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Latest stories from IPPF

Spotlight

A selection of stories from across the Federation

 "Stigma, myths and cultural practices can have a damaging effect on sexual  health, family planning and women’s rights"

Nepal

Story

How cultural traditions affect women’s health

11 August 2017

High up in the mountains of central northern Nepal, not far from the Tibetan border

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Tea parties
story

| 11 October 2016

Tea parties break down taboos in Pakistan

My name is Umm e Kalsoom. I’m 23-years-old and I live in the Muzaffarabad region of Pakistan. I started volunteering with Rahnuma, the Family Planning Association of Pakistan, two years ago. I realised that SRSH was being grossly neglected in our communities after I went to some awareness raising sessions and decided to contribute to the cause. I now run tea parties in my area. These tea parties are important to create a comfortable and open environment for girls and young women to share their SRH issues and concerns and also provide an opportunity to inspire young girls within the communities to mobilize other girls and women. Through my work and involvement in the Girls’ Power Project, I have been able to create a trustworthy environment in the community to discuss matters related to SRH which are usually considered a taboo. I have gained the confidence of young girls and women to share their issues and discuss their SRHR concerns. Through these parties we have been able to develop a sense of confidence within these girls and women and empowered them to exercise their right to participation, expression of thought,  acquire information, education and access services related to their health especially Sexual and Reproductive health without any discrimination. At the beginning of this project the community was reluctant to participate. The girls and women had been raised to believe these issues should never been discussed with others. But because the tea parties provided a relaxed and open environment they were eventually able to win the community’s support and eventually girls found the confidence to share their issues. I remember that in one tea party a 12 year-old-girl came to me at the end of the party and said “I don’t have any sister, from now on you are my elder sister and a friend with whom I can share my problems. Due to your education and information I have been able to come over my inferiority complex”. The main issues that come up at the tea parties from my community are a lack of awareness, counselling, information and services related to sexual and reproductive especially when it comes to Hepatitis, HIV/AIDs, STIs and family planning. Other concerns are about the high prevalence and acceptability of early marriage, child marriage and sexual abuse. The women and girls who come to the tea parties are also worried about the lack of abortion services and the fact that it is very difficult to get contraceptives. The tea parties have had a massive impact on me and my community. Without them women and girls in the community would not have realized that SRH issues are concerns and that it is their right to seek redress.  Engaging as a volunteer I have been able to acquire detailed information on SRHR. I am also empowered to make informed decisions about my life especially in terms of SRHR. If I ever have my own daughter I would like her to be a confident and empowered girl, who know and exercise’s her rights to make informed decision in her life.

Tea parties
story

| 24 June 2022

Tea parties break down taboos in Pakistan

My name is Umm e Kalsoom. I’m 23-years-old and I live in the Muzaffarabad region of Pakistan. I started volunteering with Rahnuma, the Family Planning Association of Pakistan, two years ago. I realised that SRSH was being grossly neglected in our communities after I went to some awareness raising sessions and decided to contribute to the cause. I now run tea parties in my area. These tea parties are important to create a comfortable and open environment for girls and young women to share their SRH issues and concerns and also provide an opportunity to inspire young girls within the communities to mobilize other girls and women. Through my work and involvement in the Girls’ Power Project, I have been able to create a trustworthy environment in the community to discuss matters related to SRH which are usually considered a taboo. I have gained the confidence of young girls and women to share their issues and discuss their SRHR concerns. Through these parties we have been able to develop a sense of confidence within these girls and women and empowered them to exercise their right to participation, expression of thought,  acquire information, education and access services related to their health especially Sexual and Reproductive health without any discrimination. At the beginning of this project the community was reluctant to participate. The girls and women had been raised to believe these issues should never been discussed with others. But because the tea parties provided a relaxed and open environment they were eventually able to win the community’s support and eventually girls found the confidence to share their issues. I remember that in one tea party a 12 year-old-girl came to me at the end of the party and said “I don’t have any sister, from now on you are my elder sister and a friend with whom I can share my problems. Due to your education and information I have been able to come over my inferiority complex”. The main issues that come up at the tea parties from my community are a lack of awareness, counselling, information and services related to sexual and reproductive especially when it comes to Hepatitis, HIV/AIDs, STIs and family planning. Other concerns are about the high prevalence and acceptability of early marriage, child marriage and sexual abuse. The women and girls who come to the tea parties are also worried about the lack of abortion services and the fact that it is very difficult to get contraceptives. The tea parties have had a massive impact on me and my community. Without them women and girls in the community would not have realized that SRH issues are concerns and that it is their right to seek redress.  Engaging as a volunteer I have been able to acquire detailed information on SRHR. I am also empowered to make informed decisions about my life especially in terms of SRHR. If I ever have my own daughter I would like her to be a confident and empowered girl, who know and exercise’s her rights to make informed decision in her life.

