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Spotlight

A selection of stories from across the Federation

barbadoa

Barbados

Story

“At BFPA, we don’t turn away anyone”

11 August 2021

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.”

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 Hilyann Croes journalist and FPA client, with an active lifestyle and work schedule
story

| 07 May 2021

“Shopping on the FPA online store makes me feel very in control and empowered”

Famia Planea Aruba (FPA) saw a gap in the market and developed its online store to better reach clients like Hilyann, a journalist, with an active lifestyle and work schedule.  FPA’s online store is open to members and non-members where they shop for their favorite FPA product in a worry- and hassle-free environment from the comfort of their own home, office, school or even on the go. Being able to order products online saves time and also supports those clients with limited access to transport.  “As a young professional, one of the challenges I often face is balancing my profession with my active lifestyle and practicing self-care. This is why I couldn’t be happier with FPA’s online store”, Hilyann says. The visually appealing online store is available in the local Aruban language, Papiamento. The site has been designed to provide quick access to various contraceptive methods, with supporting information to help clients make choices based on their needs. “It is so convenient and allows me to manage my time more efficiently, making it so much easier to be conscious of the necessary efforts with regards to my reproductive health. Above all, it allows me to focus on my personal goals, all while making the right choices when it comes to family planning”, she adds. Clients can browse a range of products and add their selections to the cart. At the check-out clients fill in their preferred time, date, and location for delivery. A confirmation email will be sent to the client while FPA starts to prepare the order for delivery.  “Shopping on the FPA online store makes me feel very in control and empowered. I hope that more people of all ages take advantage of this service. I hear far too often that people say they don’t have time, nobody has actually, but FPA is there for you. Take control of your sexual and reproductive health, empower yourself, be the boss of your time and your body”.

 Hilyann Croes journalist and FPA client, with an active lifestyle and work schedule
story

| 06 August 2022

“Shopping on the FPA online store makes me feel very in control and empowered”

Famia Planea Aruba (FPA) saw a gap in the market and developed its online store to better reach clients like Hilyann, a journalist, with an active lifestyle and work schedule.  FPA’s online store is open to members and non-members where they shop for their favorite FPA product in a worry- and hassle-free environment from the comfort of their own home, office, school or even on the go. Being able to order products online saves time and also supports those clients with limited access to transport.  “As a young professional, one of the challenges I often face is balancing my profession with my active lifestyle and practicing self-care. This is why I couldn’t be happier with FPA’s online store”, Hilyann says. The visually appealing online store is available in the local Aruban language, Papiamento. The site has been designed to provide quick access to various contraceptive methods, with supporting information to help clients make choices based on their needs. “It is so convenient and allows me to manage my time more efficiently, making it so much easier to be conscious of the necessary efforts with regards to my reproductive health. Above all, it allows me to focus on my personal goals, all while making the right choices when it comes to family planning”, she adds. Clients can browse a range of products and add their selections to the cart. At the check-out clients fill in their preferred time, date, and location for delivery. A confirmation email will be sent to the client while FPA starts to prepare the order for delivery.  “Shopping on the FPA online store makes me feel very in control and empowered. I hope that more people of all ages take advantage of this service. I hear far too often that people say they don’t have time, nobody has actually, but FPA is there for you. Take control of your sexual and reproductive health, empower yourself, be the boss of your time and your body”.

Students, Zavannah and Xian, are currently studying social work as one of their majors at the EPI vocational school.
story

| 06 May 2021

Supporting students in their studies and future careers

During the course of their studies, most students are required to develop projects and presentations about sexual and reproductive health. In the latter years of study, students start to prepare for more career-oriented studies and they are keen to learn more about how an organization like Famia Planea Aruba (FPA) operates.  As an NGO, FPA is a great source of support where students can learn more about the nature of social work including counseling, management, and get hands-on experience. The FPA team also support students to learn about its mission and vision, as well as management and structure nationally and internationally. It is an opportunity for them to learn that FPA is a of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).  Students, Zavannah and Xian, are currently studying social work as one of their majors at the EPI vocational school. “FPA is one of our favorite organizations to work with, they are very accommodating to our deadlines and provide tailored information. We have already done various projects with them and we still choose FPA every chance we get”, Zavannah says. FPA offers internship opportunities for both vocational and university students. This experience can have a huge impact on a student, and some often go on to become part of the team.  “When we do school projects with FPA we can really get a view of what our futures as social workers can look like. We always receive answers to all our questions, they have always have their mission and vision statements at hand which for our projects are very important”, Zavannah adds. “We can always count on FPA to provide visual materials as well. We sometimes have to finalize our projects with different presentations and we can always ask for pictures, videos and graphs to make our project wonderful”, Xian comments. FPA places great value on its ability to inspire and support young people with their studies and future careers such as social work where they, in the future, can help and support others.

Students, Zavannah and Xian, are currently studying social work as one of their majors at the EPI vocational school.
story

| 06 August 2022

Supporting students in their studies and future careers

During the course of their studies, most students are required to develop projects and presentations about sexual and reproductive health. In the latter years of study, students start to prepare for more career-oriented studies and they are keen to learn more about how an organization like Famia Planea Aruba (FPA) operates.  As an NGO, FPA is a great source of support where students can learn more about the nature of social work including counseling, management, and get hands-on experience. The FPA team also support students to learn about its mission and vision, as well as management and structure nationally and internationally. It is an opportunity for them to learn that FPA is a of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).  Students, Zavannah and Xian, are currently studying social work as one of their majors at the EPI vocational school. “FPA is one of our favorite organizations to work with, they are very accommodating to our deadlines and provide tailored information. We have already done various projects with them and we still choose FPA every chance we get”, Zavannah says. FPA offers internship opportunities for both vocational and university students. This experience can have a huge impact on a student, and some often go on to become part of the team.  “When we do school projects with FPA we can really get a view of what our futures as social workers can look like. We always receive answers to all our questions, they have always have their mission and vision statements at hand which for our projects are very important”, Zavannah adds. “We can always count on FPA to provide visual materials as well. We sometimes have to finalize our projects with different presentations and we can always ask for pictures, videos and graphs to make our project wonderful”, Xian comments. FPA places great value on its ability to inspire and support young people with their studies and future careers such as social work where they, in the future, can help and support others.

