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Spotlight

A selection of stories from across the Federation

Foro Político de Alto Nivel - IPPF ACRO - Gestos

Brazil

Story

The High-Level Political Forum: Let’s rewrite the rules

Sustainable Development Goals are critical to achieve Reproductive Justice. Are governments and multilateral stakeholders committed enough?
Foro Político de Alto Nivel - IPPF ACRO - Gestos
story

| 18 July 2024

The High-Level Political Forum: Let’s rewrite the rules

Haz click aquí para leer esta historia en español. The High-Level Political Forum: Let’s rewrite the rules   From Monday, July 8th, to Wednesday, July 17th, IPPF ACRO, in collaboration with Gestos, our partner organization in Brazil, participated in the United Nations High-Level Political Forum, to continue advocating for increased investment by governments in initiatives that are centered on and led by marginalized communities. The High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) serves as a critical platform for member-states, UN agencies, and civil society to evaluate progress, address challenges, exchange best practices, and promote policies aimed at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This year it represents a significant advocacy opportunity to engage with the roadmap leading to the Summit of the Future, a pivotal United Nations debate scheduled for September, and offers a chance to enhance collaboration on essential issues around women and youth’s rights, in their diversity, and address gaps in global governance. The 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are deeply intertwined with the mission and objectives of IPPF as a Federation. Achieving reproductive justice globally requires that women, girls, and all individuals have control over their sexuality, gender, and reproduction. However, for this to become a reality, the basic human rights of all must be guaranteed and protected, including the right to a healthy environment. And only by making progress toward achieving the 17 SDGs, we can move closer to realizing this vision. As a monitoring body for the SDGs, during the High-Level Political Forums, governments present their National Volunteer Reports (VNRs). This facilitates the sharing of experiences, including successes, challenges, and lessons learned, with the aim of accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. In 2024, eight countries from our region—Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, and Peru—presented their VNRs. These reviews enable civil society, including IPPF ACRO, to closely monitor how governments have progressed in advancing the Sustainable Development Agenda, particularly in relation to the populations we work with, such as women, youth, LGBTQI+ individuals, sex workers, and other marginalized communities.   Gestos- HIV, Communication and Gender, IPPF Collaborative Partner in Brazil, is the Latin America and the Caribbean Operative Partner of the Women’s Major Group and has been following the Agenda 2030 roadmap closely, as part of their country’s official delegation.   For Germana Aciolly, journalist and policy adviser at Gestos, this is a special year. Brazil is presenting their VNR for the second time and it responds directly to the reports that the Civil Society Working Group for the 2030 Agenda in Brazil has been publishing since 2017. “There is no VNR presented here with such a level of democratic dialogue between civil society and government. This is an important example because, at the same time, we are here to launch our own CSO Spotlight Report that monitors all SDG targets and, unfortunately, it shows that in Brazil only around 7% of the goals are making satisfactory progress. It opens the opportunity, for instance, to debate with the government the immense challenges for women and youth, in all their diversity, in our country that particularly increased by the actions from the previous government.”  

Foro Político de Alto Nivel - IPPF ACRO - Gestos
story

| 18 July 2024

The High-Level Political Forum: Let’s rewrite the rules

Haz click aquí para leer esta historia en español. The High-Level Political Forum: Let’s rewrite the rules   From Monday, July 8th, to Wednesday, July 17th, IPPF ACRO, in collaboration with Gestos, our partner organization in Brazil, participated in the United Nations High-Level Political Forum, to continue advocating for increased investment by governments in initiatives that are centered on and led by marginalized communities. The High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) serves as a critical platform for member-states, UN agencies, and civil society to evaluate progress, address challenges, exchange best practices, and promote policies aimed at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This year it represents a significant advocacy opportunity to engage with the roadmap leading to the Summit of the Future, a pivotal United Nations debate scheduled for September, and offers a chance to enhance collaboration on essential issues around women and youth’s rights, in their diversity, and address gaps in global governance. The 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are deeply intertwined with the mission and objectives of IPPF as a Federation. Achieving reproductive justice globally requires that women, girls, and all individuals have control over their sexuality, gender, and reproduction. However, for this to become a reality, the basic human rights of all must be guaranteed and protected, including the right to a healthy environment. And only by making progress toward achieving the 17 SDGs, we can move closer to realizing this vision. As a monitoring body for the SDGs, during the High-Level Political Forums, governments present their National Volunteer Reports (VNRs). This facilitates the sharing of experiences, including successes, challenges, and lessons learned, with the aim of accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. In 2024, eight countries from our region—Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, and Peru—presented their VNRs. These reviews enable civil society, including IPPF ACRO, to closely monitor how governments have progressed in advancing the Sustainable Development Agenda, particularly in relation to the populations we work with, such as women, youth, LGBTQI+ individuals, sex workers, and other marginalized communities.   Gestos- HIV, Communication and Gender, IPPF Collaborative Partner in Brazil, is the Latin America and the Caribbean Operative Partner of the Women’s Major Group and has been following the Agenda 2030 roadmap closely, as part of their country’s official delegation.   For Germana Aciolly, journalist and policy adviser at Gestos, this is a special year. Brazil is presenting their VNR for the second time and it responds directly to the reports that the Civil Society Working Group for the 2030 Agenda in Brazil has been publishing since 2017. “There is no VNR presented here with such a level of democratic dialogue between civil society and government. This is an important example because, at the same time, we are here to launch our own CSO Spotlight Report that monitors all SDG targets and, unfortunately, it shows that in Brazil only around 7% of the goals are making satisfactory progress. It opens the opportunity, for instance, to debate with the government the immense challenges for women and youth, in all their diversity, in our country that particularly increased by the actions from the previous government.”  

Día Internacional de las Mujeres 8M en IPPF ACRO
story

| 15 April 2024

Bridging the Gap through Community

Haz click aquí para leer esta historia en español.     International Women's Day is one of the most relevant Human Rights mobilizations worldwide. In 2024, it marks over 100 years of marches, strikes, worker stoppages, and silent resistances, all of which continue to emphasize the urgency of ensuring equal conditions for women in society. This year, the UN invited the international community to reflect on "Investing in women: accelerating progress," to reaffirm that investing in and guaranteeing women's rights, in all their diversity, benefits all people and society as a whole. To eradicate poverty, transition to clean energy, address hunger and, achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, gender equality must be a priority for all countries and institutions, whether public or private. And universal access and coverage in health, decent work, quality education, digital inclusion, and the construction of comprehensive and shared care systems are rights that cannot be denied to women and girls.   IPPF ACRO – A diverse, community-centered 8M In IPPF Americas and the Caribbean, our main advocacy on March 8th and every day of the year is to guarantee access to sexual and reproductive health for all people. On this International Women's Day, Member Associations, Collaborative Partners, and Secretariat conducted commemorative activities in their services and shared with communities and groups to advocate for health and rights needs. Here are some of their actions:   Argentina In an unfavorable context following the election of an anti-rights president, Fundheg and allies took to the streets to join a social call against the government's extremist measures that endanger the laws and well-being of its people. Marching among feminist groups was, in this case, a powerful reminder that the Green Tide will  strive to ensure the sexual and reproductive rights of all people.

