WPF makes annual grants to Australian-registered Deductible Grant Recipient non-government organisations concentrating on the Asia Pacific region. Our partners are committed to enabling access to family planning services, to working with local staff in overseas program areas, respecting the local cultures and are open in their planning and reporting.
Programs being funded in 2020-21 are in PNG, Lao PDR and Cambodia. In 2020-21 WPF's grants total $115,000.
Download our Funding guidelines for proposals for WPF Grants 2020
Our current grant recipient partners are:
These impressive organisations are accredited by AusAID, now a part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. It is hoped that AusAID’s focus on reproductive health will continue in areas where men’s views of ownership of women make continual childbearing a default setting for the woman’s role. Violence in gender relationships, or virility measured by the number of children, create barriers to women’s entry to health clinics where rapid population increase is perpetuating poverty. The proportion of the reproductive health allocation expended on behavioural programs for men as a prelude to reaching women and making contraception possible, means that existing levels of funding may not provide sufficient rural and urban family planning for a sustainable society.
Since inception in 2004, Women’s Plans Foundation has focused on programs that directly bring family planning to women who lack it. Early grants supported a variety of projects to increase awareness and availability of modern methods of contraception.
CARE Australia is a leading international aid agency dedicated to ending poverty, saving lives, and creating a more equal world. CARE puts women and girls at the centre because we know that we cannot overcome poverty until all people have equal rights and education. In 2019, CARE worked in 100 countries.
Women's Plans is supporting CARE's work in Papua New Guinea (PNG), specifically the Mamayo Project in Lufa District of the Eastern Highlands Province. The goal of the project is to increase the uptake of family planning and improve the reproductive and maternal health and wellbeing of women, their families and communities in rural, disadvantaged areas of PNG by promoting gender equitable relations and decision making.
Women’s Plans Foundation is supporting CARE’s work in Asia, specifically in Timor-Leste.
Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs in PNG
Women in PNG face formidable barriers to accessing the reproductive and maternal health care they need to thrive. Only 34% of women use contraception and an estimated 40% of women give birth outside of a hospital or health centre. In PNG, men get the final say over if and when a women in their family gets contraception, attends antenatal care, or goes to a clinic to give birth and this can lead to delays, or even prevent, women seeking treatment.
Discussion of women's health remains taboo in remote PNG, meaning knowledge of contraception, birth and prenatal and postnatal care is low. This lack of knowledge means that women and their families can be unaware of available health services, or unable or unwilling to access these services because they do not have the support of their husband.
In rural areas of PNG, women's choices about fertility and reproduction are also mainly made by their husbands. Although PNG law gives women the legal right to access long-lasting and permanent contraceptives on their own, many PNG health workers still insist on a male family member's consent before providing a woman with services such as tubal ligation.
An ill-equipped health system and remote mountainous landscape means reproductive and maternal health information and resources are out of reach for many women in PNG. Without quality healthcare and community support, women in rural areas have a one in 20 chance of dying in pregnancy or during childbirth.
How Women's Plans Foundation is helping to meet these needs
This is the second year for which Women's Plans Foundation has provided funding to this project. The Women's Plans Foundation grant will be used to support the activities of Barola Haus Mama who support project implementation in one of the districts (Lufa District in Eastern Highland province). Barola Haus Mama is a local community-based organisation that operates a maternal and child health clinic and also runs health education, immunisation and maternal and antenatal programs.
In 2020-21, Women's Plans Foundation is funding Barola Haus Mama to:
Train community leaders and couples on family planning and equitable decision-making
on various issues within the home such as family finances and the family planning and seeking maternal child health services.
Train and mentor Village Health Volunteers (VHVs) who will conduct health education and awareness on maternal and child health services, including family planning, intimate partner violence and health facility delivery. VHVs will also facilitate referrals of women from their communities to the health facility where they can access health services and contraceptives.
Conduct integrated maternal health outreach patrols which requires driving into remote communities and discussing family planning, antenatal care and immunisation, and also distributing contraceptives to families.
Train health care staff to perform non-scalpel vasectomies.