Nepal earthquake
story

| 11 October 2016

“My needs as a new mother are being considered”

April 25 was a regular day for Parvati. She had delivered a baby girl merely 26 days ago. She was busy with feeding the baby and taking care of her. She had just sat down to catch a breath; suddenly the floor began to shake. Her first instinct as mother was to grab her baby girl. Shouting to her husband, to get out of the house, she headed to the stairs to reach the ground floor from her first floor residence. Her husband took the infant from her so that she could make her way down the stairs. When the husband wife reached the flight of stairs they found the way blocked by the rubble. They ran back the flight of stairs to the roof, gained access to the neighbour’s house and ran down their staircase to safety. Parvati, infant and her husband lived in the field under the tarpaulin. Having barely escaped with their lives, Parvati did not have anything with her. She borrowed clothes and blankets from other people to keep her baby warm. Feeling anxious for her baby’s life, recovering from the child birth and reeling under the difficult living conditions, it has been a harrowing time for her. When IPPF, through SPRINT initiative organised a medical camp with the support of Family Planning Association of Nepal, she was able to come to the camp and get the post-natal check-up done. The doctor at the camp prescribed multi vitamins and iron folic tablets to build her strength up post-delivery. She also received a dignity kit for her use. “In these difficult times, any bit of help is welcome. I’m very happy that at the camp people have actually thought about a woman’s needs, especially a new mother’s needs. You know in our society we feel shy to say what we want and we adjust. I’m really grateful that for once, my requirements have been considered,” says Parvarti. *Dignity kit contain standard hygiene and protection items which are culturally-appropriate

Nepal earthquake
story

| 25 June 2022

“My needs as a new mother are being considered”

April 25 was a regular day for Parvati. She had delivered a baby girl merely 26 days ago. She was busy with feeding the baby and taking care of her. She had just sat down to catch a breath; suddenly the floor began to shake. Her first instinct as mother was to grab her baby girl. Shouting to her husband, to get out of the house, she headed to the stairs to reach the ground floor from her first floor residence. Her husband took the infant from her so that she could make her way down the stairs. When the husband wife reached the flight of stairs they found the way blocked by the rubble. They ran back the flight of stairs to the roof, gained access to the neighbour’s house and ran down their staircase to safety. Parvati, infant and her husband lived in the field under the tarpaulin. Having barely escaped with their lives, Parvati did not have anything with her. She borrowed clothes and blankets from other people to keep her baby warm. Feeling anxious for her baby’s life, recovering from the child birth and reeling under the difficult living conditions, it has been a harrowing time for her. When IPPF, through SPRINT initiative organised a medical camp with the support of Family Planning Association of Nepal, she was able to come to the camp and get the post-natal check-up done. The doctor at the camp prescribed multi vitamins and iron folic tablets to build her strength up post-delivery. She also received a dignity kit for her use. “In these difficult times, any bit of help is welcome. I’m very happy that at the camp people have actually thought about a woman’s needs, especially a new mother’s needs. You know in our society we feel shy to say what we want and we adjust. I’m really grateful that for once, my requirements have been considered,” says Parvarti. *Dignity kit contain standard hygiene and protection items which are culturally-appropriate

