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ChatSRHR: Learning from the experts at Women Deliver

Highlighting the knowledge and experience of our grantee partners is at the core of AmplifyChange’s mission. Read about our ChatSRHR sessions and learn more about the topics discussed.

In July 2023, the AmplifyChange team attended Women Deliver, the world’s largest conference on gender equality. The conference took place in Kigali, Rwanda, with over 6,000 attendees from across the world exploring the broad spectrum of gender equality issues and intersections. AmplifyChange coordinated and participated in a number of panel and side events focusing on comprehensive sexuality education (CSE), abortion rights, and decolonising grantmaking.

In the spirit of the conference’s theme – Spaces, Solidarity, and Solutions – AmplifyChange hosted a series of talks at our booth titled “ChatSRHR”. Experts from across a spectrum of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) organisations came together to share experiences, successes and challenges in their work, and highlighted key learnings and takeaways. We’re pleased to share recordings and summaries from the different sessions below.

Digital Frontiers: Harnessing Technology and AI to Advance SRHR

Two women sit in front of a camera, in conversation.

Leonora Tima from Kwanele – Bringing Women Justice in South Africa and Wanjiru Kareithi from Trust for Indigenous Culture and Health (TICAH) in Kenya discuss the challenges, opportunities and practical implementation of digital solutions to advancing SRHR.

Three key takeaways from the discussion:

  • Digital tools, including those that use AI, that support SRHR require a broad spectrum of stakeholder engagement, including legal experts, medical experts, digital and security experts, and committed volunteers or workers.
  • Research, research, and more research! To make your tools as useful and targeted as possible, ensure you are collecting feedback from the communities you are working in to build the effectiveness of your digital tools.
  • Stay informed. The digital and AI space is ever evolving, so ensuring that you are keeping up to date on the most secure and effective developments available is key.
NOTE: Due to internet connectivity issues, sound is missing from part of the video.

From Awareness to Action: Mobilising Movements to End FGM/C

Four women sit next to each other and smile at the camera

Sarian Kamara from Keep the Drums, Lose the Knife, Sariba Badjie from The Girls’ Agenda, Ugbad Hashi from NAFIS Network, and Ifrah Ahmed from Ifrah Foundation share their experiences as advocates to end FGM/C in challenging contexts and how they are progressing change in their communities.

Three key takeaways from the discussion:

  • Sustainable change relies on the parallel efforts of political engagement and social norm change. While conducting political advocacy to change laws and policies is crucial, there can be no implementation without community buy-in to end FGM/C.
  • Political will can often be lacking, but continued engagement with community gatekeepers, such as religious leaders, community leaders, cutters, and other groups, is essential to change mindsets.
  • Building partnerships and alliances with like-minded organisations, activists, and cultural gatekeepers helps support momentum and sustainability of the movement to support political and social change to end FGM/C.

Let Youth Lead! Centring Youth-Led Movements for Change

Three women sit next to each other. One is speaking into a microphone

Leilena Shimeles from Talent Youth Association, Sesilia Shirima from Young and Alive Initiative, and Clementine Tarnagda from Organisation pour de nouvelles initiatives en développement et santé (ONIDS) share how youth-led movements are advocating for changes in SRHR, and how the broader SRHR community can do more to centre youth voices at the decision-making level.

Three key takeaways from the discussion:

  • Young people have to push to make space at the table. While it can be a frustrating process feeling like you have to ‘prove your worth’, ensuring that youth are consistently advocating to be part of decision-making processes is the only way to ensure they can be represented in issues that concern them.
  • Collecting evidence and stories can be one of the most powerful tools for youth advocacy. Speaking as a young person and sharing the realities of young people can make a stronger impact on decision makers especially when coupled with concrete evidence and data.
  • Youth peer mentorship is important to build up the pipeline of youth leaders and activists. Only by supporting the next generation of SRHR advocates can sustainability in youth-led advocacy for SRHR be guaranteed.

How to Become a Pleasure Implementer

Four people sit in a row next to each other. One man is speaking into a microphone while others watch.

Sarian Kamara from Keep the Drums, Lose the Knife, Innocent Grant from Young and Alive Initiative, Anastase Ndagijimana from Haguruka, and Leeza Mangaldas from The Pleasure Project explain how they successfully implemented a pleasure-based approach to improve SRHR within their communities.

Three key takeaways from the discussion:

  • Approaches conversations from a pleasure perspective opens up conversations and allows for people to explore their understanding and experiences of sex and sexuality in a way that they find comfortable.
  • More and more, young people are learning about sex from the internet – not always from reliable sources. By creating and disseminating accurate SRHR information and content to young people in a fun and pleasure-based way, advocates ensure that young people are engaging with the information they need to make healthy choices.
  • Creating spaces for people to learn, ask questions, and hear from others’ experiences is crucial in not only sharing information, but building community and mutual understanding when it comes to sex and sexuality.

You can also learn more about implementing a pleasure-based approach to sexual health in the guide ‘10 Tips for Including Pleasure in Your Work’. Click here to access the guide.

NOTE: Due to internet connectivity issues, sound is missing from part of the video.

Building Movements for Abortion Rights Advocacy

A man and a woman in conversation with each other

Ibrahim Tommy from Center for Accountability and the Rule of Law (CARL) and Emma Kaliya from the Coalition for the Prevention of Unsafe Abortion (COPUA) discuss how movement building supports strong advocacy to make positive change for abortion rights, with the examples of Sierra Leone and Malawi.

Three key takeaways from the discussion:

  • Data and evidence are crucial for advocacy on abortion access  – but having religious and cultural leaders as allies can be just as important, as these are often people who have close relationships with policymakers.
  • Cross-country and -regional learning exchanges are an important tool to understand what has worked for policy change in other contexts.
  • When putting together movements for change, ensure you have representation across the spectrum of the sectors that will be affected by a policy and law change. Medical professionals, media, community leaders, civil society organisations, religious leaders, among others, are important to include in advocacy efforts.

Resilience and Resistance: Safeguarding LGBTI Rights in Times of Crises

The teams from UHAI EASHRI and Initiative Sankofa de l’Ouest discuss how to better support LGBTI organisations and activists and dove into the connotations and limitations of the current SRHR movement in supporting LGBTI rights.

Due to security concerns, this session was not recorded. However, a summary of the key points was developed and is available below.

Three key takeaways from the discussion:

  • Rest and joy can be taken for granted or seen as superfluous to advocacy efforts. Opportunities for activist wellbeing should be prioritised when building the sustainability of the LGBTI rights movement.
  • Cross-sector learning can provide opportunities to understand how movements in other spheres of SRHR – such as the abortion rights movement – have approached their advocacy work and built successes.
  • Donors and partners should listen to activists and take on board their suggestions on how to best support the movement. Flexible funding and quick disbursements are two ways that can support advocates and civil society organisations to implement their work in a responsive and adaptive way.
External link: Watch the full playlist of ChatSRHR sessions here!

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