Village Health Volunteers, trained by the project provide reproductive and maternal health knowledge and information to women, men and their communities. They also facilitate access to contraceptive services provided by others such as International Maternal and Child Health Patrols. A case study of the activities and outcomes of one of the Village Health Volunteers illustrates how these processes can work.
While many of the project's activities are focused on capacity building, community education, and facilitating access to contraceptive services provided by others, the project also directly provides some contraceptive services. In the first half year of Women's Plans Foundation funding (July 2019-December 2019) through the project contraceptive implants were accessed by 75 women and five school aged girls (with parental consent); seven men received non-scalpel vasectomy; four couples undertook couples counselling for Family Planning.
Nancy John is 37 years old and lives in Lufa District, Eastern Highlands province. She is married and lives with her husband and three children.
Nancy is Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) women's ministry coordinator in Unavi local-level government. She was chosen by her community to be trained as a Village Health Volunteer. Nancy is working to increase awareness of family planning within her community.
As part of her action plan, Nancy spoke to the community about the issues faced by women becoming pregnant outside of marriage, including the impact for the child and their family. She also brought attention to the issue of unsafe abortions that women have to avoid being labelled "second hand". Through this awareness she identified more than 11 couples and many young unmarried women, including a few school-aged girls, in her community who wanted contraceptives.
In October of 2019, the project supported the Lufa district health centre to include family planning. This ensures that there are no repercussions from the family from women accessing contraceptives on their own.
During this IMCH patrol, 80 women over 18 years, and five girls under 18 received contraceptive implants and seven men chose to have a vasectomy. This is a direct result of the 31 community leaders and 41 Village Health Volunteers trained by the project to implement action plans to increase the uptake of contraceptives in the community.
ChildFund Australia is an independent and non-religious international development organisation that works to reduce poverty for children in the developing world. It works in partnership with children and their communities to create lasting change by supporting long-term community development, responding to humanitarian emergencies and promoting children’s rights. We want every child to be able to say:
“I am safe. I am educated. I am heard. I can make a difference. I have a future.”
ChildFund Australia implements programs with a range of local partners in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and Vietnam, and manages projects delivered by partner organisations throughout Asia, Africa and the Americas. Its work is funded through child and community sponsorship, as well as public donations and government grants.
ChildFund Australia is a member of the ChildFund Alliance – a global network of 11 organisations which assists more than 13 million children and families in over 60 countries. ChildFund Australia is a registered charity and is fully accredited by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Sexual and reproductive health needs in PNG
Women and children in Papua New Guinea (PNG) experience levels of gender-based violence estimated to be some of the highest in the world outside a conflict zone.
Studies have found that around two-thirds of women report intimate partner violence and over half report being forced to have sex against their will, mostly by known perpetrators.
In a 2013 study of adult males, 62% reported perpetrating some form of rape against a woman or girl in their lifetime, with nearly two-thirds doing so for the first time in their teens.
Gender-based violence is largely driven by factors related to gender inequality, childhood experiences and the enactment of harmful forms of masculinity. These, along with lack of basic knowledge, are the same drivers of negative sexual reproductive health outcomes such as high rates of early pregnancy and childbearing. Children are affected by gender-based violence as both witnesses and survivors.
There is a lack of community knowledge about the fact that violence against women is a human rights abuse and against the law. There is also a lack of awareness about how to seek help. There is a need to invest in primary prevention activities that help young people navigate sexual health and gender norms.
The challenge for young people in PNG is that neither the formal education system, nor informal sources, are adequately preparing them with the skills to manage relationship issues and the kind of tensions they experience in day to day life. Youth spoken to in focus groups felt a desperate need for "more awareness and skills", especially those related to family violence, peer pressure and sexual and reproductive health. Cultural beliefs, traditional taboos, low literacy levels and lack of knowledge often prevent parents and elders from talking issues such as sexual and reproductive health.
Education can make a difference. Through well-taught education programs (delivered in and out of school), young people can learn about themselves and develop knowledge and skills that will help them to interact with others in healthy, positive, respectful and supportive ways.
