Sexual Health and Empowerment
SEXUAL HEALTH AND EMPOWERMENT (SHE) ADVOCACY
In the Philippines, more than half or 54% of the pregnancies are unintended. Teenage pregnancies are also high, estimated at 24 per hour or 500 per day. PKKK believes that the primary way to address this concern is by recognizing women’s right and control over their bodies. The Sexual Health and Empowerment (SHE) Advocacy seeks to empower women and girls to secure their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). It is being implemented in six disadvantaged and conflict-affected regions of the Philippines, in partnership with OXFAM and the Global Affairs Canada.
Two of these regions are under PKKK implementation, with the involvement of four provincial coalitions, namely Bukidnon, Misamis Occidental, Zamboanga Sur, and Zamboanga Sibugay. The expected outcomes are (1) enhanced utilization of gender-sensitive sexual and reproductive health information and services (public and private) by women of reproductive ages, adolescent girls and boys; and (2) Improved effectiveness of women’s rights organizations to advance rights related to sexual and reproductive health and prevention of gender-based violence.
The project aims to improve knowledge and awareness of sexual reproductive health and rights, particularly among women and girls, including the prevention of gender-based violence (GBV). PKKK views this project as instrumental to achieving basic freedom and human rights in our society, with women achieving control over their lives and their bodies.
Since the project started in October 2018, PKKK has supported rural women leader-cadres in the promotion of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), and protection from gender-based violence. The PKKK Health Cluster lead organization, WOMANHEALTH Philippines, redesigned its module on My Body, My Self, My Personhood, and trained the PKKK leadership, Secretariat, and the SHE project team with the framework on bodily autonomy, reproductive rights, health and justice.
The main strategy is to arouse-organize-mobilize through the leadership of our rural women. Sixty (60) local community facilitators (LCFs) were trained and given support in the conduct of grassroots organizing on SRHR. Local capacity building and awareness raising activities were conducted in the municipalities of Sumilao and Dangcagan in Bukidnon, Clarin and Ozamiz City in Misamis Occidental, Buug in Zamboanga Sibugay, and Dimataling in Zamboanga del Sur. As of December 2020, the number of women and girls reached were 7,060, while for men and boys, 1,400.
The SHE Advocacy project celebrates the substantive participation of the women during SHEkahan sa Kanayunan discussions, where three modules were rolled-out covering topics of human rights, gender sensitivity, mutual help, SRHR and GBV. These women would then select representatives to form the Bantay SRH & GBV (Sexual Reproductive Health & Gender-based Violence Watch Groups). Other achievements include the formation of peer educators among the youth, who also lead workshops on adolescent sexual & reproductive health (ASRH) and Teenage Pregnancy, and the involvement of male local barangay officials to lead the discussion on men’s responsibility in SRHR. It is also envisioned that the SHE Advocacy teams will engage the indigenous leaders in order to cooperate with them in addressing practices of early marriages and settlement of GBV cases.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the PKKK SHE Advocacy continued its awareness raising activities through the distribution of IEC materials and later on public fora that observed the safety protocols. There were activities related to COVID-19 response, such as the distribution of hygiene/dignity kits and PPEs, as well as the conduct of family planning outreach.