story

| 05 October 2016

Battling stigma in the Kathmandu Valley

 “People used to shout at me when I was distributing condoms. ‘You’re not a good girl,  you’re not of good character’ they’d say. They called me many bad things.”  “But later on, after getting married, whenever I visited those families they came and said:  ‘you did a really good job. We realise that now and feel sorry for what we said before.”  Rita Chawal is recalling her time as a volunteer for the Family Planning Association of  Nepal (FPAN), Nepal’s largest family planning organisation. Her experiences point to the crucial importance of family planning education and support in Nepal, a country still affected by severe maternal and infant mortality rates and poor access to contraception.  Poor government services, remote communities, a failing transport network and strict patriarchal structures can make access to family planning and health services a  challenge for many people across the country. Services like FPAN’s are vital to reach as many people as possible. Rita is now 32 years old and herself a client of FPAN. She lives with her husband and six-year-old son in Bhaktapur, an ancient temple city, 15 kilometres from the centre of Kathmandu. Before getting married, she spent 10 years working as a family planning youth volunteer for FPAN, running classes on sexual health, safe abortion and contraception. Her time at the organisation set her in good stead for married life: after marrying she approached FPAN right away to get family planning support, antenatal classes, and, later on, contraception. “I had all this knowledge, so I decided to come and take the services,” she says. “I found that the services here were very good.” But Rita is far from the norm. She shudders when she recalls the abuse she received from neighbours and her community when she worked distributing contraception. Stigma still surrounds contraception in many places: for an unmarried young woman like Rita to be distributing condoms was seen as immoral by many, particularly older, people, even in an urban setting like Bhaktapur. Stigma can be even more extreme in rural areas. Across Nepal, rumours about the side effects of different contraceptive devices are also a problem. Attitudes are slowly changing. Rita says people now come to her whenever they have a family planning problem. “I have become a role model for the community,” she says. She herself is now using the contraceptive implant, a decision she arrived at after discussing different options with FPAN volunteers. She has tried different methods. After her son’s birth, she began using the contraceptive injection. “After the injection, I shifted to oral pills for six months, but that didn’t suit me,” she says. “It gave me a headache and made me feel dizzy. So I had a consultation with FPAN and they advised me to use the implant. I use it now and feel really good and safe. It’s been five years now.” This kind of advice and support can transform the lives of entire families in Nepal. Reductions in maternal and infant mortality, sexual health, female empowerment and dignity, and access to safe abortion are just a few of the life-changing benefits that organisations like FPAN can bring.

story

| 25 June 2022

Battling stigma in the Kathmandu Valley

 “People used to shout at me when I was distributing condoms. ‘You’re not a good girl,  you’re not of good character’ they’d say. They called me many bad things.”  “But later on, after getting married, whenever I visited those families they came and said:  ‘you did a really good job. We realise that now and feel sorry for what we said before.”  Rita Chawal is recalling her time as a volunteer for the Family Planning Association of  Nepal (FPAN), Nepal’s largest family planning organisation. Her experiences point to the crucial importance of family planning education and support in Nepal, a country still affected by severe maternal and infant mortality rates and poor access to contraception.  Poor government services, remote communities, a failing transport network and strict patriarchal structures can make access to family planning and health services a  challenge for many people across the country. Services like FPAN’s are vital to reach as many people as possible. Rita is now 32 years old and herself a client of FPAN. She lives with her husband and six-year-old son in Bhaktapur, an ancient temple city, 15 kilometres from the centre of Kathmandu. Before getting married, she spent 10 years working as a family planning youth volunteer for FPAN, running classes on sexual health, safe abortion and contraception. Her time at the organisation set her in good stead for married life: after marrying she approached FPAN right away to get family planning support, antenatal classes, and, later on, contraception. “I had all this knowledge, so I decided to come and take the services,” she says. “I found that the services here were very good.” But Rita is far from the norm. She shudders when she recalls the abuse she received from neighbours and her community when she worked distributing contraception. Stigma still surrounds contraception in many places: for an unmarried young woman like Rita to be distributing condoms was seen as immoral by many, particularly older, people, even in an urban setting like Bhaktapur. Stigma can be even more extreme in rural areas. Across Nepal, rumours about the side effects of different contraceptive devices are also a problem. Attitudes are slowly changing. Rita says people now come to her whenever they have a family planning problem. “I have become a role model for the community,” she says. She herself is now using the contraceptive implant, a decision she arrived at after discussing different options with FPAN volunteers. She has tried different methods. After her son’s birth, she began using the contraceptive injection. “After the injection, I shifted to oral pills for six months, but that didn’t suit me,” she says. “It gave me a headache and made me feel dizzy. So I had a consultation with FPAN and they advised me to use the implant. I use it now and feel really good and safe. It’s been five years now.” This kind of advice and support can transform the lives of entire families in Nepal. Reductions in maternal and infant mortality, sexual health, female empowerment and dignity, and access to safe abortion are just a few of the life-changing benefits that organisations like FPAN can bring.

