2018 Annual Report


ARROW Annual Report 2018

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Reflections from the Executive Director


"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."

Generating Evidence, Creating Change

"Each year 25 million unsafe abortions take place. To advance health, we must advance rights."

- Susheela Singh, Vice president for International Research at the Guttmacher Institute


Dissemination of findings on Tamil Nadu from the baseline study on abortion in Chennai to civil society members and networks working on health issues by CommonHealth, India.

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.

Strengthening Community Participation, Empowering People

"For progress to be made, I think it's necessary to reach out to people who don't necessarily agree."

- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author and feminist


Indonesian partners from the RHRN platform gathered for a meeting in Kuala Lumpur

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.

Forging New Alliances

"If we aren't intersectional, some of us, the most vulnerable, are going to fall through the cracks."

- Kirnberle Crenshaw


18-year old Melgrace Orbe is a community leader and peer educator. Photo credit: Sarah V. Harlan.

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.

Opening Minds and Shaping Views

"I will win. Not immediately, but definitely."

- Loujain al-Hathloul, political prisoner and activist, Saudi Arabia


Kannan and Sasi attended the sexual relationship training session for married people by RUWSEC. Photo Credit: Jeremy Hu

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.

Advocating for Change, One Year at a Time

"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing."

- Arundathi Roy, novelist and activist


Sajja Singh from YUWA Nepal speaking at an event. Photo credit: Nhujala Maharjan.

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.

Governance and Financial Management

"Like life, peace begins with women. We are the first to forge lines of alliance and collaboration across conflict divides."

- Zainab Salbi, founder of Women for Women International, author, executive producer, and host.

2018 Milestones


ARROW Publications Launched in 2018

Moving Forward: ARROW’s Strategic Plan 2017-2021

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.


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