Jeanira van Eenennaam viewing an FPA educational video with daughter
story

| 02 May 2021

“It did stimulate conversations and questions for a few days"

Jeanira, 37, is a doctor’s assistant and has two young children aged two and 12. She has been a member of Famia Planea Aruba (FPA) for many years but only recently learned that FPA provides healthcare for all ages and stages of life – particularly young people.  “I am a mother of two wonderful children, a two-year-old boy and an almost twelve-year-old girl. As any parent does, I have to accept that my little girl is no longer so little and growing much faster than I am ready to accept. I do however try my best to be very open on accepting of her growth and changes in the hopes of helping her become her best self. About a year ago I had begun researching the best way and time to start talking to my daughter about her upcoming body changes, sexuality, and puberty in general”, Jeanira says.  Provision of sexual and reproductive healthcare for all, regardless of age, is at the core of FPA’s work. Over the years FPA has developed different information packages specifically aimed at reaching and supporting young people, families, and educators.   “There is of course endless information on the internet, but this is not always the most helpful since I now had the difficult task of filtering out what I saw as appropriate or not, as well as choosing trustworthy sources”, explains Jeanira. “During my search, a family member mentioned that she had seen a video on social media about puberty that was in our native language. After finding the video on FPA’s Facebook page and watching it myself first, I was over the moon. The video is fun, educational, featured local professionals, and related to my daughter’s age. I love the fact that I could introduce the video to her and let her watch it in her own comfort zone, just in case she was not in the mood to talk to me about the topic at hand or have me stare at her while she learned some of the most impactful changes heading her way. At the end, it did stimulate conversations and questions for a few days after and I truly made it easier for us to talk about some of the topics that can sometimes be a little hard to approach.”   Jeanira encouraged her 11-year-old daughter to use FPA’s OPEN program. “When my mom first told me she found a video for me to watch about puberty I was a bit scared. I do talk to my friends about some stuff, but talking to my mom sounded a bit awkward. My mom and I do talk a lot but I was still worried that it might get too deep. I didn’t think the video would be so funny”, Xiqiën remembers. “My favorite part was to be able to recognize some changes that I am going through right now. There are some changes that I would like to skip but I know it’s all part of the growing up process.”  “I’m so thankful that FPA had the idea to make such a fun video for us to learn from. There was some stuff that I already knew, but I also learned some new things. I did ask my mom a lot of questions after the video, mostly because they said that everyone is different and I really wanted to know how my mom is different from me. I don’t feel quite as worried to talk to my mom about these things anymore, I know that she will try to help.”  

Jeanira van Eenennaam viewing an FPA educational video with daughter
story

| 05 August 2022

“It did stimulate conversations and questions for a few days"

Jeanira, 37, is a doctor’s assistant and has two young children aged two and 12. She has been a member of Famia Planea Aruba (FPA) for many years but only recently learned that FPA provides healthcare for all ages and stages of life – particularly young people.  “I am a mother of two wonderful children, a two-year-old boy and an almost twelve-year-old girl. As any parent does, I have to accept that my little girl is no longer so little and growing much faster than I am ready to accept. I do however try my best to be very open on accepting of her growth and changes in the hopes of helping her become her best self. About a year ago I had begun researching the best way and time to start talking to my daughter about her upcoming body changes, sexuality, and puberty in general”, Jeanira says.  Provision of sexual and reproductive healthcare for all, regardless of age, is at the core of FPA’s work. Over the years FPA has developed different information packages specifically aimed at reaching and supporting young people, families, and educators.   “There is of course endless information on the internet, but this is not always the most helpful since I now had the difficult task of filtering out what I saw as appropriate or not, as well as choosing trustworthy sources”, explains Jeanira. “During my search, a family member mentioned that she had seen a video on social media about puberty that was in our native language. After finding the video on FPA’s Facebook page and watching it myself first, I was over the moon. The video is fun, educational, featured local professionals, and related to my daughter’s age. I love the fact that I could introduce the video to her and let her watch it in her own comfort zone, just in case she was not in the mood to talk to me about the topic at hand or have me stare at her while she learned some of the most impactful changes heading her way. At the end, it did stimulate conversations and questions for a few days after and I truly made it easier for us to talk about some of the topics that can sometimes be a little hard to approach.”   Jeanira encouraged her 11-year-old daughter to use FPA’s OPEN program. “When my mom first told me she found a video for me to watch about puberty I was a bit scared. I do talk to my friends about some stuff, but talking to my mom sounded a bit awkward. My mom and I do talk a lot but I was still worried that it might get too deep. I didn’t think the video would be so funny”, Xiqiën remembers. “My favorite part was to be able to recognize some changes that I am going through right now. There are some changes that I would like to skip but I know it’s all part of the growing up process.”  “I’m so thankful that FPA had the idea to make such a fun video for us to learn from. There was some stuff that I already knew, but I also learned some new things. I did ask my mom a lot of questions after the video, mostly because they said that everyone is different and I really wanted to know how my mom is different from me. I don’t feel quite as worried to talk to my mom about these things anymore, I know that she will try to help.”  

Evelyn Ras-Yarzagaray Executive Director Famia Planea Aruba
story

| 26 April 2021

COVID-19 inspires new approach to reaching young people during lockdown

The inspiration for delivering comprehensive sexuality education to young people digitally was propelled by the COVID-19 lockdown. Like other frontline healthcare providers, Famia Planea Aruba (FPA) was faced with unforeseen challenges about how to continue reaching their communities. Undeterred, the small team of four embraced the challenge to create, develop, and launch FPA’s first Online Puberty Educational News Program (OPEN).  With a background in marketing and extensive management experience, FPA’s Executive Director Evelyn Yarzagaray, led the project and team to successfully bring the digital platform to life.  “In the last few years, FPA’s in-school Comprehensive Sexuality Education program was growing rapidly, and then all of a sudden we hit a wall; our Island was in complete lockdown and all schools were closed. At first, we were very sad, since we were fully booked for the upcoming few months, and would lose the opportunity to reach thousands of young people”, Evelyn remembers.  Typically, during April and May FPA usually focuses on students between the ages of 11 and 13 and supporting with the transition from elementary school to secondary school. At this age young people are starting to experience changes to their bodies and hormones.  “We were all of a sudden bombarded with parents who started requesting one-on-one counseling sessions for their kids, but due to safety regulations, this was not an easy option. That was when we started looking for a way to reach both parent and child in the safety of their own homes. By converting materials used during our in-person CSE’s we developed an educational video that can be viewed by both parent and child”, says Evelyn The OPEN platform has been designed with a colorful background, emojis, and animation to appeal to its target audience. Users can access valuable information through the FAQ section, international news, and video content such as an interview with a Family Physician.  “The filming and editing were the longest and most difficult part of the entire process, but once it was launched, we immediately saw that is was completely worth it, reaching over 42,000 people on social media”, Evelyn says.   