While it takes time to change attitudes, practices and social norms, there is now strong evidence informing the development of educational interventions that work. Comprehensive education is a key intervention. Supplementing this, young people need to receive support and feedback to increase people's sense of individual and collective efficacy. Change needs to sit within a nurturing, supportive asocial environment where positive social and personal norms are promoted and condoned.
During the first half of 2019-20, progress was made towards these objectives in the following ways. A further 28 personal development teachers in 8 schools were trained to teach the Rights, Respect and Resilience Learning Resource Material (LRM) covering ten topics including healthy relationships, understanding consent, gender-based violence, family planning and contraception, alcohol and peer pressure, and seeking helping. Teachers conducted classes two to three times per week and employed participatory methods including role play and group work to meaningfully engage students. A total of 2,467 students (1,108 females, 1,359 males) were taught the curriculum. ChildFund PNG project staff conducted classroom observations across these schools to ensure both LRM fidelity and that consistent teaching schedules are maintained.
The piloting of the program is nearing completion and this year’s funding from Women’s Plans Foundation will assist ChildFund to build on the lessons learnt over the last three years and continue to deliver education promoting sexual and reproductive health rights and respectful, non-violent and equitable relationships to reduce gender based violence in PNG.
To date, funding from Women’s Plans Foundation has assisted with the development of curriculum modules for use in secondary schools and with out of school youth, training of teachers and peer educators to deliver the curriculum, and the delivery of the curriculum in schools and with out of school youth. This year the funds will be used for a range of activities to train young women and men both in school and out of school as peer educators to deliver the curriculum and lead follow-on activities to drive positive changes in their communities.
2020-21 is the fourth ear for funding for ChildFund's Rights, Respect and Resilience (RRR) project. The objectives of this project are that over time and anticipated 12,204 (male = 6878; female = 5326) students from 17 secondary schools and 1000 out-of-school youth from three communities in Central Province and the National Capital District, Papua New Guinea, will have increased social and emotional skills to build better, safer futures and act for positive change. Students and out of school youth will participate in RRR training and activities to increase their confidence, knowledge and skills to think critically about, address and seek help around gender, violence and sexual health issues.
Marie Stopes International Australia is the support office for Marie Stopes International in the Asia-Pacific region, running programs in Cambodia, Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea. MSI transforms the lives of women and girls all over the world by providing them with the reproductive choices they want, and where they are needed most.
For the past 40 years, MSI has delivered high quality and life-changing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and family planning services through a range of service delivery models such as static specialised sexual and reproductive clinics and mobile outreach.
As of 31 December 2019, there are 32 million women using a method of contraception provided by MSI. That's 32 million women who have been able to make choices about their own bodies and their own futures. To put this number into context, if these women stood side by side on the equator, they would form a human chain that would reach around the world. In 2019 alone, MSI provided 14 million people with contraception,safe abortion or post-abortion care services. Our numbers show that we are meeting the family planning demand for one in five women in the countries that we work in. Family planning is a smart investment and one of the most cost-effective approaches to improving the health outcomes of individuals and communities. ·
Every dollar spent on family planning can produce up to 120 dollars of social, economic and environmental benefits**Data taken from the Copenhagen Consensus Center.
WPF’s emphasis on family planning is reflected in MSI’s mission to provide ‘Children by Choice, not Chance’ and is a key component of MSI’s work globally and in the Asia-Pacific region. Since 2017, WPF has been supporting MSI’s work in Cambodia and prior to that work in PNG.
Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs in Cambodia
The Royal Government of Cambodia’s Ministry of Health, in partnership with non-government organisations and other civil society organisations have made a significant contribution to improvements in Cambodia’s maternal, reproductive, newborn and child health in the last five years. Through the implementation of the Ministry of Health’s Fast Track Initiative Road Map for Reducing Maternal and Newborn Mortality 2016-2020, the unmet contraceptive need has fallen and the use of modern contraceptives has increased. Despite this progress, there are significant portions of the population who still lack access to reproductive choice.
