africa Region, connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. 

YAM CAR
03 December 2019

Growing as a Youth Advocate: Pounika Theoneste's Story

By Maryanne W. Waweru Pounika Theoneste is a 21-year old university student studying Law. He is also a volunteer with the Youth Action Movement (YAM) member in IPPF’s Member Association in the Central African Republic -Association Centrafricaine pour le Bien-Etre Familial (ACABEF). We caught up with him at the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) taking place in Kigali, Rwanda (2 - 7 December 2019). He spoke to Maryanne W. Waweru about his experiences as a young volunteer with ACABEF's YAM program.  "I decided to become a YAM member two years ago. My interest in doing so arose from the need to increase my knowledge about sexuality issues. While growing up, I didn’t receive much information from my parents about issues of sex and reproductive health, so when I heard about ACABEF’s youth program, I decided to join it so that I could learn more,” he says. Since joining in 2017, Pounika has been trained as a peer youth educator, and has been empowered to educate fellow youth. He is a peer educator with the JeuneS3 project, which aims to deliver Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) information and services to young people in vulnerable contexts, more so women and young girls. His participation in the JeuneS3 project has also seen Pounika receive training in radio journalism and radio production. Each week, he and his fellow youth advocates produce a show targeting young people with SRHR information. This includes information about health centers where they can get youth-friendly services. The shows are produced by the youth, for the youth. Pounika and his team also produce radio broadcasts for ‘Listening Clubs. This involves going to the community and mobilizing young people to come together to listen to the shows produced by Pounika and the team. “During the ‘Listening Club’ outreaches, we are always accompanied by a health service provider. After listening to the episodes, the youth ask many questions, which our team competently answers,” he says. Pounika believes his volunteer activities with ACABEF are helping him even as he pursues his career goals. “I hope to become a reproductive health rights advocate in the future, and the opportunities that I have gotten by being a YAM member are helping me work towards my goal. This exposure has broadened my understanding of the challenges that young people face regarding their sexual and reproductive health, the gaps that exist, and the solutions that can bring change. My work with YAM is also helping me gather insights and perspectives into how the development, improvement and implementation of policies that affect young people and their reproductive health are instrumental in this,” he concludes. If you are young person and would like to join the Youth Action Movement, see where we work and get in touch. You can also reach us through @YAM Africa Maryanne W. Waweru is the Governance and Compliance Officer, IPPF Africa Region. For more updates on our work, follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Oswald-Homeky
08 November 2019

Benin Sports Minister Reiterates Commitment to Supporting the Youth SRHR Agenda During Regional Francophone Forum

By Maryanne W. Waweru Cotonou, BENIN: The Minister of Sports Mr. Oswald Homeky joined youth from French-speaking sub-Saharan African countries during the closing ceremony of the second edition of the Francophone regional forum aimed at sharing best practices on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) among adolescents and young people. The regional forum was organized by the Benin chapter of the Youth Action Movement (YAM) and was supported by the Embassy of Netherlands in Benin, together with IPPF. It brought together over 150 youth from 20 different countries. YAM is the youth arm of IPPF Africa Region’s volunteer body based within the Member Associations (MAs). The Sports Minister congratulated the youth for their noble initiative of knowledge exchange between each other, especially on the crucial matter of their sexual reproductive health and well-being. Mr. Homeky further appreciated the work of IPPF’s Member Association in Benin - Association Béninoise pour la Promotion de la Famille (ABPF) and its partners in putting youth at the forefront and prioritizing the youth agenda in their programs. The Sports Minister committed to increasing the budget for youth Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) activities. He also acknowledged the importance of Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) and reiterated his availability to support young people’s meaningful participation in development matters. Mr. Homeky pledged to support the implementation of recommendations from the forum. See Related Story: Regional Forum on SRHR Best Practices Among Youth in Francophone Africa During the meeting, IPPFAR’s Regional President Hon. Antonio Niquice lauded the brilliant initiative by the young people of Francophone Africa in coming together to share experiences and discuss about how they can tackle some of the sexual and reproductive health challenges facing them. He emphasized IPPF’s commitment to promoting youth-centered approaches and support the implementation of the resolutions from the forum. Maryanne W. Waweru is the Governance and Compliance Officer, IPPF Africa Region. For more information about the work of IPPF Africa Region, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Family Health Options Kenya (FHOK)
28 August 2019