Evelyn Ras-Yarzagaray Executive Director Famia Planea Aruba
story

| 05 August 2022

COVID-19 inspires new approach to reaching young people during lockdown

The inspiration for delivering comprehensive sexuality education to young people digitally was propelled by the COVID-19 lockdown. Like other frontline healthcare providers, Famia Planea Aruba (FPA) was faced with unforeseen challenges about how to continue reaching their communities. Undeterred, the small team of four embraced the challenge to create, develop, and launch FPA’s first Online Puberty Educational News Program (OPEN).  With a background in marketing and extensive management experience, FPA’s Executive Director Evelyn Yarzagaray, led the project and team to successfully bring the digital platform to life.  “In the last few years, FPA’s in-school Comprehensive Sexuality Education program was growing rapidly, and then all of a sudden we hit a wall; our Island was in complete lockdown and all schools were closed. At first, we were very sad, since we were fully booked for the upcoming few months, and would lose the opportunity to reach thousands of young people”, Evelyn remembers.  Typically, during April and May FPA usually focuses on students between the ages of 11 and 13 and supporting with the transition from elementary school to secondary school. At this age young people are starting to experience changes to their bodies and hormones.  “We were all of a sudden bombarded with parents who started requesting one-on-one counseling sessions for their kids, but due to safety regulations, this was not an easy option. That was when we started looking for a way to reach both parent and child in the safety of their own homes. By converting materials used during our in-person CSE’s we developed an educational video that can be viewed by both parent and child”, says Evelyn The OPEN platform has been designed with a colorful background, emojis, and animation to appeal to its target audience. Users can access valuable information through the FAQ section, international news, and video content such as an interview with a Family Physician.  “The filming and editing were the longest and most difficult part of the entire process, but once it was launched, we immediately saw that is was completely worth it, reaching over 42,000 people on social media”, Evelyn says.   

Marta Alicia Hernández Monge
story

| 24 March 2021

"Being a volunteer is my inheritance"

“I am a volunteer promoter by inheritance. First, my mother volunteered with Pro-Familia for 15 years, she resigned because she had to go to the United States. I learned to volunteer since I was little because I saw how my mother did it”, Alicia recalls. Alicia Hernández Monge, 43, remembers that with her mother leaving the country, the community spent some years without a volunteer health promoter. In those years, women came to her to encourage her to re-establish contact with Pro-Familia so the program would resume in the Santo Domingo village, one and a half hours outside of San Salvador.  In the absence of a local public health facility, Alicia decided to become a volunteer health promoter to support her community. “When my mother left, I agreed to collaborate just to promote the cervical screening clinic, but Pro-Familia suggested that I be a volunteer, like my mother, and I accepted. Today, it’s been two years. They have trained me at home on sexual and reproductive health issues, counseling, home visits, and the use of brochures, and I also learned to inject, with all that I do a better job in my community, especially with women”, says Alicia. Alicia is an entrepreneur with a strong spirit of care towards her family and community. Every day she attends her small business that provides the community with basic products.  “I help change people's lives; the women are happy and grateful because they no longer go to Guazapa to buy contraceptive methods. Pro-Familia trains me and I coordinate with other institutions in the community, such as the church, to help people”, she says.  Alicia says that counseling is the most important part of her work. “Counselling is very important, women learn to use (contraceptive) methods and stop thinking that it is a sin, I help them to understand that family planning is a right. (…) I had a case of a client where the husband was the one who decided which method to use and make her changed very often (contraceptive method) because he wanted her to lose weight; one day I explained to him about the benefits of using only one family planning method, the effects of changing very often on her menstruation and that she had the right to decide whether or not to change, and that the weight could be due to other reasons. He understood and thanked me for taking the time to speak to him; from that day on the client keeps one family planning method and the husband respects her decision,” she says. Alicia dreams of having a larger place for her clients, or have a table to administer the injectable, but despite the limited space, she enjoys her work. "I like it and I am happy to know that I can help, many users come at night to pick up their methods because they work out of the house and I take care of them with great pleasure, when they miss their appointment, I look after them, I speak to them by phone or I send them a WhatsApp message", she ends. They prefer her for the confidence she brings Ruth Séfora Manzano has known Alicia for several years before she had children. “I like Alicia because she is a respectful person, she likes to help people, she gives me confidence, and you can trust your personal things to her because she doesn't tell anyone, she looked after me when I got pregnant and she also cares about my daughter, she guides me on how taking care of myself and the baby, she is a kind person, that's why I plan with her, and if I need other medicines I also buy them from her. I also like it because it is close to my house, she gives me the shots, and I don't have to go elsewhere, I am grateful for her help and Pro-Familia´s."

Marta Alicia Hernández Monge
story

| 08 August 2022

"Being a volunteer is my inheritance"

“I am a volunteer promoter by inheritance. First, my mother volunteered with Pro-Familia for 15 years, she resigned because she had to go to the United States. I learned to volunteer since I was little because I saw how my mother did it”, Alicia recalls. Alicia Hernández Monge, 43, remembers that with her mother leaving the country, the community spent some years without a volunteer health promoter. In those years, women came to her to encourage her to re-establish contact with Pro-Familia so the program would resume in the Santo Domingo village, one and a half hours outside of San Salvador.  In the absence of a local public health facility, Alicia decided to become a volunteer health promoter to support her community. “When my mother left, I agreed to collaborate just to promote the cervical screening clinic, but Pro-Familia suggested that I be a volunteer, like my mother, and I accepted. Today, it’s been two years. They have trained me at home on sexual and reproductive health issues, counseling, home visits, and the use of brochures, and I also learned to inject, with all that I do a better job in my community, especially with women”, says Alicia. Alicia is an entrepreneur with a strong spirit of care towards her family and community. Every day she attends her small business that provides the community with basic products.  “I help change people's lives; the women are happy and grateful because they no longer go to Guazapa to buy contraceptive methods. Pro-Familia trains me and I coordinate with other institutions in the community, such as the church, to help people”, she says.  Alicia says that counseling is the most important part of her work. “Counselling is very important, women learn to use (contraceptive) methods and stop thinking that it is a sin, I help them to understand that family planning is a right. (…) I had a case of a client where the husband was the one who decided which method to use and make her changed very often (contraceptive method) because he wanted her to lose weight; one day I explained to him about the benefits of using only one family planning method, the effects of changing very often on her menstruation and that she had the right to decide whether or not to change, and that the weight could be due to other reasons. He understood and thanked me for taking the time to speak to him; from that day on the client keeps one family planning method and the husband respects her decision,” she says. Alicia dreams of having a larger place for her clients, or have a table to administer the injectable, but despite the limited space, she enjoys her work. "I like it and I am happy to know that I can help, many users come at night to pick up their methods because they work out of the house and I take care of them with great pleasure, when they miss their appointment, I look after them, I speak to them by phone or I send them a WhatsApp message", she ends. They prefer her for the confidence she brings Ruth Séfora Manzano has known Alicia for several years before she had children. “I like Alicia because she is a respectful person, she likes to help people, she gives me confidence, and you can trust your personal things to her because she doesn't tell anyone, she looked after me when I got pregnant and she also cares about my daughter, she guides me on how taking care of myself and the baby, she is a kind person, that's why I plan with her, and if I need other medicines I also buy them from her. I also like it because it is close to my house, she gives me the shots, and I don't have to go elsewhere, I am grateful for her help and Pro-Familia´s."

