Women around the world want the power to choose how many children to have – and when. Evidence shows that where women are empowered, there’s a natural fall in birth rate. Yet many women – both in developed countries and in the Global South – lack the contraception, knowledge and freedom to take control of their fertility.
To help tackle this issue, Empower to Plan uses the power of crowdfunding to enable selected grassroots NGOs to deliver family planning projects on the ground. These projects empower women through healthcare and family planning, bringing additional economic and environmental benefits. Here are just a few of the organisations that you have helped to deliver practical and impactful action within their local communities.
Rajasthan Rising was launched during the COVID-19 lockdown of 2020 when 10 girls came together to campaign for access to education and an end to child marriage. They are now a movement of 5,000 girls across the region.
Empower to Plan funds supported the delivery of new leadership training workshops with thematic sessions on sexual and reproductive rights and climate justice. Led by existing Rajasthan Rising members and local mentors, the six months of training sessions engaged 17 adolescent girls from some of the most marginalised communities of the state. Each participant also spearheaded local projects such as developing ecological sanitary pads, improving hygiene access in schools or leading outreach campaigns to combat child marriage, reaching a further 225 girls. Our support also facilitated 100 community meetings with over 500 people, enabling dialogue and awareness-raising around combatting child marriage and ensuring girls' education.
To read more about Rajasthan Rising's important work and hear from some of the girl leaders themselves, read our report on their training programme, the Indian girl-led movement going from strength to strength, and check out our 2022 Change Champions Awards; Rajasthan Rising leader, Vineeta Meena, won our Young Campaigner Award.
Na’leb’ak is a grassroots Guatemalan organisation that empowers adolescent Maya Q’eqchi girls to make positive decisions about their lives and their communities. In a region with the highest rate of adolescent pregnancy in the country and where less than 15% of girls aged 12-21 are in education; Na'leb'ak's accessible, peer-led and girl-focused sex education is critically important.
Your support of Na'leb'ak's sex education and agroecology programmes enabled 80 girls to receive sex education workshops in three communities most impacted by 2020's devastating Hurricanes Eta and Iota. As part of the organisation's focus on food security and women's empowerment, Empower to Plan funding also facilitated the creation of 65 diversified vegetable gardens - both a source of organic, nutrient-rich produce for the local community and a key strategy for achieving women's socioeconomic independence.
To read more about how Na'leb'ak is creating safe spaces and sowing seeds for climate resilience, check out our recent blog post on Local Changemakers in Guatemala.
Women for Conservation runs family planning and conservation programmes in the tropical rainforests and unique habitats of Colombia, one of the most biodiverse countries on Earth. They envision a world in which women are integral to the prevention of species extinction.
From July 2021 to February 2022, they reached 656 young people with environmental education training and a further 201 people with conservation training, focused on themes of reforestation, endangered frog conservation, native plant species and environmental management. Meanwhile, they empowered women to make decisions about their family size through family planning courses and a partnership with national sexual and reproductive health provider, Profamilia. Through Empower to Plan funding, Women for Conservation enabled 132 women to receive the implant contraceptive method.
Visit Conservation through Education and Family Planning: Reporting from Colombia to read a first-hand account of Women for Conservation's integrated and multifaceted programmes and their impact.
Empower to Plan funding enabled the Women and Children's Empowerment Network in Africa (WACENA) to secure 5,000 tree saplings for distribution to schoolgirls and women in rural villages of Uganda. WACENA aims to create community forests, planted, nurtured and championed by women and girls, because, as the community-led group says, “a large and growing body of evidence shows that empowered women and girls acting as agents of change in their communities can and do bring about better health and development outcomes for all.”
We supported weekly workshops in 20 schools, reaching 2,500 students with life-saving topics such as safe abortion, contraception, menstrual care and gender-based violence prevention.
Between autumn 2021 and spring 2022, Population Matters facilitated a pilot project with two small grassroots youth engagement organisations, EPIC Assist and You Before Two. Expanding on Empower to Plan's previous partnership with You Before Two, this collaboration reached 24 young people in underprivileged areas of Scotland and northern England with workshops on consent, safe sex and gender equality. The workshops were hosted alongside the Showmen's Mental Health charity and local community and youth centres in West Dunbartonshire and Clydebank.
Each session included a conversation around ‘the planned, wanted child’ and how choosing smaller families has wider climate benefits, including lower population pressure on our finite resources. 100% of young people attending the workshop said they enjoyed it and would recommend it to their friends.
Family Medical Point (FMP) is a grassroots healthcare provider that has served the marginalised fishing communities and slums of Abaita Ababiri, Uganda, since 2017. The not-for-profit organisation implements practical family planning interventions to increase access to contraception and sexual and reproductive healthcare (SRH) services amongst women of reproductive age, and end the stigma and gender-based violence associated with the use of family planning services in these communities.