How a Smart Card has Enhanced FHOK’s Delivery of Quality SRH Services

Delivering Quality SRH Services through use of SMARTCARE: FHOK’s experience with eCMIS In 2010, Family Health Options Kenya (FHOK) which is IPPF's Member Association in Kenya shifted from service-oriented data collection to the use of client cards, then to a fully client-based system (CMIS) that involves data capturing and reporting. This electronic data management system is called ‘SMART Care’. The rationale for the use of the electronic data management system was that, with stakeholders demanding accurate client-related data, and FHOK geared at moving towards performance-based funding, its clinic systems therefore needed to be those that could efficiently support providers in managing client flow whilst providing quality care. The implementation of the SMART Care system began with a pilot that was initiated in five FHOK clinics distributed across the country. They were: Family Care Medical Centre Nairobi West Family Care Medical Centre Nakuru Family Care Medical Centre Ribeiro Family Care Medical Centre Mombasa Family Care Medical Centre Meru Methodology Formation of a CMIS team to spearhead resource mobilization, training and implementation of the system. They included: Director of clinic services, the Monitoring & Evaluation team, GCACI Project Manager, IT Manager, accountant, internal auditor and Procurement Manager Selling the benefits of the system and demonstrating incentives for those involved in its implementation to utilize the system. This included showing them the reports generated by the system, analysis of data entered into the system and a user-friendly graphical user interface Creating a sense of ownership and addressing the psychological fears of the service providers before implementing the system. Some of the fears included not knowing how to use a software, possible loss of data, investigations and the general ‘fear of the unknown’                                                                                               Inclusion of customized reporting tools to assist in reporting to the various partners i.e. FHOK internal reports, IPPF, Ministry of Health and other donors Conducting on-the-job training as opposed to offsite training as the trainees were able to practice with real clients and hence gained hands-on skills Regular checking of data by the clinic manager and the team at the head office during facilitative supervisory visits which continues to ensure that service providers are keen to capture the correct data which improves quality Integration with SMS system for appointment reminders and client follow-up Results Currently, 14 out of 15 FHOK clinics are utilizing the SMART care system to capture financial, programmatic data and stock management (commodities) data. The use of SMART Care has significantly helped FHOK avoid cases of stock-outs The SMART Care system has enhanced accurate and timely collection of data from different service delivery points, which has improved data quality The data generated is actively used for decision-making at both clinic and Head office level. For example, the clinic can review data client trends and put necessary strategies to improve performance or make changes There has been an increase in service statistics in most clinics since the installation of the system                                                                                                                Minimized loss of data as the service providers can use one data collection system instead of many registers It has helped in the management of human resources at clinic level. Previously, the clinics would use client cards, daily activity register, prescription pads and lab request forms. But with the paperless SMART Care system, operational costs have now reduced as the clinic manager can monitor and analyze what is happening in the clinic from his/her office here has been reduction in the loss regarding follow up on clients as the system automatically sends Short Text Messages (SMS) to clients to remind them of their appointment Most of the FHOK clinics extended their operating hours after review of the system which showed some clients preferred to attend the services after working hours Reliability and accuracy of the information collected as it is easier to retrieve data and even verify “SMART Care has significantly reduced the workload of our service providers when it comes to capturing of essential data in real time, and consequent generation of reports. Through SMART Care, consumer specific reports -MoH, FHOK, IPPF and donor reports are readily generated at the end of each month by our health personnel within a very short time. The system has gone a long way in ensuring quality data and enhancing compliance to reporting timelines within FHOK,” says Esther Muketo, Director, Resource Mobilization at FHOK. ‘If I didn’t receive an SMS reminding me of my appointment, I wouldn’t have remembered to come for my family planning resupply” One FP client told a provider Conclusion The SMART Care system is one that can be adopted by other Member Associations as it saves immensely on time and money. It has enhanced accurate and timely collection of data from different service delivery points which has in turn improved data quality. Reduced workload is a huge incentive to service providers doing different reports for the different FHOK partners, including the Ministry of Health. Operation costs have reduced and the Clinic Manager can now monitor and analyze what is happening in the clinic from the comfort of his/her seat. FHOK's social franchising model was identified as one of the Member Association’s Good Practices during the 3rd Cycle of Accreditation. A Good Practice is an activity or practice that  has been proven to work and yields positive results. The  sharing of Good Practices by IPPF Member Associations offers learning experiences for their counterparts. See other Good Practices from our Member Associations: Social Franchising for Reproductive Health Services: The Experience of Family Guidance Association of Ethiopia (FGAE) Implementation of The Evidence for Contraceptive Options and HIV Outcomes (ECHO) Trial in Eswatini Partnerships for Improved Maternal Health: The Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG) Experience Partnership with Armed Rebel Groups in the Provision of SRH Services in Crisis Situations: The Central African Republic (CAR) Experience Leading Efforts to End Child Marriage: The Case of Senior Chief Theresa Kachindamoto of Malawi Mobile Clinics in Cape Verde: Taking Services Closer to the People Awarding the Best Performing Clinics: Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association (LPPA) What’s in a Game? ABUBEF’s use of Playing Cards for Youth SRHR Education For more information about the work of IPPF Africa Region, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Thabo Phohleli
04 July 2019