Juana Margoth Murcia Health Promoter El Salvador
story

| 07 March 2021

Ensuring health and contraceptive care in local villages

“I started as a Pro-Family Health Promoter (PSP, in Spanish) 30 years ago. I received a visit from Pro-Familia staff on several occasions, I was very interested in what I could do to help in my community as a volunteer. I was trained in sexual and reproductive health issues, and in the technique of injecting (contraceptives)”, says Juana Margoth. Through the community-based Pro-Family Health Promoter program, the Salvadoran Demographic Association (ADS / Pro-Familia) has been providing sexual and reproductive healthcare to local communities since 1974. Today, the program currently has around 900 health promoters across El Salvador. Reaching under-served communities with contraceptive care and information lies at the heart of the program’s mission. In the absence of healthcare from the Ministry of Health in Hacienda El Edén, Sonsonate, Juana provides care to four villages in the surrounding area. “I make visits in the communities to the clients I already have, to see if they are okay with the (contraceptive) method and to receive new clients, sometimes even the same clients tell me that there is someone who needs a visit. I like that they look to me to help them. I give confidence to the clients, to their partners too, I have clients since 2, 5 or 6 years ago. (…) There is a lot of need, so I am here, until God wants it”, she says. Juana receives a quarterly supply of contraceptives that she distributes at low prices to the women in her community. “I like that women know that I am here to help them, also to give advice and understand each people's problem; (to help them) to plan their family, and I like the fact that they want to do it with me,” she says. Providing counseling to clients on contraceptive methods so that they understand the different types and can make an informed choice is a crucial part of her role. “In other places - she says - they only give the contraceptive methods to women and do not explain (it’s use)”. In addition to the community-based program, Pro-Familia supports the network of promoters to help respond to emergencies. When natural disasters occur, Pro-Familia conducts a survey of needs and responds with support for reconstruction and food supplies. “I have a lot to thank Pro-Familia for, I have learned and continue to learn with them, they are always there when I need to know something when I run out of contraceptives and without medications (for the program); I am also grateful because I have my prefabricated house thanks to Pro-Familia who helped me when the earthquake of 2001 happened”, she says. I feel confident with her Yaneth Aguilar knew Juana Margoth and felt confident in choosing the injectable as her preferred contraceptive method. “With my husband, we agreed to put myself in control with her, she is kind, and she pays attention. If she were not here, I would surely have two more children. I feel confident with her. I don't like going to the health unit, because I have to spend the whole day, and sometimes they don't treat me well." Veronica Moran also received contraceptive care and information from Juana. “Margoth has changed our life, mine and my family’s, I have been planning with her for 8 years, she is kind and always has the method I use. When I have doubts, I ask her with confidence, without shame, and I can go to her house at any time, she is always there. I don't like going to the health unit, because I spend a lot (of money), and sometimes they don't have contraceptives; nowadays, with the pandemic, we have her close and she never stopped treating me, it is very helpful in our community." Brenda Martinez has been a client of Juana’s for two years. “She is the person that we know has (contraceptive) methods in the community, where Pap tests to prevent cancer are done, where we buy medicines, where you can always ask. When I was born, she was already a promoter; I couldn't be in another place planning, she is a very good person, kind, and she is always helping us in whatever way.”

Juana Margoth Murcia Health Promoter El Salvador
story

| 08 August 2022

Ensuring health and contraceptive care in local villages

“I started as a Pro-Family Health Promoter (PSP, in Spanish) 30 years ago. I received a visit from Pro-Familia staff on several occasions, I was very interested in what I could do to help in my community as a volunteer. I was trained in sexual and reproductive health issues, and in the technique of injecting (contraceptives)”, says Juana Margoth. Through the community-based Pro-Family Health Promoter program, the Salvadoran Demographic Association (ADS / Pro-Familia) has been providing sexual and reproductive healthcare to local communities since 1974. Today, the program currently has around 900 health promoters across El Salvador. Reaching under-served communities with contraceptive care and information lies at the heart of the program’s mission. In the absence of healthcare from the Ministry of Health in Hacienda El Edén, Sonsonate, Juana provides care to four villages in the surrounding area. “I make visits in the communities to the clients I already have, to see if they are okay with the (contraceptive) method and to receive new clients, sometimes even the same clients tell me that there is someone who needs a visit. I like that they look to me to help them. I give confidence to the clients, to their partners too, I have clients since 2, 5 or 6 years ago. (…) There is a lot of need, so I am here, until God wants it”, she says. Juana receives a quarterly supply of contraceptives that she distributes at low prices to the women in her community. “I like that women know that I am here to help them, also to give advice and understand each people's problem; (to help them) to plan their family, and I like the fact that they want to do it with me,” she says. Providing counseling to clients on contraceptive methods so that they understand the different types and can make an informed choice is a crucial part of her role. “In other places - she says - they only give the contraceptive methods to women and do not explain (it’s use)”. In addition to the community-based program, Pro-Familia supports the network of promoters to help respond to emergencies. When natural disasters occur, Pro-Familia conducts a survey of needs and responds with support for reconstruction and food supplies. “I have a lot to thank Pro-Familia for, I have learned and continue to learn with them, they are always there when I need to know something when I run out of contraceptives and without medications (for the program); I am also grateful because I have my prefabricated house thanks to Pro-Familia who helped me when the earthquake of 2001 happened”, she says. I feel confident with her Yaneth Aguilar knew Juana Margoth and felt confident in choosing the injectable as her preferred contraceptive method. “With my husband, we agreed to put myself in control with her, she is kind, and she pays attention. If she were not here, I would surely have two more children. I feel confident with her. I don't like going to the health unit, because I have to spend the whole day, and sometimes they don't treat me well." Veronica Moran also received contraceptive care and information from Juana. “Margoth has changed our life, mine and my family’s, I have been planning with her for 8 years, she is kind and always has the method I use. When I have doubts, I ask her with confidence, without shame, and I can go to her house at any time, she is always there. I don't like going to the health unit, because I spend a lot (of money), and sometimes they don't have contraceptives; nowadays, with the pandemic, we have her close and she never stopped treating me, it is very helpful in our community." Brenda Martinez has been a client of Juana’s for two years. “She is the person that we know has (contraceptive) methods in the community, where Pap tests to prevent cancer are done, where we buy medicines, where you can always ask. When I was born, she was already a promoter; I couldn't be in another place planning, she is a very good person, kind, and she is always helping us in whatever way.”

