2019 Annual Report


ARROW Annual Report 2019

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Reflections from the Executive Director


"In the last ten years, ARROW has been pointing out the existence and prevalence of FGM/C in the region through its regional monitoring reports, publications, media reports and interventions in human rights mechanisms work."

Generating Evidence, Creating Change

"Sexual and reproductive health is very much a basic right, especially for women. If women do not have rights over their body and sexuality, if women do not get proper health services throughout their lives, they will not be able to live and function in a dignified way. "

- Shanta Laxmi Shrestha, Chairperson of Beyond Beijing Committee, Nepal


Siva giving the keynote address at the ICPD+25 Summit side event, “Safe Abortion in Health Systems: Regional Challenges, Progress and Accelerators.”

Monitoring international commitments pertaining to women’s SRHR and gender equality has been a powerful political tool and a key strategy used by ARROW to ensure accountability of international bodies, agencies and national governments to the commitments they promised to fulfill.

Strengthening Community Participation, Empowering People

"Criminalisation is one of the issues my country Pakistan has inherited through the colonial law and we want to challenge this."

- Maya Zaman, transgender activist


Sanskriti Shrestha facilitating one of the sessions at RHRN Nepal’s National Planning Meeting. Photo credit: YUWA.

Empowering communities often starts with giving the youth an opportunity to be heard. The collective voices of the youth, and communities, often bring about great meaningful change. In 2019, ARROW continued to facilitate the empowerment of communities to advocate and demand accountability from leaders and governments at all levels. We created and cultivated new advocacy spaces for key communities, via mobilisation, capacity building and forging partnerships through linking and learning mechanisms.

Forging New Alliances

"Intersectional paradigms remind us that oppression cannot be reduced to one fundamental type, and that oppressions work together in producing injustice. "

- Patricia Hill Collins, intersectionality academic


Farid Ahmed with volunteers involved in Bandhu work. Photo credit: BANDHU.

Farid Ahmed began working with the young gender diverse community in Bangladesh eight years ago. The 26-year old has been involved at Bandhu Social Welfare Society (Bandhu), the largest non-government organisation working on HIV and AIDS prevention, SRHR, and upholding the human rights of the sexual and gender diverse/SOGIE community in Bangladesh since 1996.


This year’s focus was on advocacy with CSOs and governments at the national, regional and global levels. As part of the Women and Earth (WORTH) Initiative, an innovation grant was launched to support innovative ideas for advocacy on the nexus between SRHR and climate change.


ARROW provided recommendations on SRHR at the Tunis Forum on Gender Equality, highlighting the interlinkages between SRHR and conflict and peace building processes and ways forward.


In order to realise SRHR, basic human rights such as the right to adequate food and nutrition is a necessity. At the GNRtFN global meeting in Indonesia, ARROW and other members discussed strategies for the next two years and tools to strengthen the network’s work. As part of the Civil Society Mechanism Working Group (CSM) on Food Security and Nutrition, we were invited to provide input into the Zero Draft of the Committee on Food Security (CFS) Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition in Rome, Italy.

Opening Minds and Shaping Views

"The young intellectuals are all chanting, "Revolution, Revolution," but I say the revolution will have to start in our homes, by achieving equal rights for women."

- Qiu Jin, writer and feminist


Minahil, seated far right, with participants at the campaign lab in Nepal in August 2018. Photo credit: RHRN Pakistan.

Young and newly married, Minahil Aslam attended a VCAT (values clarification and attitudes transformation) training in 2017, where she was exposed to the work done by the Right Here Right Now (RHRN) Pakistan platform. Two days into the workshop, her world view was undergoing a transformation - hearing and learning about SRHR issues that she previously had no idea about, and issues that she never knew could be discussed openly in a room full of people. Sensitive and taboo issues which did not see the light of day due to cultural sensitivities were being discussed. She heard about the experiences of Julie and Maya, both from the transgender community but with different issues and struggles arising from their respective intersectional contexts and backgrounds, helping her understand what ordeals


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

"Our ultimate objective in learning about anything is to try to create and develop a more just society. "

- Yuri Kochiyama, civil rights activist


Indonesian youth advocate Prameswari Puspa Dewi. Photo credit: RHRN Indonesia.

Puspa, 26, is a youth advocate and the National Coordinator of Right Here Right Now (RHRN) Indonesia. She remembers her first period and the feelings it brought about in her. As she grew older, more questions arose in her mind. Curiosity about her body and issues about sexuality such as bodily integrity, gender roles, and gender identity led her to seek answers and more knowledge.


Year 2019 also saw some exemplary advocacy initiatives and achievements with national and regional level partners, stakeholders, and communities address imbalances, inequities and disparities, and deeper, underlying barriers to fulfil the rights of women and young people.

At the international level, ARROW continued advocacy work at almost all of the traditional advocacy spaces including the Commission on Population and Development (CPD), Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), High Level Political Forum (HLPF) and the Human Rights Council (HRC). Powerful statements for inclusive advocacy for gender and SRHR on behalf of key CSOs in the region were delivered.

Governance and Financial Management

"Peace cannot exist without justice, justice cannot exist withoutfairness, fairness cannot exist without development, development cannot exist without democracy, democracy cannot exist without respectfor the identity and worth of cultures and peoples."

- Rigoberta Menchu Turn, Guatemalan feminist, indigenous rights activist and peacemaker

2019 Milestones


ARROW Publications Launched in 2019

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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