"How Volunteering is Helping me Learn More about Myself" Thabo Phohleli's Story

By Maryanne W. Waweru On a chilly Thursday morning, Thabo Phohleli is busy at the Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association (LPPA) Thakaneng clinic, refilling condoms in the condom dispenser. Each day, he ensures that there is enough supply in the dispenser for those who will need them. As he does so, he chats with his friend Bahlakoana Malelu in a hearty conversation punctuated with warm laughter. The two are young volunteers with LPPA, and are passionate about empowering their fellow youth. You can read Bahlakoana's story here. IPPF ARO's Maryanne W. Waweru spoke to Thabo about his volunteer experiences with LPPA.  “I joined LPPA’s youth volunteer programme (Youth Action Movement -YAM) in 2017. For about a year before then, I had been closely following the activities of the YAM peer educators in my home area. I liked what they did, and that’s when I decided to join. Upon joining, I was trained as a peer educator and started participating in outreach activities. This involved going to schools and in the community where we talked to young people about their sexual reproductive health. On most days, you’ll find me hanging out at the Thakaneng youth center together with my peers. At the youth-friendly corner, we participate in lots of fun activities, games and challenges and this helps keep us positively engaged during the day. We also learn a lot about our sexual health and when necessary, we seek youth-friendly services at the clinic. My participation in the youth center activities has helped me stay focused and keep out of trouble as a young person.  I am a very social person who loves talking and interacting with people. The activities that I participate in as a YAM member have helped strengthen my social networking skills and expand my social networks as I have gotten to interact with so many people in different forums. I have become more confident and I'm able to better express myself. I have also found out something about myself -when people have problems, they tend to come to me. This is because I’m a good listener. I’m always happy to help young people going through difficult situations. Personal Growth In addition to growing our leadership skills, LPPA gives young people the opportunity to learn certain life skills. For example, we once organized a fundraising campaign where we undertook a carwash activity. From this, we were able to raise funds that helped us cater for the expenses of some of our outreaches. We were also able to purchase and brand YAM t-shirts with the funds raised. This activity helped us learn about strategy, teamwork, respect for others’ opinions, communication and money management. I am also involved in other LPPA programs, such as awareness creation of the Voluntary Male Medical Circumcision (VMMC) program among men in the community and mobilizing them for respective services which are offered at LPPA’s Male Clinic in Maseru. Through my participation in the program, I have come to learn of the benefits of VMMC with regard to HIV prevention. This is information that I share with other men. All the activities that I engage in as a volunteer with LPPA have helped me spend my time wisely and exert my energies in a positive way; helping other people." If you are young person and would like to join the Youth Action Movement, see where we work and get in touch. You can also reach us through @YAM Africa Maryanne W. Waweru is the Governance and Compliance Officer, IPPF Africa Region. For more updates on our work, follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Michelle Phiri
26 June 2019