Cambodia is one of the youngest nations in Asia, with 20.6% of the population aged between 15-24 years old. Young people are disproportionately impacted by a lack of SRH services, facing socio-economic and cultural barriers to receiving information and services. The majority of young people in Cambodia live in peri-urban or rural areas (77%) making them difficult to reach and underserved by public health facilities. Rural youth are increasingly exposed to new cultural trends and digital media, yet their parents have difficulty sharing information on sexuality, often leading to risky sexual behaviour. As a result, one in eight adolescents (15-19 year olds) have given birth to, or are pregnant with their first child in Cambodia.
Young women - particularly peri-urban and rural young women – encounter multiple barriers to accessing SRH information and services including:
* Myths about contraceptive side effects and risks. Although 98% of women report having knowledge of at least one type of modern contraceptive method, the main reason women cited for non-use (aside from infertility) was health concerns.
* Limited knowledge of comprehensive contraceptive options. Most users of modern contraception in Cambodia choose short-term methods (e.g. pills or condoms) with fewer women using a long-acting reversible contraceptive method (LARC).
* Stigma associated with seeking reproductive health information and services inhibit young women from contraception uptake. Ninety percent of sexually active young women in Cambodia are not currently using contraception.
* Socio and cultural barriers to family planning. Socio-cultural and economic barriers, coupled with a shortage of qualified providers prevent women and girls from seeking and using contraception.
How Women’s Plans Foundation is helping to meet these needs
Over the last three years Women’s Plans Foundation has been funding Marie Stopes International to deliver awareness raising and referral services in rural Cambodia and with workers in the garment industry, most of whom are young females. Much has been achieved over that time. For example, during the first half of the 2019-20 funding year, a total of 4,220 adolescents,including garment factory workers, received access to comprehensive information and education on Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH), including contraception, through various activities like a ‘Mobile Chatbox’ and 23 group discussions.They also receive SRH from Marie Stopes Ladies located in Banteay Meanchey, Preah Sihanouk, Kampong Cham, Tbung Khmum. Improved access to SRH information and services is also provided through Facebook, Marie Stopes Contact Centre, MS Ladies and Adolescent Discount Cards.
During that six month period alone, MSIC recruited and trained 145 community mobilisers from Tbung Khmum, Kampong Cham, Banteay Meanchey, and Sihanoukville. The mobilisers learned about Marie Stopes Ladies, MSIC contact centre, and SRH/FP services. MSIC also provided training on communication skills and values clarifications towards young people accessing SRH services. They received materials for distribution, job aids, branded shirts, and caps to reach out to young people.They also supported the project team to deliver community-based activities,including mobile ‘chat box’ and group discussions. During the reporting period,the mobilisers have referred 652 clients to MS Ladies facilities.
Starting in 2020-21, Women’s Plans Foundation is funding an exciting new MSIC project working with at risk and vulnerable youth (women and girls between the ages of 15 and 24) in Phnom Penh, accessing this subgroup by working in partnership with two organisations that are already supporting this subgroup and have established connections with members of it: Auscam Freedom Project (ACFP) and Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (PSE). The project will also be building the capacity of those organisations to better support young women and girls in their sexual and reproductive health, including through referral to Marie Stopes Contact Centres that provide contraceptive and other SRH services.
This project is responding to the finding that health knowledge and indicators show strong disparities across the youth population. Rural-to-urban migration in search of employment and education is common among young Cambodians. Being exposed to a wide range of physical and mental health problems, lack of access to basic needs, isolation and dangers like sexual exploitation - street children, orphans and young rural-to-urban migrants are among the most vulnerable groups.
The project has the following two main objectives:
Australian Doctors International (ADI) is an Australian NGO registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission; a member of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) and is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP). ADI is governed by a Board and a suite of governance committees (Risk and Compliance, Finance and Audit, Revenue, Program) and people fill these roles on a volunteer basis.
ADI has maintained the delivery of training, clinical services and community education in family planning in rural communities, while also managing and supporting PNG's COVID - 19 responses.