Día Internacional de las Mujeres 8M en IPPF ACRO
story

| 15 April 2024

Bridging the Gap through Community

Haz click aquí para leer esta historia en español.     International Women's Day is one of the most relevant Human Rights mobilizations worldwide. In 2024, it marks over 100 years of marches, strikes, worker stoppages, and silent resistances, all of which continue to emphasize the urgency of ensuring equal conditions for women in society. This year, the UN invited the international community to reflect on "Investing in women: accelerating progress," to reaffirm that investing in and guaranteeing women's rights, in all their diversity, benefits all people and society as a whole. To eradicate poverty, transition to clean energy, address hunger and, achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, gender equality must be a priority for all countries and institutions, whether public or private. And universal access and coverage in health, decent work, quality education, digital inclusion, and the construction of comprehensive and shared care systems are rights that cannot be denied to women and girls.   IPPF ACRO – A diverse, community-centered 8M In IPPF Americas and the Caribbean, our main advocacy on March 8th and every day of the year is to guarantee access to sexual and reproductive health for all people. On this International Women's Day, Member Associations, Collaborative Partners, and Secretariat conducted commemorative activities in their services and shared with communities and groups to advocate for health and rights needs. Here are some of their actions:   Argentina In an unfavorable context following the election of an anti-rights president, Fundheg and allies took to the streets to join a social call against the government's extremist measures that endanger the laws and well-being of its people. Marching among feminist groups was, in this case, a powerful reminder that the Green Tide will  strive to ensure the sexual and reproductive rights of all people.

CSE Choice
story

| 24 January 2024

Revolutionizing CSE: Latin American and Caribbean Youth Leading the Charge!

Revolutionizing CSE: Latin American and Caribbean Youth Leading the Charge!

CSE Choice
story

| 24 January 2024

Revolutionizing CSE: Latin American and Caribbean Youth Leading the Charge!

Revolutionizing CSE: Latin American and Caribbean Youth Leading the Charge!

barbadoa
story

| 11 August 2021

“At BFPA, we don’t turn away anyone”

Keriann Hurley has worked at the Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA) for 15 years. She is a social worker and the Manager of Youth Programming, but art is another passion of hers.  A link between art and social work may not seem evident but Keriann explains that combining her passions “helps to fuel the type of interventions I do with the clients.” Keriann is proud that “here at BFPA, our niche and the thing that we do amazingly well, above anyone else I dare say, is how we deal with Sexual and Reproductive Health issues, but that’s not all we do”. “Sexuality and sexual health is only one aspect of your existence”, she says. She is clear that BFPA’s services must consider gender, sexual identity, sexual orientation, mental health, family circumstances and relationships in its service delivery if it is to truly serve the community. There is a real need to provide unhindered access to young people who require services In Barbados, the age of consent is 16 but “there is still the issue of the age of access versus the age of consent.” Keriann explained that there’s no legal framework that prevents young people between 16 and 18 from accessing SRH services; there is the cultural “assumption that they must bring parent/guardian to be seen by a medical professional.” “A young person isn’t just going to show up at a doctor’s office because they think it’s the cool thing to do. There must be a dire reason”, Keriann says, and she adds that many young people do not access services because they fear judgement and punishment. “At BFPA, we don’t turn away anyone” A key task of the BFPA is to facilitate young people’s access to SRH services. BFPA established legally compliant protocols which govern their engagement with young people. Social Workers like Keriann comprehensively assess the personal circumstances of each young person to ensure that they are provided with the appropriate care. “Not every young person has a parent or guardian who will come with them, but should they be turned away if they have a dire need? No, it’s unethical to do that. At BFPA, we don’t turn away anyone”, she says. Sometimes a young person does have an available parent or guardian but fears their reaction to their desire to access SRH services. In these situations, she acts as a mediator to facilitate conversation between the young person and their caretaker. With the years passing, it became clear to Keriann that the challenge is “dealing with age-old issues in new ways. There is nothing new under the sun. However, issues do come back around in new ways”. The significance of certain issues changes with the times. “Just look at social media!” she says, “it also means that information, and misinformation, is easily accessible.” Keriann has seen a shift in societal attitudes towards SRH over the last 5 years. A plus side of the internet, she says, is that the accessibility of information means that society cannot “bury its head in the sand and pretend that young people aren’t sexually exploring.” “The Young Mothers Programme is my baby” In 2011, Keriann started this 10-year programme. The majority of Barbadian households are female-headed and she recognises that empowering young mothers will have a powerful positive impact on society. “These girls come with heavy issues,” Keriann says. Beneficiaries are taught not just parenting skills but life skills. They have access to intensive psychosocial counselling for themselves, partners and family members and vocational training. The Young Mothers Programme has transitioned to online delivery which poses such as lack of devices, electricity or a conducive household environment, and unreliability or absence of internet access. “Suddenly there was a new normal before we could even figure out what that meant”, Keriann says. Online delivery is more tiring, and she admits the difficulty in balancing delivery of a quality programme without an unsustainable psychological cost to herself but is adamant that “it is better to have a meaningful impact on 10 people than surface level engagement with 100”. Keriann believes that “the wealth and health of a society is based on how we take care of the most vulnerable. Working in an organisation whose focus is primarily the most vulnerable is really rewarding”. Keriann shares that social work is one of least financially viable careers in Barbados. “Many months we just try to get by, but the work is really rewarding!” she laughed, “We are here grinding on and doing what we have to do to make sure that we provide quality services to the most vulnerable in our community and not leaving anyone behind”

barbadoa
story

| 21 July 2024

“At BFPA, we don’t turn away anyone”

Keriann Hurley has worked at the Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA) for 15 years. She is a social worker and the Manager of Youth Programming, but art is another passion of hers.  A link between art and social work may not seem evident but Keriann explains that combining her passions “helps to fuel the type of interventions I do with the clients.” Keriann is proud that “here at BFPA, our niche and the thing that we do amazingly well, above anyone else I dare say, is how we deal with Sexual and Reproductive Health issues, but that’s not all we do”. “Sexuality and sexual health is only one aspect of your existence”, she says. She is clear that BFPA’s services must consider gender, sexual identity, sexual orientation, mental health, family circumstances and relationships in its service delivery if it is to truly serve the community. There is a real need to provide unhindered access to young people who require services In Barbados, the age of consent is 16 but “there is still the issue of the age of access versus the age of consent.” Keriann explained that there’s no legal framework that prevents young people between 16 and 18 from accessing SRH services; there is the cultural “assumption that they must bring parent/guardian to be seen by a medical professional.” “A young person isn’t just going to show up at a doctor’s office because they think it’s the cool thing to do. There must be a dire reason”, Keriann says, and she adds that many young people do not access services because they fear judgement and punishment. “At BFPA, we don’t turn away anyone” A key task of the BFPA is to facilitate young people’s access to SRH services. BFPA established legally compliant protocols which govern their engagement with young people. Social Workers like Keriann comprehensively assess the personal circumstances of each young person to ensure that they are provided with the appropriate care. “Not every young person has a parent or guardian who will come with them, but should they be turned away if they have a dire need? No, it’s unethical to do that. At BFPA, we don’t turn away anyone”, she says. Sometimes a young person does have an available parent or guardian but fears their reaction to their desire to access SRH services. In these situations, she acts as a mediator to facilitate conversation between the young person and their caretaker. With the years passing, it became clear to Keriann that the challenge is “dealing with age-old issues in new ways. There is nothing new under the sun. However, issues do come back around in new ways”. The significance of certain issues changes with the times. “Just look at social media!” she says, “it also means that information, and misinformation, is easily accessible.” Keriann has seen a shift in societal attitudes towards SRH over the last 5 years. A plus side of the internet, she says, is that the accessibility of information means that society cannot “bury its head in the sand and pretend that young people aren’t sexually exploring.” “The Young Mothers Programme is my baby” In 2011, Keriann started this 10-year programme. The majority of Barbadian households are female-headed and she recognises that empowering young mothers will have a powerful positive impact on society. “These girls come with heavy issues,” Keriann says. Beneficiaries are taught not just parenting skills but life skills. They have access to intensive psychosocial counselling for themselves, partners and family members and vocational training. The Young Mothers Programme has transitioned to online delivery which poses such as lack of devices, electricity or a conducive household environment, and unreliability or absence of internet access. “Suddenly there was a new normal before we could even figure out what that meant”, Keriann says. Online delivery is more tiring, and she admits the difficulty in balancing delivery of a quality programme without an unsustainable psychological cost to herself but is adamant that “it is better to have a meaningful impact on 10 people than surface level engagement with 100”. Keriann believes that “the wealth and health of a society is based on how we take care of the most vulnerable. Working in an organisation whose focus is primarily the most vulnerable is really rewarding”. Keriann shares that social work is one of least financially viable careers in Barbados. “Many months we just try to get by, but the work is really rewarding!” she laughed, “We are here grinding on and doing what we have to do to make sure that we provide quality services to the most vulnerable in our community and not leaving anyone behind”

