The Stronger Voices for Reproductive Health
efforts to improve the quality of reproductive health
services have provided training, equipment and contraceptive
supplies to health care providers. Since the International
Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in 1994,
concerted efforts have been made to strengthen the ability
of health care providers to respond effectively to the
diverse and evolving needs of clients.
new initiative, Stronger
Voices for Reproductive Health, represents
a new client-centered approach. At its core the project
aims to strengthen collaboration between providers and
users as an effective and timely way to improve the
quality of reproductive health care.
projects approach is to empower organized groups
of women by raising awareness of their reproductive
health needs and rights, and to encourage social mobilization
to secure those rights. For example, the project will
adapt successful community mobilization experiences
such as those reported by ReproSalud in Peru, which
works closely with community womens groups to
identify their health needs and seek positive change
in their lives. Similarly, Stronger Voices encourages
womens groups to work with providers so they can
better respond to the particular reproductive health
needs of local communities.
focusing both on reproductive rights and community mobilization
to secure those rights, the initiative aims to broaden
access to quality reproductive health services -- a
goal agreed upon by the international community at ICPD
and in its five-year review (ICPD+5) in 1999.
launched the initiative with financial support from
the UN Foundation, through its Improving the Quality
of Sexual and Reproductive Health Care project.
other UN agencies--ILO/STEP, UNICEF and WHO-- each with
unique strengths and experiences - are collaborating
on the initiative. The effort also involves partnerships
with many other actors (governments, international and
national NGOs and community-based organizations).
I, through spring 2003 includes India, Kyrgyzstan,
Mauritania, Nepal, Peru and Tanzania. In these geographically
and politically diverse countries, the Stronger Voices
initiative is identifying viable partners, building
consensus, developing approaches and engaging in strategic
II envisions implementing the pilot projects on
a wider scale within the initial six countries and possibly
expanding to others. Lessons learned and the good practices
gained through these experiences will be used for wide
application to other countries.
This project was made possible by a generous grant from
the UN Foundation.
The initial allocation of $3.2 million has been used
in three broad, fundamental areas:
increase knowledge and understanding of effective
approaches for achieving sustained improvements in
the quality of sexual and reproductive health care,
especially for women.
apply participatory planning processes in six pilot
countries and learn from the experiences.
increase collaboration, coordination and networking
within and among UN agencies, NGOs, community based
organizations and research institutions in order to
develop effective ways to deliver quality reproductive
health care that is appropriate, affordable, culturally
acceptable and responsive to local needs and concerns.
is envisioned that the next phase of the project will
attract a wider group of funders, including bilateral
development agencies, private foundations and perhaps
the private sector.