"My Volunteer Work Enabled me to Travel Outside my Country" -Michelle Grace

By Maryanne W. WAWERU Michelle Grace Phiri is a 21-year-old undergraduate student at the University of Malawi; Chancellor College. She is a member of the Youth Action Movement (YAM) in the Family Planning Association of Malawi (FPAM) and also serves in its governance structure. In this article, Michelle talks about her volunteer experiences and the lessons she continues to learn along the way. When Did you join the Youth Action Movement (YAM)? I joined YAM three years ago while in my second year of college. This was in 2016 when YAM was introduced at Chancellor College where I’m currently pursuing my undergraduate studies. I had come across a flier on the college notice board by FPAM inviting volunteers to join the program. Since I’ve always been interested in issues around youth and development, I quickly enrolled. I was one of the pioneer YAM members at Chancellor College and was elected by my peers to serve as the YAM Secretary for the Chancellor College chapter from 2016 - 2017. Today, I serve in the YAM leadership at the national level as the YAM National Treasurer General – a position I was elected to in December 2017. What Activities Do You Engage in as a YAM Volunteer? I am engaged in peer education activities. I participate in outreaches which we mostly undertake in secondary schools and colleges. During the outreaches, we share information about sexual reproductive health. We answer young people’s questions about sexuality by giving them information that helps clarify many of the myths and misconceptions they have. Some of the frequently asked questions include those around the menstrual cycle, safe days and condom use. I also offer counseling support to those who reach out to me -especially my college-mates. Where necessary, I refer them for further management to the student counsellor or the campus student clinic. In addition, owing to my work with YAM, my peers in campus approach me for information on emergency contraceptives and condoms. I often refer them to the nearest FPAM clinic in Zomba where youth-friendly services are offered. There are times when I have met some of my college-mates who, months later, tell me that because of a conversation I had with them, or an outreach I participated in, they learned something new and changed their behavior. This motivates me very much as it assures me that my volunteer work is directly benefiting individual's lives.   What Has Been one of your Most Memorable Moments as a YAM Volunteer? In January 2017, FPAM nominated me to attend the African Union summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as a youth volunteer representing the organization. This stirred the volunteer spirit in me because I honestly never thought I would ever be considered for such an opportunity. It was such a great honor to travel to another country because of my volunteer work! While attending the summit in Ethiopia, I learned a lot about advocacy and the need to raise our voices as African youth. I also got to interact with YAM members from other African countries such as Niger, Chad and Zambia, where we exchanged notes on how to improve our work. It was also a good networking opportunity for me as I got to interact with notable African youth leaders -including parliamentarians. I have also been able to travel to Nairobi, Kenya, to attend IPPF Africa Region statutory meetings. These include the youth forum and the Regional Council. During these forums, I have been able to gain immensely from my interaction with other volunteers and leaders within the Africa region. What is Your Encouragement to Young People Regarding Voluntarism? While offering your services to the community on a voluntary basis is certainly not easy, it teaches you a lot about the value of humanity. Also, interaction with people from other areas other than your comfort zone helps you realize more about yourself and grow you as an individual. Volunteering also helps you learn a lot from the organizations you choose to volunteer with, such as the concept of work ethics. It exposes you to the professional environment and helps prepare you for your future career. I would therefore like to encourage young people to seek out volunteer opportunities in organizations that align well with their goals. I’m glad that FPAM is one such organization. If you are young person and would like to join the Youth Action Movement, see where we work and get in touch. You can also reach us through @YAM Africa Maryanne W. Waweru is the Governance and Compliance Officer, IPPF Africa Region. For more updates on our work, follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Olgah Daphynne Namukuza
12 June 2019

Volunteer Voices: Olgah Daphynne Namukuza's Story

Olgah Daphynne Namukuza is a young volunteer with our Member Association in Uganda - Reproductive Health Uganda. She also holds various leadership positions within IPPF; she is the youth representative in the IPPF Africa Region Executive Committee, and is also an IPPF Governing Council member. What inspired Olgah to become a volunteer? What has she gained from being a volunteer? What have been her contributions as a young leader? What is her encouragement to other young people who wish to have meaningful impact in their community? In this video, Olgah tells it all. If you are young person and would like to join the Youth Action Movement, see where we work and get in touch. You can also reach us through @YAM Africa Story by Maryanne W. Waweru, Governance and Compliance Officer, IPPF Africa Region