Dr. Rashida Daisley is the 31-year-old Clinical Director of the Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA)
story

| 15 June 2021

“I have a passion for working with key populations"

Dr. Rashida Daisley is the 31-year-old Clinical Director of the Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA) and is also the president of the Barbados Association of Endometriosis and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (BAEP). “I have a passion for working with key populations and that’s what lead me to work at BFPA,” She says and takes pride in BFPA's continued leadership of sexual and reproductive health services in Barbados. Offering a spectrum of gynecological care while also conducting specialized clinics, steadily expanding its practice to include more general services including antenatal care. There is a men’s clinic that addresses both SRH and physical and emotional wellbeing while BFPA’s surgical clinic offers minor surgeries such as hernia repair, lumpectomies, and vasectomies. Despite funding challenges, BFPA has committed to providing critical support to the under-served LGBTQ+ community in Barbados by partnering with NGO - Sexuality, Health and Empowerment (SHE) to provide affordable, high quality and inclusive health services to lesbians, bisexual and queer women, as well as non-binary and transgender persons - an effort spearheaded personally by Dr. Daisley, while also supporting pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEp) and STI clinics at Equals Barbados, another LBGTQ+ organization on the island.   COVID-19 and filling the gaps Dr. Daisley says she is pleased that clinical services were able to continue throughout the pandemic, unfortunately, COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on Barbados’ economy and society. As a tourism-dependent nation, a large proportion of the Barbadian workforce became unemployed in a very short period which in turn negatively affected the ability of marginalized persons to access basic services or even basic hygiene products. BFPA sought funding and donations to fill this gap and was able to secure funding from international organizations such as UNFPA, as well as donations of sanitary items from the Lady Box Project, a local NGO aimed at ending period poverty.  With funding from IPPF assisting in the provision of services to key populations such as persons living with HIV, men who have sex with men, sex workers, and LGBTQ+ persons. The allocation of funds to provide services to these groups allowed BFPA the financial space to direct its efforts to their other clients. Perhaps surprisingly, a relatively large subset of BFPA’s clients are older persons.  “The majority of people that BFPA interacts with are pretty open but that is probably because the people who seek out BFPA are already open-minded enough to access services at an organization with the words ‘family planning’”, Dr. Daisley laughed, “we do get a lot of referrals.” Perhaps surprisingly, a relatively large subset of BFPA’s clients are older people, many of whom started coming to BFPA as young people, while a small number of older persons do still seek out services because they are sexually active. Unfortunately, they grew up in a social climate where sexual and reproductive health education was virtually non-existent and the work to provide them better access is ongoing.  Dr. Daisley explains that the older population often do not think that they need to see the doctor about their sexual activity because there is no possibility of pregnancy. They are also not aware of the breadth of STI testing available. “When I ask them when was their last STI test, they usually say a few years ago at a health fair.” When probed, many of them disclose that they have only ever been tested for HIV and are not aware of many of the other STIs. In contrast, younger persons tend to have a healthier and more informed approach to sex and sexuality. Dr. Daisley observes that there is an increase in young people coming to be tested with their partners, and she attributes this in part to the important work that the BFPA’s Youth Advocacy Movement has done over the years, and essential to the progress of comprehensive sexual education.     

Dr. Rashida Daisley is the 31-year-old Clinical Director of the Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA)
story

| 21 July 2024

“I have a passion for working with key populations"

Dr. Rashida Daisley is the 31-year-old Clinical Director of the Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA) and is also the president of the Barbados Association of Endometriosis and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (BAEP). “I have a passion for working with key populations and that’s what lead me to work at BFPA,” She says and takes pride in BFPA's continued leadership of sexual and reproductive health services in Barbados. Offering a spectrum of gynecological care while also conducting specialized clinics, steadily expanding its practice to include more general services including antenatal care. There is a men’s clinic that addresses both SRH and physical and emotional wellbeing while BFPA’s surgical clinic offers minor surgeries such as hernia repair, lumpectomies, and vasectomies. Despite funding challenges, BFPA has committed to providing critical support to the under-served LGBTQ+ community in Barbados by partnering with NGO - Sexuality, Health and Empowerment (SHE) to provide affordable, high quality and inclusive health services to lesbians, bisexual and queer women, as well as non-binary and transgender persons - an effort spearheaded personally by Dr. Daisley, while also supporting pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEp) and STI clinics at Equals Barbados, another LBGTQ+ organization on the island.   COVID-19 and filling the gaps Dr. Daisley says she is pleased that clinical services were able to continue throughout the pandemic, unfortunately, COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on Barbados’ economy and society. As a tourism-dependent nation, a large proportion of the Barbadian workforce became unemployed in a very short period which in turn negatively affected the ability of marginalized persons to access basic services or even basic hygiene products. BFPA sought funding and donations to fill this gap and was able to secure funding from international organizations such as UNFPA, as well as donations of sanitary items from the Lady Box Project, a local NGO aimed at ending period poverty.  With funding from IPPF assisting in the provision of services to key populations such as persons living with HIV, men who have sex with men, sex workers, and LGBTQ+ persons. The allocation of funds to provide services to these groups allowed BFPA the financial space to direct its efforts to their other clients. Perhaps surprisingly, a relatively large subset of BFPA’s clients are older persons.  “The majority of people that BFPA interacts with are pretty open but that is probably because the people who seek out BFPA are already open-minded enough to access services at an organization with the words ‘family planning’”, Dr. Daisley laughed, “we do get a lot of referrals.” Perhaps surprisingly, a relatively large subset of BFPA’s clients are older people, many of whom started coming to BFPA as young people, while a small number of older persons do still seek out services because they are sexually active. Unfortunately, they grew up in a social climate where sexual and reproductive health education was virtually non-existent and the work to provide them better access is ongoing.  Dr. Daisley explains that the older population often do not think that they need to see the doctor about their sexual activity because there is no possibility of pregnancy. They are also not aware of the breadth of STI testing available. “When I ask them when was their last STI test, they usually say a few years ago at a health fair.” When probed, many of them disclose that they have only ever been tested for HIV and are not aware of many of the other STIs. In contrast, younger persons tend to have a healthier and more informed approach to sex and sexuality. Dr. Daisley observes that there is an increase in young people coming to be tested with their partners, and she attributes this in part to the important work that the BFPA’s Youth Advocacy Movement has done over the years, and essential to the progress of comprehensive sexual education.     

trail
story

| 11 June 2021

The Migrant Experience: “They understand us and that is so hard to find”