Tea parties
story

| 11 October 2016

Tea parties break down taboos in Pakistan

My name is Umm e Kalsoom. I’m 23-years-old and I live in the Muzaffarabad region of Pakistan. I started volunteering with Rahnuma, the Family Planning Association of Pakistan, two years ago. I realised that SRSH was being grossly neglected in our communities after I went to some awareness raising sessions and decided to contribute to the cause. I now run tea parties in my area. These tea parties are important to create a comfortable and open environment for girls and young women to share their SRH issues and concerns and also provide an opportunity to inspire young girls within the communities to mobilize other girls and women. Through my work and involvement in the Girls’ Power Project, I have been able to create a trustworthy environment in the community to discuss matters related to SRH which are usually considered a taboo. I have gained the confidence of young girls and women to share their issues and discuss their SRHR concerns. Through these parties we have been able to develop a sense of confidence within these girls and women and empowered them to exercise their right to participation, expression of thought,  acquire information, education and access services related to their health especially Sexual and Reproductive health without any discrimination. At the beginning of this project the community was reluctant to participate. The girls and women had been raised to believe these issues should never been discussed with others. But because the tea parties provided a relaxed and open environment they were eventually able to win the community’s support and eventually girls found the confidence to share their issues. I remember that in one tea party a 12 year-old-girl came to me at the end of the party and said “I don’t have any sister, from now on you are my elder sister and a friend with whom I can share my problems. Due to your education and information I have been able to come over my inferiority complex”. The main issues that come up at the tea parties from my community are a lack of awareness, counselling, information and services related to sexual and reproductive especially when it comes to Hepatitis, HIV/AIDs, STIs and family planning. Other concerns are about the high prevalence and acceptability of early marriage, child marriage and sexual abuse. The women and girls who come to the tea parties are also worried about the lack of abortion services and the fact that it is very difficult to get contraceptives. The tea parties have had a massive impact on me and my community. Without them women and girls in the community would not have realized that SRH issues are concerns and that it is their right to seek redress.  Engaging as a volunteer I have been able to acquire detailed information on SRHR. I am also empowered to make informed decisions about my life especially in terms of SRHR. If I ever have my own daughter I would like her to be a confident and empowered girl, who know and exercise’s her rights to make informed decision in her life.

Tea parties
story

| 24 June 2022

Tea parties break down taboos in Pakistan

My name is Umm e Kalsoom. I’m 23-years-old and I live in the Muzaffarabad region of Pakistan. I started volunteering with Rahnuma, the Family Planning Association of Pakistan, two years ago. I realised that SRSH was being grossly neglected in our communities after I went to some awareness raising sessions and decided to contribute to the cause. I now run tea parties in my area. These tea parties are important to create a comfortable and open environment for girls and young women to share their SRH issues and concerns and also provide an opportunity to inspire young girls within the communities to mobilize other girls and women. Through my work and involvement in the Girls’ Power Project, I have been able to create a trustworthy environment in the community to discuss matters related to SRH which are usually considered a taboo. I have gained the confidence of young girls and women to share their issues and discuss their SRHR concerns. Through these parties we have been able to develop a sense of confidence within these girls and women and empowered them to exercise their right to participation, expression of thought,  acquire information, education and access services related to their health especially Sexual and Reproductive health without any discrimination. At the beginning of this project the community was reluctant to participate. The girls and women had been raised to believe these issues should never been discussed with others. But because the tea parties provided a relaxed and open environment they were eventually able to win the community’s support and eventually girls found the confidence to share their issues. I remember that in one tea party a 12 year-old-girl came to me at the end of the party and said “I don’t have any sister, from now on you are my elder sister and a friend with whom I can share my problems. Due to your education and information I have been able to come over my inferiority complex”. The main issues that come up at the tea parties from my community are a lack of awareness, counselling, information and services related to sexual and reproductive especially when it comes to Hepatitis, HIV/AIDs, STIs and family planning. Other concerns are about the high prevalence and acceptability of early marriage, child marriage and sexual abuse. The women and girls who come to the tea parties are also worried about the lack of abortion services and the fact that it is very difficult to get contraceptives. The tea parties have had a massive impact on me and my community. Without them women and girls in the community would not have realized that SRH issues are concerns and that it is their right to seek redress.  Engaging as a volunteer I have been able to acquire detailed information on SRHR. I am also empowered to make informed decisions about my life especially in terms of SRHR. If I ever have my own daughter I would like her to be a confident and empowered girl, who know and exercise’s her rights to make informed decision in her life.

