[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]
In 2019, our vision to attain high standards of SRHR services for women and young girls led us through many activities and highlights for the year. This was done through an extension of our Transforming Social Norms Project – TSONII and Integrating Sexual and Reproductive Information and Resources for Sustained Efforts to Empower Nigerian Girls (Project INSPIRE).
We worked on ending FGM in over 20 communities through the TSONII project through which we reached 2115 households. We hope that these numbers will double as we continue to expand our FGM programming in 2020 where we plan to reach an additional 42 clans and 10,500 households.
We also laid the groundwork for advocacy towards removing barriers to safe access to abortion services through Project INSPIRE.
Here are some of our major highlights from 2019;
- Community Engagement and Action
- We held fora with key influencers across Oyo, Ebonyi and Enugu states in Nigeria. These fora were held in the form of an inter-religious meeting aimed at dispelling the myth that religions support FGM. For this activity, we used the #FGM/CIsNotMyReligion and got the religious leaders to pledge to preach an ‘End FGM message’ in their sermons. Some of the participants were later profiled and they have recorded a lot of success in ending FGM in their communities.
- Advocacy and Capacity Building
- On International Safe Abortion Day, 28 September 2019, we released a press statement in support of unhindered access to safe abortion services for women and girls.
- We facilitated two one-day advocacy planning workshops in Edo and Delta states with the aim of discovering the best ways to carry out our advocacy in the implementing states. Both workshops took over 12 hours of in-depth discussion and experience sharing with a combined total of over 30 participants. The agenda was drafted in a way that allowed for a lot of statistics showing and discussions around abortion stigma and criminalization of women and service providers. Baseline surveys were conducted in order to get a look into the knowledge and attitudes surrounding abortion. Our most important takeaways were that due to the roles of religious and political influences on the sensitivity of abortion-related topics, health-based messaging on abortion might prove more effective than rights-based messaging in some contexts.
- We, together over 500 organisations, signed the Global Platform for Action to End FGM/C’s global call to action.
- We also signed the Global Declaration on Abortion for the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 (November 12-14, 2019). This joint declaration was co-signed by over 350 organizations and networks globally.
- Media & Press Engagements
- This year, we held a media dialogue on SRHR reportage with about 18 journalists in attendance. Discussions centered on the representation of abortion in the media and ways that the media’s influence contributes to the perpetuity of abortion stigma. The journalists included photo-journalists, health editors and reporters from different media houses. The aim of the dialogue was to train journalists on proper abortion messaging including the use of images and language.
- We depended on social media to connect with other organizations and a large portion of our stakeholders. We were able to have more conversations around SRHR issues. We participated in Twitter chats and held some of our own. We closed the year with an interactive 817 Twitter followers and 222 on Instagram.
- Learning and Opportunities
- We joined the Novel Association for Youth Advocacy for a one-week advocacy workshop on including a specific budget line for adolescent and youth-friendly health services in the national budget.
- In Senegal, we attended the TOSTAN training to learn about the organisation’s community-led approach towards FGM.
- In October, we attended the Hewlett-Foundation workshop on Supporting Local Advocacy: Shifting the Balance of Power where there was a merger for grantees, funders and CSOs. The meeting allowed knowledge-sharing between these groups. Together with other organisations, we explored power dynamics within grant making practices and why sharing power is important.
- We were also part of AmplifyChange Grantees’ Meeting held in Enugu State of Nigeria. In this meeting, we shared and learned experiences, strategies and achievements with/from other organizations who receive funding from AmplifyChange for SRHR and GBV related projects.
- We were also part of the AmplifyChange Grantees’ Meeting held in Lagos. In this meeting, we talked about YNCSD’s work on FGM and abortion access. Here, we discussed legal and security challenges that CSOs might face while defending abortion rights or LGBT rights.
- We had the opportunity to be present for 2019 edition of Women Deliver Conference, held in Vancouver, Canada.
From our various activities in the year, we were able to gather some data and resources on SRHR related issues including a Baseline Survey of Unsafe Abortion and Its Consequences in Edo and Delta States, Media Assessment on SRHR Issues and a Social Norm Change Assessment with regards to FGM/C in Enugu.
- We submitted an abstract for the SVRI forum held in South Africa. Our submission, titled ‘FGM as a social norm: A pilot project exploring the role of gatekeeper engagement and community ownership in ending FGM in select states in Nigeria’ focused on the role of key influencer engagements in driving social norm change.