In March 2021, PNG saw a surge in positive COVID-19 cases nationwide, limiting the delivery of some of our activities as originally planned. However, this has also provided opportunities for ADI to direct its focus on investing in PNG’s health workforce further and emphasise the importance of localisation. ADI now has PNG staff dedicated to family planning, maternal health and gender equity in all three provinces where we work – New Ireland, West New Britain and beginning in late 2020, Western Province. With the growing number of staff, ADI has been able to expand our reach in rural areas. ADI remains committed to a multi-pronged approach to improving women’s health and wellbeing, with family planning central across all of our activities.
Currently, ADI is advocating for PNG’s provinces to receive regular and sufficient supplies of COVID-19vaccinations, and will be assisting with the distribution of these vaccines to ensure rural health workers are well-protected and supported, to continue the provision of essential health services in their communities, including in family planning.
Highlights from ADI's family planning work during the 2020 - 21 Financial Year :·
* Family planning services and awareness delivered on 21 outreach health patrols across three provinces, delivering 90 hours of public health education on family planning and sexual reproductive health to 12,000 rural community members.
* In-service training focused on Jadelle implant insertion to rural health workers in New Ireland. * Contributions towards 1680 couple years protection (CYP) through the provision of contraceptive services.
* Expanding family planning work in Western Province - increasing availability of contraceptive counselling and services to rural women in the provinces's North Fly District. ADI will also be delivering training in this province.
* Gender Equity program established in all three provinces.
Outreach health patrols
Providing family planning services and reproductive health education for rural health workers and community members is one of ADI’s core activities. ADI undertakes regular, outreach health patrols in partnership with local health authorities and health providers. During these patrols, activities include providing contraceptive methods alongside counselling, training local health workers, community awareness and distribution of family planning commodities.
During the 20/21 financial year, health professionals and educators providing family planning services and education attended 21 outreach health patrols in all three provinces where ADI is located. In total, patrols visited 60 rural health facilities and 80 communities and villages across three provinces – New Ireland, West New Britain and Western Province.
During these patrols, women and couples received a range of family planning services including contraceptive services and counselling.
In addition, community education sessions to increase awareness and understanding of family planning were also delivered to rural communities. Education sessions are tailored to address key barriers and misunderstandings communities may face, that impact access and acceptance of family planning for rural women. Common issues that are often addressedduringthesecommunityeducationsessionsinclude:
* Understanding birth spacing and its impact on maternal health
* Knowing what contraceptive options are available for rural women in PNG, and dispelling rumours and misunderstandings they may have in regards to contraception (e.g. implants can cause cancer, side effects often misunderstood as sickness caused by contraception, etc.)
* Community wide understanding of reproductive rights, and what it means for women to make their own decisions regarding their health.
In this financial year, approximately 90 hours of education on family planning and sexual and reproductive health were delivered to over 12,000 individuals in rural communities visited on patrol. In addition to this, ADI's Gender Equity Officers also delivered awareness sessions on gender equity. Outreach health patrols also provide opportunities to engage with local health workers, and provide support and training based on their needs and requests. Many rural health workers in PNG work in isolation, with little opportunities for professional development.
A volunteer Doctor, Nursing Officer, Health Extension Officer (HEO) work alongside these local health workers during patrols, offering guidance and support in carrying out family planning services, counselling, implant insertions and removals. This year, 19 rural health workers received clinical, case-based training in family planning during ADI patrols in the health facilities where they worked.
Supporting remote health workers at the place they work is important for consolidation of skills, further training in counselling techniques and practical contraceptive revision. Case-based training reinforces learnings from in-service trainings, and gives health workers the opportunity to practice their history taking and decision-making process, ask questions and get tailored input into their practice. This annual follow-up is an integral part of ADI’s capacity building approach.
In July 2020, ADI also expanded our family planning work in Western Province with the commencement of new staff member, Ruth Biendwore. With over 25 years of clinical experience working for organisations including Catholic Health Services, North Fly Health Services, World Vision, Marie Stopes PNG and Port Moresby General Hospital, Ruth’s input in strengthening ADI’s family planning work has already been invaluable. While ADI has been established in Western Province for more than 20 years, this is the first time ADI has had a permanent, PNG clinician dedicated towards providing family planning and maternal health services to rural women in the province. Ruth has strong leadership skills and has fitted into the team very well. She has a passion for promoting women's rights to have information and choice to determine their contraception options.