 Hilyann Croes journalist and FPA client, with an active lifestyle and work schedule
story

| 07 May 2021

“Shopping on the FPA online store makes me feel very in control and empowered”

Famia Planea Aruba (FPA) saw a gap in the market and developed its online store to better reach clients like Hilyann, a journalist, with an active lifestyle and work schedule.  FPA’s online store is open to members and non-members where they shop for their favorite FPA product in a worry- and hassle-free environment from the comfort of their own home, office, school or even on the go. Being able to order products online saves time and also supports those clients with limited access to transport.  “As a young professional, one of the challenges I often face is balancing my profession with my active lifestyle and practicing self-care. This is why I couldn’t be happier with FPA’s online store”, Hilyann says. The visually appealing online store is available in the local Aruban language, Papiamento. The site has been designed to provide quick access to various contraceptive methods, with supporting information to help clients make choices based on their needs. “It is so convenient and allows me to manage my time more efficiently, making it so much easier to be conscious of the necessary efforts with regards to my reproductive health. Above all, it allows me to focus on my personal goals, all while making the right choices when it comes to family planning”, she adds. Clients can browse a range of products and add their selections to the cart. At the check-out clients fill in their preferred time, date, and location for delivery. A confirmation email will be sent to the client while FPA starts to prepare the order for delivery.  “Shopping on the FPA online store makes me feel very in control and empowered. I hope that more people of all ages take advantage of this service. I hear far too often that people say they don’t have time, nobody has actually, but FPA is there for you. Take control of your sexual and reproductive health, empower yourself, be the boss of your time and your body”.

 Hilyann Croes journalist and FPA client, with an active lifestyle and work schedule
story

| 06 August 2022

“Shopping on the FPA online store makes me feel very in control and empowered”

Famia Planea Aruba (FPA) saw a gap in the market and developed its online store to better reach clients like Hilyann, a journalist, with an active lifestyle and work schedule.  FPA’s online store is open to members and non-members where they shop for their favorite FPA product in a worry- and hassle-free environment from the comfort of their own home, office, school or even on the go. Being able to order products online saves time and also supports those clients with limited access to transport.  “As a young professional, one of the challenges I often face is balancing my profession with my active lifestyle and practicing self-care. This is why I couldn’t be happier with FPA’s online store”, Hilyann says. The visually appealing online store is available in the local Aruban language, Papiamento. The site has been designed to provide quick access to various contraceptive methods, with supporting information to help clients make choices based on their needs. “It is so convenient and allows me to manage my time more efficiently, making it so much easier to be conscious of the necessary efforts with regards to my reproductive health. Above all, it allows me to focus on my personal goals, all while making the right choices when it comes to family planning”, she adds. Clients can browse a range of products and add their selections to the cart. At the check-out clients fill in their preferred time, date, and location for delivery. A confirmation email will be sent to the client while FPA starts to prepare the order for delivery.  “Shopping on the FPA online store makes me feel very in control and empowered. I hope that more people of all ages take advantage of this service. I hear far too often that people say they don’t have time, nobody has actually, but FPA is there for you. Take control of your sexual and reproductive health, empower yourself, be the boss of your time and your body”.

Students, Zavannah and Xian, are currently studying social work as one of their majors at the EPI vocational school.
story

| 06 May 2021

Supporting students in their studies and future careers

During the course of their studies, most students are required to develop projects and presentations about sexual and reproductive health. In the latter years of study, students start to prepare for more career-oriented studies and they are keen to learn more about how an organization like Famia Planea Aruba (FPA) operates.  As an NGO, FPA is a great source of support where students can learn more about the nature of social work including counseling, management, and get hands-on experience. The FPA team also support students to learn about its mission and vision, as well as management and structure nationally and internationally. It is an opportunity for them to learn that FPA is a of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).  Students, Zavannah and Xian, are currently studying social work as one of their majors at the EPI vocational school. “FPA is one of our favorite organizations to work with, they are very accommodating to our deadlines and provide tailored information. We have already done various projects with them and we still choose FPA every chance we get”, Zavannah says. FPA offers internship opportunities for both vocational and university students. This experience can have a huge impact on a student, and some often go on to become part of the team.  “When we do school projects with FPA we can really get a view of what our futures as social workers can look like. We always receive answers to all our questions, they have always have their mission and vision statements at hand which for our projects are very important”, Zavannah adds. “We can always count on FPA to provide visual materials as well. We sometimes have to finalize our projects with different presentations and we can always ask for pictures, videos and graphs to make our project wonderful”, Xian comments. FPA places great value on its ability to inspire and support young people with their studies and future careers such as social work where they, in the future, can help and support others.

Students, Zavannah and Xian, are currently studying social work as one of their majors at the EPI vocational school.
story

| 06 August 2022

Supporting students in their studies and future careers

During the course of their studies, most students are required to develop projects and presentations about sexual and reproductive health. In the latter years of study, students start to prepare for more career-oriented studies and they are keen to learn more about how an organization like Famia Planea Aruba (FPA) operates.  As an NGO, FPA is a great source of support where students can learn more about the nature of social work including counseling, management, and get hands-on experience. The FPA team also support students to learn about its mission and vision, as well as management and structure nationally and internationally. It is an opportunity for them to learn that FPA is a of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).  Students, Zavannah and Xian, are currently studying social work as one of their majors at the EPI vocational school. “FPA is one of our favorite organizations to work with, they are very accommodating to our deadlines and provide tailored information. We have already done various projects with them and we still choose FPA every chance we get”, Zavannah says. FPA offers internship opportunities for both vocational and university students. This experience can have a huge impact on a student, and some often go on to become part of the team.  “When we do school projects with FPA we can really get a view of what our futures as social workers can look like. We always receive answers to all our questions, they have always have their mission and vision statements at hand which for our projects are very important”, Zavannah adds. “We can always count on FPA to provide visual materials as well. We sometimes have to finalize our projects with different presentations and we can always ask for pictures, videos and graphs to make our project wonderful”, Xian comments. FPA places great value on its ability to inspire and support young people with their studies and future careers such as social work where they, in the future, can help and support others.