Your support ensured that 1,759 community-members and 725 young people were able to access sexual and reproductive healthcare safely. Community volunteers led door-to-door engagements and initiated conversations with men to normalise discussion of family planning and contraception. Meanwhile, FMP launched the #HerChoiceHerRight campaign, which reached 11,300 people through regular radio broadcasts on female empowerment and family planning. There has been a general increase in family planning uptake since the beginning of the campaign, demonstrating FMP's key role in transforming family planning access, gender equality and sexual and reproductive healthcare in Abaita Ababiri.
Find out more about the impact of our campaign with this field report - Changing Minds and Lives in Uganda's Fishing Communities.
You Before Two is a small youth engagement and sex education charity, set up in 2019 by Population Matters' Expert Advisor, Dr Rebecca Foljambe. Before and during the global pandemic, she delivered workshops on healthy relationships, consent, contraception, and the consideration of the environment within family planning to 332 young people in some of the most deprived parts of Nottinghamshire, UK - where teenage pregnancy rates remain some of the highest in the country.
97% of the young people she worked with reported learning something new, and the success of the programme has taken it from strength to strength. Population Matters will continue to support You Before Two through its recent collaboration with Scottish grassroots youth charity, EPIC, which will take the bespoke sex education and population workshops to schools and youth groups in Scotland's Central Belt. To learn more about our ongoing partnership with You Before Two, check out the current E2P campaign supporting collaborative workshops on relationships and consent.
Jiwsi (sounds like 'juicy') is a project which began as part of the FPA, and is now run by the social enterprise Cwmni Addysg Rhyw (Sex Education Company). The team have been working in North Wales for 16 years with vulnerable young people and health care professionals.
Although Jiwsi was affected by the pandemic with its staff being placed on furlough, Jiwsi was able to use the funding received to organise a one-day contraceptive and sexual health course, including online sessions, to 12 professionals who will each work with up to 50 young survivors of sexual assault per year. Thanks to the generosity of Empower to Plan supporters, women and girls who have survived sexual violence will benefit from carefully tailored relationships and sex education. Jiwsi aims to ensure that vulnerable women and girls can gain the knowledge and encouragement they need to avoid unplanned pregnancies and take control of their futures.
Read more about the importance of comprehensive sex education, including thoughts from Jiwsi's Project Coordinator, here: Can Relationships and Sex Education Help Save the Planet?
Ghettoh Clean Youth Group is a community-based group that was set up to achieve good health and sanitation practises in Kibra, Kenya, while providing livelihood opportunities for young people who may otherwise resort to crime.
In 2019, Population Matters Director Robin Maynard and Florence Blondel, Campaigns and Project Officer, visited Kibra. Here they met members of the community who expressed their desire to have smaller families through accessing contraceptives, family planning services and education, as well as a clean environment free from congestion and poor sanitation. Through Empower to Plan support, they were able to provide crucial sanitary and hygiene services during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, while distributing over 6,000 condoms at handwashing stations in the slum. They also began family planning sessions in the local community to raise awareness about the importance of choosing smaller families.
Learn more about the Kibra context and the impact of our E2P crowdfunding campaign here: The Kibra Youths Protecting their Communities and Environment.
KOMB GREEN Solutions is an environmental youth group that was founded in 2017. Located in Korogocho, one of Kenya's large informal settlements, its purpose is to transform the lives of local people through meaningful conservation work, as well as awareness-raising and education around family planning.
Empower to Plan support enabled KOMB GREEN to continue river clean-ups during the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, while properly protected with sanitary and PPE equipment. They also constructed public handwashing sinks and distributed condoms. In 2021, our follow-up crowdfunding campaign supported their construction of flood defences, urban kitchen gardens and the continued regeneration of their local community park.
For a detailed update on the group's activities and achievements, read the report, From Flood Protection to Family Planning: Komb Green Solutions.
Using peer-to-peer training, Dandelion Africa is making a vital difference in remote parts of rural Kenya. The support received from crowdfunding enabled Dandelion Africa to deliver its Boys for Change initiative. Through Boys for Change, Dandelion Africa educates young men and boys about the importance of empowering the women in their lives to plan their families.
Dandelion Africa were able to provide training for twenty young men in the Mogotio region of Kenya, including education about sexual and reproductive health, gender equality, FGM and family planning. Each of these young men will now go on to mentor three boys and they will all implement community action plans in their villages. Your support ensured that men and boys understand the importance of empowering the women in their communities to plan their families, and break the poverty cycle.
We recently awarded Wendo Aszed, Founder of Dandelion Africa, our Women's Champion for World Population Day 2021. Check out the details here!
Empower to Plan uses crowdfunding to help grassroots NGOs deliver solutions to their communities. 100% of donations are used to help fund empowering projects. Find out more about the current projects being crowdfunded through Empower to Plan.
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