Three million Venezuelans, fleeing a national crisis of economic depression and political oppression have found themselves seeking refuge in Latin America and the neighbouring islands of the Caribbean. About 40,000 of those have come to Trinidad and Tobago’s shores, with the hopes of finding a better life. Anything would be different from what they have left behind.  Neighbourhoods that once echoed the voices of playing children, were now riddled with the sounds of gunshots. Business places with broken store fronts, empty grocery and pharmacy shelves, elderly persons homeless and impoverished. Those with well-paying jobs could no longer make enough money to feed their families so walking the streets in your own neighbourhood put you at risk of kidnapping for menial ransoms.  This was the situation in Cumana Sucre that caused Marina Lopez to flee with her husband and two daughters in 2018. She was a preschool teacher and a good one at that. She loved the interaction she had with her students, seeing them grow in both knowledge and stature in their formative years, but it wasn’t enough to allay her fears of her own family’s survival.  As persons living with HIV, Marina and her teenaged daughter depended on constant access to medicine and healthcare, neither of which was still accessible. With daughters in tow, Marina and her husband braved the waters in search of new life in Trinidad.  About the same time, Ana Camacho, a young mother with dreams of migrating to Canada, said goodbye to her teary-eyed mother, sisters and 12-year-old daughter. She once held a good job as an administrator in Anaco, Venezuela, but when the company closed, she could no longer make the money needed to provide. A life in Canada seemed very promising and she and a friend decided that they would work for 3 months in Trinidad to gather the funds for the move up North. However, when she gained employment in Trinidad, her mother became ill and she was forced to postpone her plans and settle on the island in order to continue working.   “Everyone was so friendly and treated us like people” Both Marina and Ana can vividly recount the experiences that brought them to Trinidad 3 years ago. Today, they are both clients of the Family Planning Association of Trinidad and Tobago (FPATT) receiving care to meet their varying sexual and reproductive health needs.  “I was told about the Clinic from the UNHCR. They suggested that my daughter and I come here for treatment. When we got here everyone was so friendly and treated us like people. They understand us and that is so hard to find. They also referred us to the hospital in San Fernando for further treatment and it has been great since. We feel very comfortable here,” Marina disclosed. For 34-year-old Ana, her experience at FPATT is an interesting one. “When I first heard about the Clinic, I thought I would come in for a pap smear. I was in a new country, working and sending what I made back home for my family. I didn’t want to risk getting sick so I booked an appointment to get the test. When I came in, the nurses asked me if I was pregnant, and I said no, only to find out that I was. I was shocked, but I knew that the doctors and nurses at the clinic are good people and would take care of me during pregnancy. My son is now 14 months and now I come in for my contraceptive shot. I bring my son with me and everyone treats him like their own,” she says.  Ana was also a participant in the webinar series hosted by FPATT in January 2021. The 8-module Zoom series was based on IPPF’s One Curriculum, but designed to meet the specific needs of the migrant community. Although the series covered many topics including Nutrition, Gender-Based Violence and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights, the one module that stood out for Ana was Self Defense.  “One day I was on my way to work in a taxi and I realized that the driver was not taking the route that other drivers do. I asked him where he was going and he wouldn’t answer me. I got very scared because I was in the taxi by myself. I started to shout at him and he still wouldn’t answer me until finally he stopped and I ran out of the taxi. I went to a police station and the officer asked me what I was doing alone in the taxi. I told him that I was trying to get to work. After that, I never worked again. It’s too risky. I wish I had seen that self-defense class before that evening,” she said.  Many migrants have had similar experiences to that of Ana’s. Incidences of sexual exploitation, gender-based violence, and xenophobia are rampant among the women in the community and so they are grateful for the refuge they find at FPATT. “In here, they genuinely look out for us,” Ana says, “and that’s different from how we are treated when we walk the street. They live up to their name as Family.”  

trail
story

| 21 July 2024

The Migrant Experience: “They understand us and that is so hard to find”

Three million Venezuelans, fleeing a national crisis of economic depression and political oppression have found themselves seeking refuge in Latin America and the neighbouring islands of the Caribbean. About 40,000 of those have come to Trinidad and Tobago’s shores, with the hopes of finding a better life. Anything would be different from what they have left behind.  Neighbourhoods that once echoed the voices of playing children, were now riddled with the sounds of gunshots. Business places with broken store fronts, empty grocery and pharmacy shelves, elderly persons homeless and impoverished. Those with well-paying jobs could no longer make enough money to feed their families so walking the streets in your own neighbourhood put you at risk of kidnapping for menial ransoms.  This was the situation in Cumana Sucre that caused Marina Lopez to flee with her husband and two daughters in 2018. She was a preschool teacher and a good one at that. She loved the interaction she had with her students, seeing them grow in both knowledge and stature in their formative years, but it wasn’t enough to allay her fears of her own family’s survival.  As persons living with HIV, Marina and her teenaged daughter depended on constant access to medicine and healthcare, neither of which was still accessible. With daughters in tow, Marina and her husband braved the waters in search of new life in Trinidad.  About the same time, Ana Camacho, a young mother with dreams of migrating to Canada, said goodbye to her teary-eyed mother, sisters and 12-year-old daughter. She once held a good job as an administrator in Anaco, Venezuela, but when the company closed, she could no longer make the money needed to provide. A life in Canada seemed very promising and she and a friend decided that they would work for 3 months in Trinidad to gather the funds for the move up North. However, when she gained employment in Trinidad, her mother became ill and she was forced to postpone her plans and settle on the island in order to continue working.   “Everyone was so friendly and treated us like people” Both Marina and Ana can vividly recount the experiences that brought them to Trinidad 3 years ago. Today, they are both clients of the Family Planning Association of Trinidad and Tobago (FPATT) receiving care to meet their varying sexual and reproductive health needs.  “I was told about the Clinic from the UNHCR. They suggested that my daughter and I come here for treatment. When we got here everyone was so friendly and treated us like people. They understand us and that is so hard to find. They also referred us to the hospital in San Fernando for further treatment and it has been great since. We feel very comfortable here,” Marina disclosed. For 34-year-old Ana, her experience at FPATT is an interesting one. “When I first heard about the Clinic, I thought I would come in for a pap smear. I was in a new country, working and sending what I made back home for my family. I didn’t want to risk getting sick so I booked an appointment to get the test. When I came in, the nurses asked me if I was pregnant, and I said no, only to find out that I was. I was shocked, but I knew that the doctors and nurses at the clinic are good people and would take care of me during pregnancy. My son is now 14 months and now I come in for my contraceptive shot. I bring my son with me and everyone treats him like their own,” she says.  Ana was also a participant in the webinar series hosted by FPATT in January 2021. The 8-module Zoom series was based on IPPF’s One Curriculum, but designed to meet the specific needs of the migrant community. Although the series covered many topics including Nutrition, Gender-Based Violence and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights, the one module that stood out for Ana was Self Defense.  “One day I was on my way to work in a taxi and I realized that the driver was not taking the route that other drivers do. I asked him where he was going and he wouldn’t answer me. I got very scared because I was in the taxi by myself. I started to shout at him and he still wouldn’t answer me until finally he stopped and I ran out of the taxi. I went to a police station and the officer asked me what I was doing alone in the taxi. I told him that I was trying to get to work. After that, I never worked again. It’s too risky. I wish I had seen that self-defense class before that evening,” she said.  Many migrants have had similar experiences to that of Ana’s. Incidences of sexual exploitation, gender-based violence, and xenophobia are rampant among the women in the community and so they are grateful for the refuge they find at FPATT. “In here, they genuinely look out for us,” Ana says, “and that’s different from how we are treated when we walk the street. They live up to their name as Family.”  