Jeanira van Eenennaam viewing an FPA educational video with daughter
story

| 02 May 2021

“It did stimulate conversations and questions for a few days"

Jeanira, 37, is a doctor’s assistant and has two young children aged two and 12. She has been a member of Famia Planea Aruba (FPA) for many years but only recently learned that FPA provides healthcare for all ages and stages of life – particularly young people.  “I am a mother of two wonderful children, a two-year-old boy and an almost twelve-year-old girl. As any parent does, I have to accept that my little girl is no longer so little and growing much faster than I am ready to accept. I do however try my best to be very open on accepting of her growth and changes in the hopes of helping her become her best self. About a year ago I had begun researching the best way and time to start talking to my daughter about her upcoming body changes, sexuality, and puberty in general”, Jeanira says.  Provision of sexual and reproductive healthcare for all, regardless of age, is at the core of FPA’s work. Over the years FPA has developed different information packages specifically aimed at reaching and supporting young people, families, and educators.   “There is of course endless information on the internet, but this is not always the most helpful since I now had the difficult task of filtering out what I saw as appropriate or not, as well as choosing trustworthy sources”, explains Jeanira. “During my search, a family member mentioned that she had seen a video on social media about puberty that was in our native language. After finding the video on FPA’s Facebook page and watching it myself first, I was over the moon. The video is fun, educational, featured local professionals, and related to my daughter’s age. I love the fact that I could introduce the video to her and let her watch it in her own comfort zone, just in case she was not in the mood to talk to me about the topic at hand or have me stare at her while she learned some of the most impactful changes heading her way. At the end, it did stimulate conversations and questions for a few days after and I truly made it easier for us to talk about some of the topics that can sometimes be a little hard to approach.”   Jeanira encouraged her 11-year-old daughter to use FPA’s OPEN program. “When my mom first told me she found a video for me to watch about puberty I was a bit scared. I do talk to my friends about some stuff, but talking to my mom sounded a bit awkward. My mom and I do talk a lot but I was still worried that it might get too deep. I didn’t think the video would be so funny”, Xiqiën remembers. “My favorite part was to be able to recognize some changes that I am going through right now. There are some changes that I would like to skip but I know it’s all part of the growing up process.”  “I’m so thankful that FPA had the idea to make such a fun video for us to learn from. There was some stuff that I already knew, but I also learned some new things. I did ask my mom a lot of questions after the video, mostly because they said that everyone is different and I really wanted to know how my mom is different from me. I don’t feel quite as worried to talk to my mom about these things anymore, I know that she will try to help.”  

Jeanira van Eenennaam viewing an FPA educational video with daughter
story

| 05 August 2022

“It did stimulate conversations and questions for a few days"

Jeanira, 37, is a doctor’s assistant and has two young children aged two and 12. She has been a member of Famia Planea Aruba (FPA) for many years but only recently learned that FPA provides healthcare for all ages and stages of life – particularly young people.  “I am a mother of two wonderful children, a two-year-old boy and an almost twelve-year-old girl. As any parent does, I have to accept that my little girl is no longer so little and growing much faster than I am ready to accept. I do however try my best to be very open on accepting of her growth and changes in the hopes of helping her become her best self. About a year ago I had begun researching the best way and time to start talking to my daughter about her upcoming body changes, sexuality, and puberty in general”, Jeanira says.  Provision of sexual and reproductive healthcare for all, regardless of age, is at the core of FPA’s work. Over the years FPA has developed different information packages specifically aimed at reaching and supporting young people, families, and educators.   “There is of course endless information on the internet, but this is not always the most helpful since I now had the difficult task of filtering out what I saw as appropriate or not, as well as choosing trustworthy sources”, explains Jeanira. “During my search, a family member mentioned that she had seen a video on social media about puberty that was in our native language. After finding the video on FPA’s Facebook page and watching it myself first, I was over the moon. The video is fun, educational, featured local professionals, and related to my daughter’s age. I love the fact that I could introduce the video to her and let her watch it in her own comfort zone, just in case she was not in the mood to talk to me about the topic at hand or have me stare at her while she learned some of the most impactful changes heading her way. At the end, it did stimulate conversations and questions for a few days after and I truly made it easier for us to talk about some of the topics that can sometimes be a little hard to approach.”   Jeanira encouraged her 11-year-old daughter to use FPA’s OPEN program. “When my mom first told me she found a video for me to watch about puberty I was a bit scared. I do talk to my friends about some stuff, but talking to my mom sounded a bit awkward. My mom and I do talk a lot but I was still worried that it might get too deep. I didn’t think the video would be so funny”, Xiqiën remembers. “My favorite part was to be able to recognize some changes that I am going through right now. There are some changes that I would like to skip but I know it’s all part of the growing up process.”  “I’m so thankful that FPA had the idea to make such a fun video for us to learn from. There was some stuff that I already knew, but I also learned some new things. I did ask my mom a lot of questions after the video, mostly because they said that everyone is different and I really wanted to know how my mom is different from me. I don’t feel quite as worried to talk to my mom about these things anymore, I know that she will try to help.”  

Evelyn Ras-Yarzagaray Executive Director Famia Planea Aruba
story

| 26 April 2021

COVID-19 inspires new approach to reaching young people during lockdown

The inspiration for delivering comprehensive sexuality education to young people digitally was propelled by the COVID-19 lockdown. Like other frontline healthcare providers, Famia Planea Aruba (FPA) was faced with unforeseen challenges about how to continue reaching their communities. Undeterred, the small team of four embraced the challenge to create, develop, and launch FPA’s first Online Puberty Educational News Program (OPEN).  With a background in marketing and extensive management experience, FPA’s Executive Director Evelyn Yarzagaray, led the project and team to successfully bring the digital platform to life.  “In the last few years, FPA’s in-school Comprehensive Sexuality Education program was growing rapidly, and then all of a sudden we hit a wall; our Island was in complete lockdown and all schools were closed. At first, we were very sad, since we were fully booked for the upcoming few months, and would lose the opportunity to reach thousands of young people”, Evelyn remembers.  Typically, during April and May FPA usually focuses on students between the ages of 11 and 13 and supporting with the transition from elementary school to secondary school. At this age young people are starting to experience changes to their bodies and hormones.  “We were all of a sudden bombarded with parents who started requesting one-on-one counseling sessions for their kids, but due to safety regulations, this was not an easy option. That was when we started looking for a way to reach both parent and child in the safety of their own homes. By converting materials used during our in-person CSE’s we developed an educational video that can be viewed by both parent and child”, says Evelyn The OPEN platform has been designed with a colorful background, emojis, and animation to appeal to its target audience. Users can access valuable information through the FAQ section, international news, and video content such as an interview with a Family Physician.  “The filming and editing were the longest and most difficult part of the entire process, but once it was launched, we immediately saw that is was completely worth it, reaching over 42,000 people on social media”, Evelyn says.   