Case Study: Family planning, sexual and reproductive health education to youth in rural New Ireland
General knowledge on sexual and reproductive health is in high demand in New Ireland’s rural youth population. Due to traditional and religious beliefs, varying literacy levels and reluctance of some rural health workers in delivering in-depth knowledge about this subject, many do not understand family planning in relation to their sexual and reproductive health. As a result, unintended pregnancies and teenage pregnancies are very common in rural areas that ADI visits.
ADI Health Extension Officer (HEO), Mary Silakau, notes that while young people are curious about the topic, they are reluctant to come forward and seek this knowledge. Mary believes that having young people understand their sexual and reproductive health will lead to better understanding and decisions in family planning. Since making this observation, ADI’s patrol team in New Ireland have made a concerted effort to address this gap in knowledge in the youth population. Mary is now looking for other opportunities to increase the understanding of young people on sexual and reproductive health.
On outreach, ADI’s patrol team in New Ireland work with students at both primary and high school level to delivery public health education. Mary has observed that youths are more engaged, opened up more and asked questions when in groups split by gender, so they could ask questions without being embarrassed or ashamed. ADI is working with its clinical staff to produce educational material and visual aids to assist in the delivery of these sessions on sexual and reproductive health and family planning. In doing so, ADI is assisting many young people in rural New Ireland to make informed decisions regarding their health.
In-service training in Jadelle implant insertion
In March 2021, ADI conducted an in-depth training session to four rural health workers in family planning, and Jadelle implant insertion/removals. Training was delivered at Kimadan Health Centre, a large rural health facility serving over 10,000 people in the Namatanai District. This training was delivered by Nursing Officer, Athaliah Bagoi and co-facilitated by Kimadan HC’s Sister in Charge (SIC), Susan Salot. Having previously attended this training in March 2020 and completed the “training of trainers”workshop held by Family Planning NSW, Susan has been accredited as an ADI family planning trainer. Health workers spent two days on theoretical sessions focused on general revision of family planning contraception and counselling. Three days were then dedicated to supervised practical sessions in implants with both insertions and removals taking place at Kimadan Health Centre and Bol Health Centre. In total, 32 clients participated, of which 29 received implants.
Learning outcomes of this training included:
* Increasing knowledge on all forms of contraceptive options available in their province
* Identifying and knowing how to effectively dispel common myths and misinformation that may influence requests for inappropriate implant removal·
* Conducting effective client consultation and counselling, including post-partum insertion·
* Demonstrating safe and effective Jadelle implant insertion and removal, and managing difficult removals and correctly using aseptic technique.
All participants were supervised by trainers and assessed on their skills in Jadelle implant insertions and removals to determine their competency. Additionally, at the conclusion of training all participants stated that they felt "very confident" in Jadelle insertions, and 90% of participants reported the same for removals. All health workers also reported that after the training, they felt better equipped to counsel women on both the advantages and disadvantages of Jadelle implants.
Another round of this training is currently being planned for later this year to a fourth cohort of health workers in New Ireland and for the first time, in West New Britain. Currently, ADI is also working with PNG staff and health workers to improve training content to ensure it is more culturally relevant and aligns with the needs of rural health workers. This is the second in-service training in family planning ADI has facilitated that has been led entirely by PNG health workers. While COVID-19 has restricted travel from Australia, it has provided an opportunity to acknowledge the value and importance of localisation, and prioritising the PNG health workforce with skills to train their fellow colleagues. ADI has focused on building the competence of trainers to nurture and increase in-country training capability. Future family planning trainings will also be delivered by PNG staff, with Sydney staff closely monitoring and providing support and logistical assistance.
