In 2015, young people in IPPF Member Associations were asked to create projects which would tackle the issue of abortion stigma in their communities. Small grants were awarded to promising projects submitted by young people in Ghana, Palestine, Spain, Macedonia and Nepal. Read this for more information about what these projects set out to do, their methods and the results.
By Hala Muharram, a young volunteer at PFPPA
After receiving permission from Halhoul municipality, we drew the mural on a school’s wall. While working on the mural, people stopped and asked about the work we’re doing. We assumed our responsibility to explain the idea of the mural. We talked to them about the meaning of abortion related services and women’s right to access safe abortion services. We also mentioned facts on how women get abortions in secrecy and often risk their lives. In addition, we discussed the importance of improving access to family planning and abortion related services to protect women’s rights.
People showed interest in the topic. An employee from Halhoul municipality, whose daughter was engaged, told us he’s interested that she knows about women’s rights and encouraged her to participate in the activity:
“We must all work to make a change in our community. We must provide the youth with the needed information and services. Reducing stigma against women is a must. I will encourage my daughter and all youth I know to participate in PFPPA’s activities” he said.
By Abu Arich, PFPPA
The Palestinian society is not different from other Arab societies, in terms of heritage, cultural, social and economic infrastructure; however, there are some issues with political stability which affect all other aspects of life. The occupation causes restrictions towards community development and women’s empowerment, especially with regards to sexual and reproductive health and rights. Many community activists do not see these issues as major priorities. Moreover, the conservative community and religious values play a major role regarding women’s decision to access SRH services especially abortion related services.
Palestinian women, who make up half of the Palestinian society, suffer from persecution because of gender discrimination; but it has not stopped them from being in decision-making positions at a national level and they have established their own institutions to support women’s and girls’ lives.
Our youth initiative was established to increase youth awareness regarding women’s right to access SRH services especially those related to abortion. PFPPA youth volunteers were able to conduct a training for a youth group, and broadcast radio shows on the topic of abortion, which was covered by specialists who have a good knowledge in this area. These discussions had a significant impact on young people in particular, because the radio shows went out on a university owned station. Young volunteers also wrote a letter regarding the abortion law and will present this to the President. And finally, we will create murals to raise awareness of this issue.
The radio discussions, the murals, and the training of young people have already had an effect on community members, especially on young people and have helped them to be more aware of women’s right to control their bodies and to make decisions that affect their health and future. Hopefully, we will be able to have a positive response from the President’s office and help in making a change to the Palestinian laws regarding abortion issues.