Nepal earthquake
story

| 11 October 2016

“My needs as a new mother are being considered”

April 25 was a regular day for Parvati. She had delivered a baby girl merely 26 days ago. She was busy with feeding the baby and taking care of her. She had just sat down to catch a breath; suddenly the floor began to shake. Her first instinct as mother was to grab her baby girl. Shouting to her husband, to get out of the house, she headed to the stairs to reach the ground floor from her first floor residence. Her husband took the infant from her so that she could make her way down the stairs. When the husband wife reached the flight of stairs they found the way blocked by the rubble. They ran back the flight of stairs to the roof, gained access to the neighbour’s house and ran down their staircase to safety. Parvati, infant and her husband lived in the field under the tarpaulin. Having barely escaped with their lives, Parvati did not have anything with her. She borrowed clothes and blankets from other people to keep her baby warm. Feeling anxious for her baby’s life, recovering from the child birth and reeling under the difficult living conditions, it has been a harrowing time for her. When IPPF, through SPRINT initiative organised a medical camp with the support of Family Planning Association of Nepal, she was able to come to the camp and get the post-natal check-up done. The doctor at the camp prescribed multi vitamins and iron folic tablets to build her strength up post-delivery. She also received a dignity kit for her use. “In these difficult times, any bit of help is welcome. I’m very happy that at the camp people have actually thought about a woman’s needs, especially a new mother’s needs. You know in our society we feel shy to say what we want and we adjust. I’m really grateful that for once, my requirements have been considered,” says Parvarti. *Dignity kit contain standard hygiene and protection items which are culturally-appropriate

Nepal earthquake
story

| 25 June 2022

“My needs as a new mother are being considered”

April 25 was a regular day for Parvati. She had delivered a baby girl merely 26 days ago. She was busy with feeding the baby and taking care of her. She had just sat down to catch a breath; suddenly the floor began to shake. Her first instinct as mother was to grab her baby girl. Shouting to her husband, to get out of the house, she headed to the stairs to reach the ground floor from her first floor residence. Her husband took the infant from her so that she could make her way down the stairs. When the husband wife reached the flight of stairs they found the way blocked by the rubble. They ran back the flight of stairs to the roof, gained access to the neighbour’s house and ran down their staircase to safety. Parvati, infant and her husband lived in the field under the tarpaulin. Having barely escaped with their lives, Parvati did not have anything with her. She borrowed clothes and blankets from other people to keep her baby warm. Feeling anxious for her baby’s life, recovering from the child birth and reeling under the difficult living conditions, it has been a harrowing time for her. When IPPF, through SPRINT initiative organised a medical camp with the support of Family Planning Association of Nepal, she was able to come to the camp and get the post-natal check-up done. The doctor at the camp prescribed multi vitamins and iron folic tablets to build her strength up post-delivery. She also received a dignity kit for her use. “In these difficult times, any bit of help is welcome. I’m very happy that at the camp people have actually thought about a woman’s needs, especially a new mother’s needs. You know in our society we feel shy to say what we want and we adjust. I’m really grateful that for once, my requirements have been considered,” says Parvarti. *Dignity kit contain standard hygiene and protection items which are culturally-appropriate