Foro Político de Alto Nivel - IPPF ACRO - Gestos
story

| 18 July 2024

The High-Level Political Forum: Let’s rewrite the rules

Haz click aquí para leer esta historia en español. The High-Level Political Forum: Let’s rewrite the rules   From Monday, July 8th, to Wednesday, July 17th, IPPF ACRO, in collaboration with Gestos, our partner organization in Brazil, participated in the United Nations High-Level Political Forum, to continue advocating for increased investment by governments in initiatives that are centered on and led by marginalized communities. The High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) serves as a critical platform for member-states, UN agencies, and civil society to evaluate progress, address challenges, exchange best practices, and promote policies aimed at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This year it represents a significant advocacy opportunity to engage with the roadmap leading to the Summit of the Future, a pivotal United Nations debate scheduled for September, and offers a chance to enhance collaboration on essential issues around women and youth’s rights, in their diversity, and address gaps in global governance. The 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are deeply intertwined with the mission and objectives of IPPF as a Federation. Achieving reproductive justice globally requires that women, girls, and all individuals have control over their sexuality, gender, and reproduction. However, for this to become a reality, the basic human rights of all must be guaranteed and protected, including the right to a healthy environment. And only by making progress toward achieving the 17 SDGs, we can move closer to realizing this vision. As a monitoring body for the SDGs, during the High-Level Political Forums, governments present their National Volunteer Reports (VNRs). This facilitates the sharing of experiences, including successes, challenges, and lessons learned, with the aim of accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. In 2024, eight countries from our region—Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, and Peru—presented their VNRs. These reviews enable civil society, including IPPF ACRO, to closely monitor how governments have progressed in advancing the Sustainable Development Agenda, particularly in relation to the populations we work with, such as women, youth, LGBTQI+ individuals, sex workers, and other marginalized communities.   Gestos- HIV, Communication and Gender, IPPF Collaborative Partner in Brazil, is the Latin America and the Caribbean Operative Partner of the Women’s Major Group and has been following the Agenda 2030 roadmap closely, as part of their country’s official delegation.   For Germana Aciolly, journalist and policy adviser at Gestos, this is a special year. Brazil is presenting their VNR for the second time and it responds directly to the reports that the Civil Society Working Group for the 2030 Agenda in Brazil has been publishing since 2017. “There is no VNR presented here with such a level of democratic dialogue between civil society and government. This is an important example because, at the same time, we are here to launch our own CSO Spotlight Report that monitors all SDG targets and, unfortunately, it shows that in Brazil only around 7% of the goals are making satisfactory progress. It opens the opportunity, for instance, to debate with the government the immense challenges for women and youth, in all their diversity, in our country that particularly increased by the actions from the previous government.”  

Foro Político de Alto Nivel - IPPF ACRO - Gestos
story

| 18 July 2024

The High-Level Political Forum: Let’s rewrite the rules

Haz click aquí para leer esta historia en español. The High-Level Political Forum: Let’s rewrite the rules   From Monday, July 8th, to Wednesday, July 17th, IPPF ACRO, in collaboration with Gestos, our partner organization in Brazil, participated in the United Nations High-Level Political Forum, to continue advocating for increased investment by governments in initiatives that are centered on and led by marginalized communities. The High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) serves as a critical platform for member-states, UN agencies, and civil society to evaluate progress, address challenges, exchange best practices, and promote policies aimed at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This year it represents a significant advocacy opportunity to engage with the roadmap leading to the Summit of the Future, a pivotal United Nations debate scheduled for September, and offers a chance to enhance collaboration on essential issues around women and youth’s rights, in their diversity, and address gaps in global governance. The 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are deeply intertwined with the mission and objectives of IPPF as a Federation. Achieving reproductive justice globally requires that women, girls, and all individuals have control over their sexuality, gender, and reproduction. However, for this to become a reality, the basic human rights of all must be guaranteed and protected, including the right to a healthy environment. And only by making progress toward achieving the 17 SDGs, we can move closer to realizing this vision. As a monitoring body for the SDGs, during the High-Level Political Forums, governments present their National Volunteer Reports (VNRs). This facilitates the sharing of experiences, including successes, challenges, and lessons learned, with the aim of accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. In 2024, eight countries from our region—Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, and Peru—presented their VNRs. These reviews enable civil society, including IPPF ACRO, to closely monitor how governments have progressed in advancing the Sustainable Development Agenda, particularly in relation to the populations we work with, such as women, youth, LGBTQI+ individuals, sex workers, and other marginalized communities.   Gestos- HIV, Communication and Gender, IPPF Collaborative Partner in Brazil, is the Latin America and the Caribbean Operative Partner of the Women’s Major Group and has been following the Agenda 2030 roadmap closely, as part of their country’s official delegation.   For Germana Aciolly, journalist and policy adviser at Gestos, this is a special year. Brazil is presenting their VNR for the second time and it responds directly to the reports that the Civil Society Working Group for the 2030 Agenda in Brazil has been publishing since 2017. “There is no VNR presented here with such a level of democratic dialogue between civil society and government. This is an important example because, at the same time, we are here to launch our own CSO Spotlight Report that monitors all SDG targets and, unfortunately, it shows that in Brazil only around 7% of the goals are making satisfactory progress. It opens the opportunity, for instance, to debate with the government the immense challenges for women and youth, in all their diversity, in our country that particularly increased by the actions from the previous government.”  

Día Internacional de las Mujeres 8M en IPPF ACRO
story

| 15 April 2024

Bridging the Gap through Community

Haz click aquí para leer esta historia en español.     International Women's Day is one of the most relevant Human Rights mobilizations worldwide. In 2024, it marks over 100 years of marches, strikes, worker stoppages, and silent resistances, all of which continue to emphasize the urgency of ensuring equal conditions for women in society. This year, the UN invited the international community to reflect on "Investing in women: accelerating progress," to reaffirm that investing in and guaranteeing women's rights, in all their diversity, benefits all people and society as a whole. To eradicate poverty, transition to clean energy, address hunger and, achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, gender equality must be a priority for all countries and institutions, whether public or private. And universal access and coverage in health, decent work, quality education, digital inclusion, and the construction of comprehensive and shared care systems are rights that cannot be denied to women and girls.   IPPF ACRO – A diverse, community-centered 8M In IPPF Americas and the Caribbean, our main advocacy on March 8th and every day of the year is to guarantee access to sexual and reproductive health for all people. On this International Women's Day, Member Associations, Collaborative Partners, and Secretariat conducted commemorative activities in their services and shared with communities and groups to advocate for health and rights needs. Here are some of their actions:   Argentina In an unfavorable context following the election of an anti-rights president, Fundheg and allies took to the streets to join a social call against the government's extremist measures that endanger the laws and well-being of its people. Marching among feminist groups was, in this case, a powerful reminder that the Green Tide will  strive to ensure the sexual and reproductive rights of all people.

