Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) remains a challenge

By Annonciata Byukusenge

Sexual and Reproductive health injustice is one of women’s injustices it is still an obstacle because women’s rights activists do not have the ability to reach the level they need as they highlighted.

Some women’s rights advocates who participated in the Women Deliver Conference held in Rwanda, 16-21 July 2023 said that reproductive health rights will help them deal with the effects of climate change, especially rural women.

A good example of how breaking silence has made significant in education system is of NICOLA OKERO, a Kenyan activist and policy officer in the organization dubbed: ‘Food for Education’ (Food4education) who raised a voice for young learners to get enough and quality meals at school.

“When you provide food at school, you help learners to be concentrated on lessons, meals allows vulnerable families to send kids to school with a hope that they will succeed, it also helps to reduce financial burden for parents, it improves growth and health for both girls and boys and boosts class attendance,” says NICOLA.

Clive Mutunga, Director, USAID-funded BUILD Project being implemented by the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP), the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), FHI360, Path Foundation Philippines, the Leadership for Development Africa, LEAD Malawi and Cote d’Ivoire (LEaD), said that people should show their activities so that can help others.

He said that “the sectors weather is economic growth weather is resilience weather is education and rights, so it’s clearing call to show the evidences are closed very us as policy advocacy, weather is few base program see very creator implementation science research project that making that, we could do more by supporting that such activities. We need strong evidences to show that call section integration works and it benefits other sectors.”

Improving community health

It has also been observed that community health matters and that community health workers (CHWs) can boost health impacts if they are equipped.

However, being silent can let vulnerable communities especially women and adolescent girls with disabilities in dilemma.

“Nowhere the adolescents are in the community especially those with disabilities, they are hidden with no access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) such as access to contraceptives and Family Planning (FP) services. We have been talking about integration for so long, but when are we going to start acting?” Stella, young activist from Uganda says.

Shonel Lunkuse, Young activist from Uganda who was among the panelists highlights the impacts of breaking silence as a powerful tool to integrate young women and girls from gender violence to climate and to empower people.

“As a person as an advocate, we are always aiming to stand for the interests of people we are supposed to help, but we cannot succeed in own aspects, if I am empowering girls I need to understand how climate change affect them, and today the conference was about integration, showing how integration can be taken into the world and how to solve problems from all angles, I hope it has been a very good conference, next time when we come back to Rwanda, people will see how it is important to integrate because everyone has a role to play,” Lunkuse says.

She calls up on all key community activism players including those working around climate change, Gender-Based Violence (GBV), mental health and others to join efforts to support others.

“Why we need to integrate? When you work alone you fall easily but when you work together you fight a strong fight, this is why we need to integrate,” she adds.

Why SRHR matters? 

Lunkuse argues that SRHR is something that cuts across, giving an example of climate change that affects many life circumstances including SRHR.

In any areas where climate change has affected people, people’s SRHR, people’s health rights is violated more and people’s economic rights is affected more, SRHR is at the center of everything, everywhere we are being affected, so, SRHR is everywhere and we are supposed to fight, to educate and to sensitize people’s awareness,” Lunkuse clarifies.

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