Evelyn Ras-Yarzagaray Executive Director Famia Planea Aruba
story

| 05 August 2022

COVID-19 inspires new approach to reaching young people during lockdown

The inspiration for delivering comprehensive sexuality education to young people digitally was propelled by the COVID-19 lockdown. Like other frontline healthcare providers, Famia Planea Aruba (FPA) was faced with unforeseen challenges about how to continue reaching their communities. Undeterred, the small team of four embraced the challenge to create, develop, and launch FPA’s first Online Puberty Educational News Program (OPEN).  With a background in marketing and extensive management experience, FPA’s Executive Director Evelyn Yarzagaray, led the project and team to successfully bring the digital platform to life.  “In the last few years, FPA’s in-school Comprehensive Sexuality Education program was growing rapidly, and then all of a sudden we hit a wall; our Island was in complete lockdown and all schools were closed. At first, we were very sad, since we were fully booked for the upcoming few months, and would lose the opportunity to reach thousands of young people”, Evelyn remembers.  Typically, during April and May FPA usually focuses on students between the ages of 11 and 13 and supporting with the transition from elementary school to secondary school. At this age young people are starting to experience changes to their bodies and hormones.  “We were all of a sudden bombarded with parents who started requesting one-on-one counseling sessions for their kids, but due to safety regulations, this was not an easy option. That was when we started looking for a way to reach both parent and child in the safety of their own homes. By converting materials used during our in-person CSE’s we developed an educational video that can be viewed by both parent and child”, says Evelyn The OPEN platform has been designed with a colorful background, emojis, and animation to appeal to its target audience. Users can access valuable information through the FAQ section, international news, and video content such as an interview with a Family Physician.  “The filming and editing were the longest and most difficult part of the entire process, but once it was launched, we immediately saw that is was completely worth it, reaching over 42,000 people on social media”, Evelyn says.   

Marta Alicia Hernández Monge
story

| 24 March 2021

"Being a volunteer is my inheritance"

“I am a volunteer promoter by inheritance. First, my mother volunteered with Pro-Familia for 15 years, she resigned because she had to go to the United States. I learned to volunteer since I was little because I saw how my mother did it”, Alicia recalls. Alicia Hernández Monge, 43, remembers that with her mother leaving the country, the community spent some years without a volunteer health promoter. In those years, women came to her to encourage her to re-establish contact with Pro-Familia so the program would resume in the Santo Domingo village, one and a half hours outside of San Salvador.  In the absence of a local public health facility, Alicia decided to become a volunteer health promoter to support her community. “When my mother left, I agreed to collaborate just to promote the cervical screening clinic, but Pro-Familia suggested that I be a volunteer, like my mother, and I accepted. Today, it’s been two years. They have trained me at home on sexual and reproductive health issues, counseling, home visits, and the use of brochures, and I also learned to inject, with all that I do a better job in my community, especially with women”, says Alicia. Alicia is an entrepreneur with a strong spirit of care towards her family and community. Every day she attends her small business that provides the community with basic products.  “I help change people's lives; the women are happy and grateful because they no longer go to Guazapa to buy contraceptive methods. Pro-Familia trains me and I coordinate with other institutions in the community, such as the church, to help people”, she says.  Alicia says that counseling is the most important part of her work. “Counselling is very important, women learn to use (contraceptive) methods and stop thinking that it is a sin, I help them to understand that family planning is a right. (…) I had a case of a client where the husband was the one who decided which method to use and make her changed very often (contraceptive method) because he wanted her to lose weight; one day I explained to him about the benefits of using only one family planning method, the effects of changing very often on her menstruation and that she had the right to decide whether or not to change, and that the weight could be due to other reasons. He understood and thanked me for taking the time to speak to him; from that day on the client keeps one family planning method and the husband respects her decision,” she says. Alicia dreams of having a larger place for her clients, or have a table to administer the injectable, but despite the limited space, she enjoys her work. "I like it and I am happy to know that I can help, many users come at night to pick up their methods because they work out of the house and I take care of them with great pleasure, when they miss their appointment, I look after them, I speak to them by phone or I send them a WhatsApp message", she ends. They prefer her for the confidence she brings Ruth Séfora Manzano has known Alicia for several years before she had children. “I like Alicia because she is a respectful person, she likes to help people, she gives me confidence, and you can trust your personal things to her because she doesn't tell anyone, she looked after me when I got pregnant and she also cares about my daughter, she guides me on how taking care of myself and the baby, she is a kind person, that's why I plan with her, and if I need other medicines I also buy them from her. I also like it because it is close to my house, she gives me the shots, and I don't have to go elsewhere, I am grateful for her help and Pro-Familia´s."

Marta Alicia Hernández Monge
story

| 08 August 2022

"Being a volunteer is my inheritance"

“I am a volunteer promoter by inheritance. First, my mother volunteered with Pro-Familia for 15 years, she resigned because she had to go to the United States. I learned to volunteer since I was little because I saw how my mother did it”, Alicia recalls. Alicia Hernández Monge, 43, remembers that with her mother leaving the country, the community spent some years without a volunteer health promoter. In those years, women came to her to encourage her to re-establish contact with Pro-Familia so the program would resume in the Santo Domingo village, one and a half hours outside of San Salvador.  In the absence of a local public health facility, Alicia decided to become a volunteer health promoter to support her community. “When my mother left, I agreed to collaborate just to promote the cervical screening clinic, but Pro-Familia suggested that I be a volunteer, like my mother, and I accepted. Today, it’s been two years. They have trained me at home on sexual and reproductive health issues, counseling, home visits, and the use of brochures, and I also learned to inject, with all that I do a better job in my community, especially with women”, says Alicia. Alicia is an entrepreneur with a strong spirit of care towards her family and community. Every day she attends her small business that provides the community with basic products.  “I help change people's lives; the women are happy and grateful because they no longer go to Guazapa to buy contraceptive methods. Pro-Familia trains me and I coordinate with other institutions in the community, such as the church, to help people”, she says.  Alicia says that counseling is the most important part of her work. “Counselling is very important, women learn to use (contraceptive) methods and stop thinking that it is a sin, I help them to understand that family planning is a right. (…) I had a case of a client where the husband was the one who decided which method to use and make her changed very often (contraceptive method) because he wanted her to lose weight; one day I explained to him about the benefits of using only one family planning method, the effects of changing very often on her menstruation and that she had the right to decide whether or not to change, and that the weight could be due to other reasons. He understood and thanked me for taking the time to speak to him; from that day on the client keeps one family planning method and the husband respects her decision,” she says. Alicia dreams of having a larger place for her clients, or have a table to administer the injectable, but despite the limited space, she enjoys her work. "I like it and I am happy to know that I can help, many users come at night to pick up their methods because they work out of the house and I take care of them with great pleasure, when they miss their appointment, I look after them, I speak to them by phone or I send them a WhatsApp message", she ends. They prefer her for the confidence she brings Ruth Séfora Manzano has known Alicia for several years before she had children. “I like Alicia because she is a respectful person, she likes to help people, she gives me confidence, and you can trust your personal things to her because she doesn't tell anyone, she looked after me when I got pregnant and she also cares about my daughter, she guides me on how taking care of myself and the baby, she is a kind person, that's why I plan with her, and if I need other medicines I also buy them from her. I also like it because it is close to my house, she gives me the shots, and I don't have to go elsewhere, I am grateful for her help and Pro-Familia´s."