Día Internacional de las Mujeres 8M en IPPF ACRO
story

| 15 April 2024

Bridging the Gap through Community

Haz click aquí para leer esta historia en español.     International Women's Day is one of the most relevant Human Rights mobilizations worldwide. In 2024, it marks over 100 years of marches, strikes, worker stoppages, and silent resistances, all of which continue to emphasize the urgency of ensuring equal conditions for women in society. This year, the UN invited the international community to reflect on "Investing in women: accelerating progress," to reaffirm that investing in and guaranteeing women's rights, in all their diversity, benefits all people and society as a whole. To eradicate poverty, transition to clean energy, address hunger and, achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, gender equality must be a priority for all countries and institutions, whether public or private. And universal access and coverage in health, decent work, quality education, digital inclusion, and the construction of comprehensive and shared care systems are rights that cannot be denied to women and girls.   IPPF ACRO – A diverse, community-centered 8M In IPPF Americas and the Caribbean, our main advocacy on March 8th and every day of the year is to guarantee access to sexual and reproductive health for all people. On this International Women's Day, Member Associations, Collaborative Partners, and Secretariat conducted commemorative activities in their services and shared with communities and groups to advocate for health and rights needs. Here are some of their actions:   Argentina In an unfavorable context following the election of an anti-rights president, Fundheg and allies took to the streets to join a social call against the government's extremist measures that endanger the laws and well-being of its people. Marching among feminist groups was, in this case, a powerful reminder that the Green Tide will  strive to ensure the sexual and reproductive rights of all people.

CSE Choice
story

| 24 January 2024

Revolutionizing CSE: Latin American and Caribbean Youth Leading the Charge!

Revolutionizing CSE: Latin American and Caribbean Youth Leading the Charge!

CSE Choice
story

| 24 January 2024

Revolutionizing CSE: Latin American and Caribbean Youth Leading the Charge!

Revolutionizing CSE: Latin American and Caribbean Youth Leading the Charge!

barbadoa
story

| 11 August 2021

“At BFPA, we don’t turn away anyone”

Keriann Hurley has worked at the Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA) for 15 years. She is a social worker and the Manager of Youth Programming, but art is another passion of hers.  A link between art and social work may not seem evident but Keriann explains that combining her passions “helps to fuel the type of interventions I do with the clients.” Keriann is proud that “here at BFPA, our niche and the thing that we do amazingly well, above anyone else I dare say, is how we deal with Sexual and Reproductive Health issues, but that’s not all we do”. “Sexuality and sexual health is only one aspect of your existence”, she says. She is clear that BFPA’s services must consider gender, sexual identity, sexual orientation, mental health, family circumstances and relationships in its service delivery if it is to truly serve the community. There is a real need to provide unhindered access to young people who require services In Barbados, the age of consent is 16 but “there is still the issue of the age of access versus the age of consent.” Keriann explained that there’s no legal framework that prevents young people between 16 and 18 from accessing SRH services; there is the cultural “assumption that they must bring parent/guardian to be seen by a medical professional.” “A young person isn’t just going to show up at a doctor’s office because they think it’s the cool thing to do. There must be a dire reason”, Keriann says, and she adds that many young people do not access services because they fear judgement and punishment. “At BFPA, we don’t turn away anyone” A key task of the BFPA is to facilitate young people’s access to SRH services. BFPA established legally compliant protocols which govern their engagement with young people. Social Workers like Keriann comprehensively assess the personal circumstances of each young person to ensure that they are provided with the appropriate care. “Not every young person has a parent or guardian who will come with them, but should they be turned away if they have a dire need? No, it’s unethical to do that. At BFPA, we don’t turn away anyone”, she says. Sometimes a young person does have an available parent or guardian but fears their reaction to their desire to access SRH services. In these situations, she acts as a mediator to facilitate conversation between the young person and their caretaker. With the years passing, it became clear to Keriann that the challenge is “dealing with age-old issues in new ways. There is nothing new under the sun. However, issues do come back around in new ways”. The significance of certain issues changes with the times. “Just look at social media!” she says, “it also means that information, and misinformation, is easily accessible.” Keriann has seen a shift in societal attitudes towards SRH over the last 5 years. A plus side of the internet, she says, is that the accessibility of information means that society cannot “bury its head in the sand and pretend that young people aren’t sexually exploring.” “The Young Mothers Programme is my baby” In 2011, Keriann started this 10-year programme. The majority of Barbadian households are female-headed and she recognises that empowering young mothers will have a powerful positive impact on society. “These girls come with heavy issues,” Keriann says. Beneficiaries are taught not just parenting skills but life skills. They have access to intensive psychosocial counselling for themselves, partners and family members and vocational training. The Young Mothers Programme has transitioned to online delivery which poses such as lack of devices, electricity or a conducive household environment, and unreliability or absence of internet access. “Suddenly there was a new normal before we could even figure out what that meant”, Keriann says. Online delivery is more tiring, and she admits the difficulty in balancing delivery of a quality programme without an unsustainable psychological cost to herself but is adamant that “it is better to have a meaningful impact on 10 people than surface level engagement with 100”. Keriann believes that “the wealth and health of a society is based on how we take care of the most vulnerable. Working in an organisation whose focus is primarily the most vulnerable is really rewarding”. Keriann shares that social work is one of least financially viable careers in Barbados. “Many months we just try to get by, but the work is really rewarding!” she laughed, “We are here grinding on and doing what we have to do to make sure that we provide quality services to the most vulnerable in our community and not leaving anyone behind”

barbadoa
story

| 21 July 2024

“At BFPA, we don’t turn away anyone”

Keriann Hurley has worked at the Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA) for 15 years. She is a social worker and the Manager of Youth Programming, but art is another passion of hers.  A link between art and social work may not seem evident but Keriann explains that combining her passions “helps to fuel the type of interventions I do with the clients.” Keriann is proud that “here at BFPA, our niche and the thing that we do amazingly well, above anyone else I dare say, is how we deal with Sexual and Reproductive Health issues, but that’s not all we do”. “Sexuality and sexual health is only one aspect of your existence”, she says. She is clear that BFPA’s services must consider gender, sexual identity, sexual orientation, mental health, family circumstances and relationships in its service delivery if it is to truly serve the community. There is a real need to provide unhindered access to young people who require services In Barbados, the age of consent is 16 but “there is still the issue of the age of access versus the age of consent.” Keriann explained that there’s no legal framework that prevents young people between 16 and 18 from accessing SRH services; there is the cultural “assumption that they must bring parent/guardian to be seen by a medical professional.” “A young person isn’t just going to show up at a doctor’s office because they think it’s the cool thing to do. There must be a dire reason”, Keriann says, and she adds that many young people do not access services because they fear judgement and punishment. “At BFPA, we don’t turn away anyone” A key task of the BFPA is to facilitate young people’s access to SRH services. BFPA established legally compliant protocols which govern their engagement with young people. Social Workers like Keriann comprehensively assess the personal circumstances of each young person to ensure that they are provided with the appropriate care. “Not every young person has a parent or guardian who will come with them, but should they be turned away if they have a dire need? No, it’s unethical to do that. At BFPA, we don’t turn away anyone”, she says. Sometimes a young person does have an available parent or guardian but fears their reaction to their desire to access SRH services. In these situations, she acts as a mediator to facilitate conversation between the young person and their caretaker. With the years passing, it became clear to Keriann that the challenge is “dealing with age-old issues in new ways. There is nothing new under the sun. However, issues do come back around in new ways”. The significance of certain issues changes with the times. “Just look at social media!” she says, “it also means that information, and misinformation, is easily accessible.” Keriann has seen a shift in societal attitudes towards SRH over the last 5 years. A plus side of the internet, she says, is that the accessibility of information means that society cannot “bury its head in the sand and pretend that young people aren’t sexually exploring.” “The Young Mothers Programme is my baby” In 2011, Keriann started this 10-year programme. The majority of Barbadian households are female-headed and she recognises that empowering young mothers will have a powerful positive impact on society. “These girls come with heavy issues,” Keriann says. Beneficiaries are taught not just parenting skills but life skills. They have access to intensive psychosocial counselling for themselves, partners and family members and vocational training. The Young Mothers Programme has transitioned to online delivery which poses such as lack of devices, electricity or a conducive household environment, and unreliability or absence of internet access. “Suddenly there was a new normal before we could even figure out what that meant”, Keriann says. Online delivery is more tiring, and she admits the difficulty in balancing delivery of a quality programme without an unsustainable psychological cost to herself but is adamant that “it is better to have a meaningful impact on 10 people than surface level engagement with 100”. Keriann believes that “the wealth and health of a society is based on how we take care of the most vulnerable. Working in an organisation whose focus is primarily the most vulnerable is really rewarding”. Keriann shares that social work is one of least financially viable careers in Barbados. “Many months we just try to get by, but the work is really rewarding!” she laughed, “We are here grinding on and doing what we have to do to make sure that we provide quality services to the most vulnerable in our community and not leaving anyone behind”