Provision of contraceptives and contribution to Couple Years Protection (CYP)
Couple years protection (CYP) refers to the estimated protection provided by contraceptive methods during a one-year period. In the 20/21 financial year, ADI’s outreach health patrols and in-service training contributed towards 1610 CYP.
ADI’s partnership with UNFPA PNG established in May 2020, has allowed for sufficient supply of family planning commodities during this financial year, that has contributed towards the CYP achieved. When possible, ADI has distributed supplies of implants to rural health facilities where there is a family planning-trained health worker. Due to COVID-19 however, consistent and regular supplies of commodities via UNFPA PNG has not been guaranteed for 2021 due to worldwide delays in shipments, as well as the reallocation of funds by the PNG National Department of Health (NDoH). ADI is closely following this situation, as well as exploring all options for continuity of supply.
Gender Equity Program
Gender Equity Officers continue to participate on all outreach patrols. In this financial year, we have expanded our Gender Equity program with dedicated officers delivering education in this area in all three provinces. Improving gender equity is integral to increasing access to appropriate contraception options for women. In addition to patrols in rural areas, ADI’s Gender Equity Officers have also been approached by schools and organisations in urban areas, to deliver awareness to students.
Over 50 hours of education on gender equity, including discussions on reproductive rights, adolescent pregnancy, PNG laws and referral pathways for survivors of gender-based violence and sexual violence have been delivered this financial year. In addition to gender equity education carried out on patrol, ADI has also concluded its Community MobilisationTraining (CMT) program in New Ireland. The CMT program was aimed towards community leaders and key decision makers to initiate and maintain community-wide change on gender issues, women’s involvement and gender equality during a three-day workshop.
Since the start of the CMT workshops in August 2019, ADI has delivered training to 11 different wards in the Namatanai District, training a total of 302 community leaders. Due to the relocation of the facilitator back to her home province in the Highlands, the CMT program in New Ireland is currently on hold. Meanwhile, ADI has been working with Gender Equity Officers in West New Britain and WesternProvince to also assess the information and support needs of community leaders so they can be part of positive improvements in gender equity and women's health.
Challenges faced in FY20/21 and upcoming activities for FY21/22
Since 2020, the impact of COVID-19 has affected all aspects of ADI’s activities in PNG. While we have been able to adapt certain activities to work within national and provincial restrictions and recommendations to continue the delivery of training and clinical services, we have experienced delays at the request of our in-country partners. In March 2021, as PNG saw a surge in positive COVID-19 cases, family planning training in West New Britain was postponed to assist with the province’s need to reallocate staff and resources.
ADI has also been notified that due to national funds being diverted towards PNG’s national COVID-19response, that supplies of family planning commodities have been delayed for 2021, and there is currently a nationwide shortage of contraceptives in rural areas. ADI continues to advocate for continuity of commodity supplies. As well as this, ADI has also observed that other related commodities such as local anaesthetic (lignocaine) and sterile equipment required for some family planning procedures, is also in short supply. ADI has been able to supplement patrol staff with these items (including the provision of a portable autoclave to sterilise equipment in rural areas which is necessary to offer contraceptive options such as implants and IUDs), however, rural health facilities continue to face difficulties in procuring these items through the national system.
ADI is regularly invited to PNG’s national sub-cluster meetings with other key stakeholders, to discuss family planning issues in the country and will continue to advocate for the inclusion of rural health workers and health facilities in national family planning strategies and plans.
In the coming year, ADI looks forward to continuing our work in family planning with your support. Plans for in-service training to rural health workers in New Ireland and West New Britain, are well underway for November 2021.
The emphasis on community education of family planning, gender equity and reproductive rights will continue in 2020/21 to address the various myths, misconceptions and poor practices in villages. By working with community members at various levels, we plan to inform both men and women of the importance of gender equality, family planning and ensuring women are given access to appropriate information and services regarding their sexual and reproductive health in an environment conducive to that decision making.
The inclusion of a family planning officer and gender equity officer will continue to be a priority on our outreach health patrols as they visit remote and rural communities in both New Ireland and West New Britain. For many isolated women, this is one of the few opportunities available for them to access family planning information and services.