Juana Margoth Murcia Health Promoter El Salvador
story

| 07 March 2021

Ensuring health and contraceptive care in local villages

“I started as a Pro-Family Health Promoter (PSP, in Spanish) 30 years ago. I received a visit from Pro-Familia staff on several occasions, I was very interested in what I could do to help in my community as a volunteer. I was trained in sexual and reproductive health issues, and in the technique of injecting (contraceptives)”, says Juana Margoth. Through the community-based Pro-Family Health Promoter program, the Salvadoran Demographic Association (ADS / Pro-Familia) has been providing sexual and reproductive healthcare to local communities since 1974. Today, the program currently has around 900 health promoters across El Salvador. Reaching under-served communities with contraceptive care and information lies at the heart of the program’s mission. In the absence of healthcare from the Ministry of Health in Hacienda El Edén, Sonsonate, Juana provides care to four villages in the surrounding area. “I make visits in the communities to the clients I already have, to see if they are okay with the (contraceptive) method and to receive new clients, sometimes even the same clients tell me that there is someone who needs a visit. I like that they look to me to help them. I give confidence to the clients, to their partners too, I have clients since 2, 5 or 6 years ago. (…) There is a lot of need, so I am here, until God wants it”, she says. Juana receives a quarterly supply of contraceptives that she distributes at low prices to the women in her community. “I like that women know that I am here to help them, also to give advice and understand each people's problem; (to help them) to plan their family, and I like the fact that they want to do it with me,” she says. Providing counseling to clients on contraceptive methods so that they understand the different types and can make an informed choice is a crucial part of her role. “In other places - she says - they only give the contraceptive methods to women and do not explain (it’s use)”. In addition to the community-based program, Pro-Familia supports the network of promoters to help respond to emergencies. When natural disasters occur, Pro-Familia conducts a survey of needs and responds with support for reconstruction and food supplies. “I have a lot to thank Pro-Familia for, I have learned and continue to learn with them, they are always there when I need to know something when I run out of contraceptives and without medications (for the program); I am also grateful because I have my prefabricated house thanks to Pro-Familia who helped me when the earthquake of 2001 happened”, she says. I feel confident with her Yaneth Aguilar knew Juana Margoth and felt confident in choosing the injectable as her preferred contraceptive method. “With my husband, we agreed to put myself in control with her, she is kind, and she pays attention. If she were not here, I would surely have two more children. I feel confident with her. I don't like going to the health unit, because I have to spend the whole day, and sometimes they don't treat me well." Veronica Moran also received contraceptive care and information from Juana. “Margoth has changed our life, mine and my family’s, I have been planning with her for 8 years, she is kind and always has the method I use. When I have doubts, I ask her with confidence, without shame, and I can go to her house at any time, she is always there. I don't like going to the health unit, because I spend a lot (of money), and sometimes they don't have contraceptives; nowadays, with the pandemic, we have her close and she never stopped treating me, it is very helpful in our community." Brenda Martinez has been a client of Juana’s for two years. “She is the person that we know has (contraceptive) methods in the community, where Pap tests to prevent cancer are done, where we buy medicines, where you can always ask. When I was born, she was already a promoter; I couldn't be in another place planning, she is a very good person, kind, and she is always helping us in whatever way.”

Juana Margoth Murcia Health Promoter El Salvador
story

| 08 August 2022

Ensuring health and contraceptive care in local villages

“I started as a Pro-Family Health Promoter (PSP, in Spanish) 30 years ago. I received a visit from Pro-Familia staff on several occasions, I was very interested in what I could do to help in my community as a volunteer. I was trained in sexual and reproductive health issues, and in the technique of injecting (contraceptives)”, says Juana Margoth. Through the community-based Pro-Family Health Promoter program, the Salvadoran Demographic Association (ADS / Pro-Familia) has been providing sexual and reproductive healthcare to local communities since 1974. Today, the program currently has around 900 health promoters across El Salvador. Reaching under-served communities with contraceptive care and information lies at the heart of the program’s mission. In the absence of healthcare from the Ministry of Health in Hacienda El Edén, Sonsonate, Juana provides care to four villages in the surrounding area. “I make visits in the communities to the clients I already have, to see if they are okay with the (contraceptive) method and to receive new clients, sometimes even the same clients tell me that there is someone who needs a visit. I like that they look to me to help them. I give confidence to the clients, to their partners too, I have clients since 2, 5 or 6 years ago. (…) There is a lot of need, so I am here, until God wants it”, she says. Juana receives a quarterly supply of contraceptives that she distributes at low prices to the women in her community. “I like that women know that I am here to help them, also to give advice and understand each people's problem; (to help them) to plan their family, and I like the fact that they want to do it with me,” she says. Providing counseling to clients on contraceptive methods so that they understand the different types and can make an informed choice is a crucial part of her role. “In other places - she says - they only give the contraceptive methods to women and do not explain (it’s use)”. In addition to the community-based program, Pro-Familia supports the network of promoters to help respond to emergencies. When natural disasters occur, Pro-Familia conducts a survey of needs and responds with support for reconstruction and food supplies. “I have a lot to thank Pro-Familia for, I have learned and continue to learn with them, they are always there when I need to know something when I run out of contraceptives and without medications (for the program); I am also grateful because I have my prefabricated house thanks to Pro-Familia who helped me when the earthquake of 2001 happened”, she says. I feel confident with her Yaneth Aguilar knew Juana Margoth and felt confident in choosing the injectable as her preferred contraceptive method. “With my husband, we agreed to put myself in control with her, she is kind, and she pays attention. If she were not here, I would surely have two more children. I feel confident with her. I don't like going to the health unit, because I have to spend the whole day, and sometimes they don't treat me well." Veronica Moran also received contraceptive care and information from Juana. “Margoth has changed our life, mine and my family’s, I have been planning with her for 8 years, she is kind and always has the method I use. When I have doubts, I ask her with confidence, without shame, and I can go to her house at any time, she is always there. I don't like going to the health unit, because I spend a lot (of money), and sometimes they don't have contraceptives; nowadays, with the pandemic, we have her close and she never stopped treating me, it is very helpful in our community." Brenda Martinez has been a client of Juana’s for two years. “She is the person that we know has (contraceptive) methods in the community, where Pap tests to prevent cancer are done, where we buy medicines, where you can always ask. When I was born, she was already a promoter; I couldn't be in another place planning, she is a very good person, kind, and she is always helping us in whatever way.”