Dr. Rashida Daisley is the 31-year-old Clinical Director of the Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA)
story

| 15 June 2021

“I have a passion for working with key populations"

Dr. Rashida Daisley is the 31-year-old Clinical Director of the Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA) and is also the president of the Barbados Association of Endometriosis and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (BAEP). “I have a passion for working with key populations and that’s what lead me to work at BFPA,” She says and takes pride in BFPA's continued leadership of sexual and reproductive health services in Barbados. Offering a spectrum of gynecological care while also conducting specialized clinics, steadily expanding its practice to include more general services including antenatal care. There is a men’s clinic that addresses both SRH and physical and emotional wellbeing while BFPA’s surgical clinic offers minor surgeries such as hernia repair, lumpectomies, and vasectomies. Despite funding challenges, BFPA has committed to providing critical support to the under-served LGBTQ+ community in Barbados by partnering with NGO - Sexuality, Health and Empowerment (SHE) to provide affordable, high quality and inclusive health services to lesbians, bisexual and queer women, as well as non-binary and transgender persons - an effort spearheaded personally by Dr. Daisley, while also supporting pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEp) and STI clinics at Equals Barbados, another LBGTQ+ organization on the island.   COVID-19 and filling the gaps Dr. Daisley says she is pleased that clinical services were able to continue throughout the pandemic, unfortunately, COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on Barbados’ economy and society. As a tourism-dependent nation, a large proportion of the Barbadian workforce became unemployed in a very short period which in turn negatively affected the ability of marginalized persons to access basic services or even basic hygiene products. BFPA sought funding and donations to fill this gap and was able to secure funding from international organizations such as UNFPA, as well as donations of sanitary items from the Lady Box Project, a local NGO aimed at ending period poverty.  With funding from IPPF assisting in the provision of services to key populations such as persons living with HIV, men who have sex with men, sex workers, and LGBTQ+ persons. The allocation of funds to provide services to these groups allowed BFPA the financial space to direct its efforts to their other clients. Perhaps surprisingly, a relatively large subset of BFPA’s clients are older persons.  “The majority of people that BFPA interacts with are pretty open but that is probably because the people who seek out BFPA are already open-minded enough to access services at an organization with the words ‘family planning’”, Dr. Daisley laughed, “we do get a lot of referrals.” Perhaps surprisingly, a relatively large subset of BFPA’s clients are older people, many of whom started coming to BFPA as young people, while a small number of older persons do still seek out services because they are sexually active. Unfortunately, they grew up in a social climate where sexual and reproductive health education was virtually non-existent and the work to provide them better access is ongoing.  Dr. Daisley explains that the older population often do not think that they need to see the doctor about their sexual activity because there is no possibility of pregnancy. They are also not aware of the breadth of STI testing available. “When I ask them when was their last STI test, they usually say a few years ago at a health fair.” When probed, many of them disclose that they have only ever been tested for HIV and are not aware of many of the other STIs. In contrast, younger persons tend to have a healthier and more informed approach to sex and sexuality. Dr. Daisley observes that there is an increase in young people coming to be tested with their partners, and she attributes this in part to the important work that the BFPA’s Youth Advocacy Movement has done over the years, and essential to the progress of comprehensive sexual education.     

Dr. Rashida Daisley is the 31-year-old Clinical Director of the Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA)
story

| 21 July 2024

“I have a passion for working with key populations"

Dr. Rashida Daisley is the 31-year-old Clinical Director of the Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA) and is also the president of the Barbados Association of Endometriosis and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (BAEP). “I have a passion for working with key populations and that’s what lead me to work at BFPA,” She says and takes pride in BFPA's continued leadership of sexual and reproductive health services in Barbados. Offering a spectrum of gynecological care while also conducting specialized clinics, steadily expanding its practice to include more general services including antenatal care. There is a men’s clinic that addresses both SRH and physical and emotional wellbeing while BFPA’s surgical clinic offers minor surgeries such as hernia repair, lumpectomies, and vasectomies. Despite funding challenges, BFPA has committed to providing critical support to the under-served LGBTQ+ community in Barbados by partnering with NGO - Sexuality, Health and Empowerment (SHE) to provide affordable, high quality and inclusive health services to lesbians, bisexual and queer women, as well as non-binary and transgender persons - an effort spearheaded personally by Dr. Daisley, while also supporting pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEp) and STI clinics at Equals Barbados, another LBGTQ+ organization on the island.   COVID-19 and filling the gaps Dr. Daisley says she is pleased that clinical services were able to continue throughout the pandemic, unfortunately, COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on Barbados’ economy and society. As a tourism-dependent nation, a large proportion of the Barbadian workforce became unemployed in a very short period which in turn negatively affected the ability of marginalized persons to access basic services or even basic hygiene products. BFPA sought funding and donations to fill this gap and was able to secure funding from international organizations such as UNFPA, as well as donations of sanitary items from the Lady Box Project, a local NGO aimed at ending period poverty.  With funding from IPPF assisting in the provision of services to key populations such as persons living with HIV, men who have sex with men, sex workers, and LGBTQ+ persons. The allocation of funds to provide services to these groups allowed BFPA the financial space to direct its efforts to their other clients. Perhaps surprisingly, a relatively large subset of BFPA’s clients are older persons.  “The majority of people that BFPA interacts with are pretty open but that is probably because the people who seek out BFPA are already open-minded enough to access services at an organization with the words ‘family planning’”, Dr. Daisley laughed, “we do get a lot of referrals.” Perhaps surprisingly, a relatively large subset of BFPA’s clients are older people, many of whom started coming to BFPA as young people, while a small number of older persons do still seek out services because they are sexually active. Unfortunately, they grew up in a social climate where sexual and reproductive health education was virtually non-existent and the work to provide them better access is ongoing.  Dr. Daisley explains that the older population often do not think that they need to see the doctor about their sexual activity because there is no possibility of pregnancy. They are also not aware of the breadth of STI testing available. “When I ask them when was their last STI test, they usually say a few years ago at a health fair.” When probed, many of them disclose that they have only ever been tested for HIV and are not aware of many of the other STIs. In contrast, younger persons tend to have a healthier and more informed approach to sex and sexuality. Dr. Daisley observes that there is an increase in young people coming to be tested with their partners, and she attributes this in part to the important work that the BFPA’s Youth Advocacy Movement has done over the years, and essential to the progress of comprehensive sexual education.     

trail
story

| 11 June 2021

The Migrant Experience: “They understand us and that is so hard to find”