story

| 05 October 2016

Battling stigma in the Kathmandu Valley

 “People used to shout at me when I was distributing condoms. ‘You’re not a good girl,  you’re not of good character’ they’d say. They called me many bad things.”  “But later on, after getting married, whenever I visited those families they came and said:  ‘you did a really good job. We realise that now and feel sorry for what we said before.”  Rita Chawal is recalling her time as a volunteer for the Family Planning Association of  Nepal (FPAN), Nepal’s largest family planning organisation. Her experiences point to the crucial importance of family planning education and support in Nepal, a country still affected by severe maternal and infant mortality rates and poor access to contraception.  Poor government services, remote communities, a failing transport network and strict patriarchal structures can make access to family planning and health services a  challenge for many people across the country. Services like FPAN’s are vital to reach as many people as possible. Rita is now 32 years old and herself a client of FPAN. She lives with her husband and six-year-old son in Bhaktapur, an ancient temple city, 15 kilometres from the centre of Kathmandu. Before getting married, she spent 10 years working as a family planning youth volunteer for FPAN, running classes on sexual health, safe abortion and contraception. Her time at the organisation set her in good stead for married life: after marrying she approached FPAN right away to get family planning support, antenatal classes, and, later on, contraception. “I had all this knowledge, so I decided to come and take the services,” she says. “I found that the services here were very good.” But Rita is far from the norm. She shudders when she recalls the abuse she received from neighbours and her community when she worked distributing contraception. Stigma still surrounds contraception in many places: for an unmarried young woman like Rita to be distributing condoms was seen as immoral by many, particularly older, people, even in an urban setting like Bhaktapur. Stigma can be even more extreme in rural areas. Across Nepal, rumours about the side effects of different contraceptive devices are also a problem. Attitudes are slowly changing. Rita says people now come to her whenever they have a family planning problem. “I have become a role model for the community,” she says. She herself is now using the contraceptive implant, a decision she arrived at after discussing different options with FPAN volunteers. She has tried different methods. After her son’s birth, she began using the contraceptive injection. “After the injection, I shifted to oral pills for six months, but that didn’t suit me,” she says. “It gave me a headache and made me feel dizzy. So I had a consultation with FPAN and they advised me to use the implant. I use it now and feel really good and safe. It’s been five years now.” This kind of advice and support can transform the lives of entire families in Nepal. Reductions in maternal and infant mortality, sexual health, female empowerment and dignity, and access to safe abortion are just a few of the life-changing benefits that organisations like FPAN can bring.

story

| 25 June 2022

Battling stigma in the Kathmandu Valley

 “People used to shout at me when I was distributing condoms. ‘You’re not a good girl,  you’re not of good character’ they’d say. They called me many bad things.”  “But later on, after getting married, whenever I visited those families they came and said:  ‘you did a really good job. We realise that now and feel sorry for what we said before.”  Rita Chawal is recalling her time as a volunteer for the Family Planning Association of  Nepal (FPAN), Nepal’s largest family planning organisation. Her experiences point to the crucial importance of family planning education and support in Nepal, a country still affected by severe maternal and infant mortality rates and poor access to contraception.  Poor government services, remote communities, a failing transport network and strict patriarchal structures can make access to family planning and health services a  challenge for many people across the country. Services like FPAN’s are vital to reach as many people as possible. Rita is now 32 years old and herself a client of FPAN. She lives with her husband and six-year-old son in Bhaktapur, an ancient temple city, 15 kilometres from the centre of Kathmandu. Before getting married, she spent 10 years working as a family planning youth volunteer for FPAN, running classes on sexual health, safe abortion and contraception. Her time at the organisation set her in good stead for married life: after marrying she approached FPAN right away to get family planning support, antenatal classes, and, later on, contraception. “I had all this knowledge, so I decided to come and take the services,” she says. “I found that the services here were very good.” But Rita is far from the norm. She shudders when she recalls the abuse she received from neighbours and her community when she worked distributing contraception. Stigma still surrounds contraception in many places: for an unmarried young woman like Rita to be distributing condoms was seen as immoral by many, particularly older, people, even in an urban setting like Bhaktapur. Stigma can be even more extreme in rural areas. Across Nepal, rumours about the side effects of different contraceptive devices are also a problem. Attitudes are slowly changing. Rita says people now come to her whenever they have a family planning problem. “I have become a role model for the community,” she says. She herself is now using the contraceptive implant, a decision she arrived at after discussing different options with FPAN volunteers. She has tried different methods. After her son’s birth, she began using the contraceptive injection. “After the injection, I shifted to oral pills for six months, but that didn’t suit me,” she says. “It gave me a headache and made me feel dizzy. So I had a consultation with FPAN and they advised me to use the implant. I use it now and feel really good and safe. It’s been five years now.” This kind of advice and support can transform the lives of entire families in Nepal. Reductions in maternal and infant mortality, sexual health, female empowerment and dignity, and access to safe abortion are just a few of the life-changing benefits that organisations like FPAN can bring.