"ARROW’s two largest projects focus directly on the sexual and reproductive rights of young people and the right to safe abortion in particular. This enables us to build grassroots movements across different countries to mobilise and advocate for these two critical issues."
- Susheela Singh, Vice president for International Research at the Guttmacher Institute
Progress towards achieving the right to safe abortion was mixed in the Global South in 2018. It was a historic year for feminists and abortion rights advocates because of its landmark wins and heart breaking losses. Although the year witnessed an extraordinary victory for Irish women and girls, as their country voted in a referendum to repeal the decades-old, near total ban on abortion with an overwhelming 66.4% ‘Yes’,1 other countries regressed in decisions that could ensure access to safe abortion.
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author and feminist
We believe it is paramount for communities to be empowered to advocate and demand accountability from governments and relevant stakeholders at the national, regional and international levels. We are facilitating this empowerment through mobilisation, capacity building, forging national level partnerships for advocacy, and through linking and learning mechanisms. We are confident that a strong youth movement gearing towards the SDG implementation with meaningful youth, adult and inclusive partnership is in the making in the region.
For the full testimonial, please see page 26 of the report
For the full testimonial, please see page 27 of the report
- Kirnberle Crenshaw
18-year-old Melgrace Orbe, with the support of PATH Foundation Philippines, Inc, acquired the knowledge and skills to be a dynamic community leader. As a peer educator, she facilitates discussions on adolescent sexual and reproductive health, particularly on pre-marital sex. She encourages young people to finish school, like she did, to find employment and provide for their families.
We collaborated with our long-term partner, the Danish Family Planning Association (DFPA), and launched an innovative advocacy programme—Women and Earth (WORTH)—on SRHR and environmental sustainability/climate change, at COP24 in December.
The impact of conflict on women and girls’ SRHR is largely unexplored despite the fact they are disproportionately affected due to existing gender narratives and roles. Considering the increasing conflict in our region, it is crucial to study and work on the intersections between conflict and SRHR.
In 2018, we continued our work in this area by focusing on advocacy and were part of critical global meetings including nutrition planning meetings in Rome, organised by the Society for International Development. At a half-day dialogue with 20 member states, we highlighted the gender dimensions in access to food and nutrition with examples of lived realities of women and girls in Asia, and their impact on SRHR.
For the full testimonial, please see page 34 of the report
For the full testimonial, please see page 35 of the report
- Loujain al-Hathloul, political prisoner and activist, Saudi Arabia
Kannan and Sasi are a newly-wed couple living in India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu. Like many young couples, they had very little information on contraception, sexuality and reproduction when they got married. They decided to attend a sexual relationship training session for married people in their neighbourhood by the Rural Women’s Social Education Centre (RUWSEC), ARROW partner and an NGO working on SRHR in the state.
Continue to be one of our most powerful evidence-based advocacy mediums through which we, with the support of our partners, advance the SRHR agenda with governments, policymakers and other stakeholders.
- Arundathi Roy, novelist and activist
Sajja Singh, 24, from our youth-led partner organisation in Nepal, YUWA, has been working in the field of SRHR for the past three years. Sajja began her journey by volunteering in YUWA in their Youth Activists Leadership Council, where she worked on adolescents’ SRHR for a year.
We advocate with decision-makers, stakeholders and policymakers, with compelling evidence and data from the ground, so they can revise programmes and policies, attitudes, power and social relations, and institutional functions, to address imbalances, inequities, and barriers to fulfil the rights of women and young people.
2018 also saw us mark the first anniversary of the SheDecides movement on 2nd March, with a regional event in Malaysia, ‘A Day to Stand Up and Speak Out to Say Yes, #SheDecides Without Question,’ with the founding countries of the initiative – Belgium, Denmark, Finland, and the Netherlands.
- Zainab Salbi, founder of Women for Women International, author, executive producer, and host.
The new strategic plan 2017-2021 provides ARROW and her partners a clear path for the next five years toward achieving our vision of an equal, just, and equitable world, where every woman enjoys her full sexual and reproductive health and right.