Three million Venezuelans, fleeing a national crisis of economic depression and political oppression have found themselves seeking refuge in Latin America and the neighbouring islands of the Caribbean. About 40,000 of those have come to Trinidad and Tobago’s shores, with the hopes of finding a better life. Anything would be different from what they have left behind.  Neighbourhoods that once echoed the voices of playing children, were now riddled with the sounds of gunshots. Business places with broken store fronts, empty grocery and pharmacy shelves, elderly persons homeless and impoverished. Those with well-paying jobs could no longer make enough money to feed their families so walking the streets in your own neighbourhood put you at risk of kidnapping for menial ransoms.  This was the situation in Cumana Sucre that caused Marina Lopez to flee with her husband and two daughters in 2018. She was a preschool teacher and a good one at that. She loved the interaction she had with her students, seeing them grow in both knowledge and stature in their formative years, but it wasn’t enough to allay her fears of her own family’s survival.  As persons living with HIV, Marina and her teenaged daughter depended on constant access to medicine and healthcare, neither of which was still accessible. With daughters in tow, Marina and her husband braved the waters in search of new life in Trinidad.  About the same time, Ana Camacho, a young mother with dreams of migrating to Canada, said goodbye to her teary-eyed mother, sisters and 12-year-old daughter. She once held a good job as an administrator in Anaco, Venezuela, but when the company closed, she could no longer make the money needed to provide. A life in Canada seemed very promising and she and a friend decided that they would work for 3 months in Trinidad to gather the funds for the move up North. However, when she gained employment in Trinidad, her mother became ill and she was forced to postpone her plans and settle on the island in order to continue working.   “Everyone was so friendly and treated us like people” Both Marina and Ana can vividly recount the experiences that brought them to Trinidad 3 years ago. Today, they are both clients of the Family Planning Association of Trinidad and Tobago (FPATT) receiving care to meet their varying sexual and reproductive health needs.  “I was told about the Clinic from the UNHCR. They suggested that my daughter and I come here for treatment. When we got here everyone was so friendly and treated us like people. They understand us and that is so hard to find. They also referred us to the hospital in San Fernando for further treatment and it has been great since. We feel very comfortable here,” Marina disclosed. For 34-year-old Ana, her experience at FPATT is an interesting one. “When I first heard about the Clinic, I thought I would come in for a pap smear. I was in a new country, working and sending what I made back home for my family. I didn’t want to risk getting sick so I booked an appointment to get the test. When I came in, the nurses asked me if I was pregnant, and I said no, only to find out that I was. I was shocked, but I knew that the doctors and nurses at the clinic are good people and would take care of me during pregnancy. My son is now 14 months and now I come in for my contraceptive shot. I bring my son with me and everyone treats him like their own,” she says.  Ana was also a participant in the webinar series hosted by FPATT in January 2021. The 8-module Zoom series was based on IPPF’s One Curriculum, but designed to meet the specific needs of the migrant community. Although the series covered many topics including Nutrition, Gender-Based Violence and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights, the one module that stood out for Ana was Self Defense.  “One day I was on my way to work in a taxi and I realized that the driver was not taking the route that other drivers do. I asked him where he was going and he wouldn’t answer me. I got very scared because I was in the taxi by myself. I started to shout at him and he still wouldn’t answer me until finally he stopped and I ran out of the taxi. I went to a police station and the officer asked me what I was doing alone in the taxi. I told him that I was trying to get to work. After that, I never worked again. It’s too risky. I wish I had seen that self-defense class before that evening,” she said.  Many migrants have had similar experiences to that of Ana’s. Incidences of sexual exploitation, gender-based violence, and xenophobia are rampant among the women in the community and so they are grateful for the refuge they find at FPATT. “In here, they genuinely look out for us,” Ana says, “and that’s different from how we are treated when we walk the street. They live up to their name as Family.”  

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| 21 July 2024

The Migrant Experience: “They understand us and that is so hard to find”

Three million Venezuelans, fleeing a national crisis of economic depression and political oppression have found themselves seeking refuge in Latin America and the neighbouring islands of the Caribbean. About 40,000 of those have come to Trinidad and Tobago’s shores, with the hopes of finding a better life. Anything would be different from what they have left behind.  Neighbourhoods that once echoed the voices of playing children, were now riddled with the sounds of gunshots. Business places with broken store fronts, empty grocery and pharmacy shelves, elderly persons homeless and impoverished. Those with well-paying jobs could no longer make enough money to feed their families so walking the streets in your own neighbourhood put you at risk of kidnapping for menial ransoms.  This was the situation in Cumana Sucre that caused Marina Lopez to flee with her husband and two daughters in 2018. She was a preschool teacher and a good one at that. She loved the interaction she had with her students, seeing them grow in both knowledge and stature in their formative years, but it wasn’t enough to allay her fears of her own family’s survival.  As persons living with HIV, Marina and her teenaged daughter depended on constant access to medicine and healthcare, neither of which was still accessible. With daughters in tow, Marina and her husband braved the waters in search of new life in Trinidad.  About the same time, Ana Camacho, a young mother with dreams of migrating to Canada, said goodbye to her teary-eyed mother, sisters and 12-year-old daughter. She once held a good job as an administrator in Anaco, Venezuela, but when the company closed, she could no longer make the money needed to provide. A life in Canada seemed very promising and she and a friend decided that they would work for 3 months in Trinidad to gather the funds for the move up North. However, when she gained employment in Trinidad, her mother became ill and she was forced to postpone her plans and settle on the island in order to continue working.   “Everyone was so friendly and treated us like people” Both Marina and Ana can vividly recount the experiences that brought them to Trinidad 3 years ago. Today, they are both clients of the Family Planning Association of Trinidad and Tobago (FPATT) receiving care to meet their varying sexual and reproductive health needs.  “I was told about the Clinic from the UNHCR. They suggested that my daughter and I come here for treatment. When we got here everyone was so friendly and treated us like people. They understand us and that is so hard to find. They also referred us to the hospital in San Fernando for further treatment and it has been great since. We feel very comfortable here,” Marina disclosed. For 34-year-old Ana, her experience at FPATT is an interesting one. “When I first heard about the Clinic, I thought I would come in for a pap smear. I was in a new country, working and sending what I made back home for my family. I didn’t want to risk getting sick so I booked an appointment to get the test. When I came in, the nurses asked me if I was pregnant, and I said no, only to find out that I was. I was shocked, but I knew that the doctors and nurses at the clinic are good people and would take care of me during pregnancy. My son is now 14 months and now I come in for my contraceptive shot. I bring my son with me and everyone treats him like their own,” she says.  Ana was also a participant in the webinar series hosted by FPATT in January 2021. The 8-module Zoom series was based on IPPF’s One Curriculum, but designed to meet the specific needs of the migrant community. Although the series covered many topics including Nutrition, Gender-Based Violence and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights, the one module that stood out for Ana was Self Defense.  “One day I was on my way to work in a taxi and I realized that the driver was not taking the route that other drivers do. I asked him where he was going and he wouldn’t answer me. I got very scared because I was in the taxi by myself. I started to shout at him and he still wouldn’t answer me until finally he stopped and I ran out of the taxi. I went to a police station and the officer asked me what I was doing alone in the taxi. I told him that I was trying to get to work. After that, I never worked again. It’s too risky. I wish I had seen that self-defense class before that evening,” she said.  Many migrants have had similar experiences to that of Ana’s. Incidences of sexual exploitation, gender-based violence, and xenophobia are rampant among the women in the community and so they are grateful for the refuge they find at FPATT. “In here, they genuinely look out for us,” Ana says, “and that’s different from how we are treated when we walk the street. They live up to their name as Family.”