Hon. Nyamita Represents FPA in Commission on the Status of Women, New York

NEW YORK, 11-15 March – The sixty-third session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 11 to 22 March 2019.

Hon. Mark Nyamita, MP (Kenya) joined several European MPs from Ireland, Belgium and Spain in a joint FPA-EPF delegation. The parliamentary delegation paid a courtesy call at the UNFPA headquarters where they discussed the upcoming ICPD (International Conference on Population and Development) to be held in Nairobi in November.

They also explored this year’s priority themes of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

International Women’s Day 2019 Strives For Universal Gender Balance

GLOBAL, 8 March – This day marked International Women’s Day, and was celebrated around the world as a day to commemorate the year’s achievements of women and the progress of women’s rights movements, while acknowledging that there still remain many i forms of discrimination and gender-based violence accross the globe that needs urgent attention. This year’s theme was Balance, with the International Women’s Day campaigners stating:

“The 2019 #BalanceforBetter campaign runs all year long. It doesn’t end on International Women’s Day. The campaign theme provides a unified direction to guide and galvanize continuous collective action, with #BalanceforBetter activity reinforced and amplified all year.

Collective action and shared responsibility for driving a gender-balanced world is key. International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women – while also marking a call to action for accelerating gender balance.”

Africa Health Agenda International Conference 2019 Hits Rwandan Capital

KIGALI, 5-7 March – The Africa Health Agenda International Conference (AHAIC) addressing Africa’s health priorities, took place in the Rwandan capital.

AHAIC 2019 gathered 11 African MPs from Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania and Zambia, as well as stakeholders from across sectors and around the world to take forward critical conversations  to explore what it will take for Africa to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2030.

Hon. Juliette Zingan, MP (Senegal) commented: “As MPs, it’s our role to remind our governments of the treaties and conventions they signed to hold them accountable. Data is a crucial advocacy tool for capacity-building among MPs.”

ICPD Summit Announced to take place in Nairobi in November 2019 

NAIROBI, 25 January — The Government of the Republic of Kenya and UNFPA announced plans for a high-level conference to advance the implementation of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action. The Nairobi Summit on ICPD25: Accelerating the promise will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 13-15 November 2019.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the ground-breaking ICPD of Cairo 1994. During this conference, leaders articulated a bold vision regarding the relationships between population, development and individual well-being. Its Programme of Action, adopted by 179 countries, recognised that reproductive health, women’s empowerment and gender equality are the pathway to sustainable development.

‘As we celebrate the remarkable progress we have made in advancing the health and rights of women, we must redouble our efforts to reach those who have not yet benefited from the promise of the ICPD,’ said Dr. Natalia Kanem, UNFPA Executive Director. ‘The Nairobi Summit will help us rally a broad coalition of stakeholders to protect the gains made and advance the ICPD agenda to ensure that no one is left behind.’

UNFPA Appeals for $536 Million in Humanitarian Funding in 2019

NEW YORK, 24 January – UNFPA officially launched the 2019 Humanitarian Action Overview. In an appeal for increased funding for their global SRHR initiatives in 2019, they stated:

Today’s humanitarian crises continue to take a disproportionate toll on women and girls. An estimated 132 million people require humanitarian assistance globally in 2019. To meet the sexual and reproductive health and protection needs of approximately 35 million women, girls and young people, UNFPA is appealing for US$536 million in humanitarian funding in 2019.

In 2018, UNFPA reached millions of people with integrated and life-saving sexual and reproductive health services, supplies and information as well as protection from gender-based violence, in over 55 countries. With this increased funding, the UN agency would be able to reach even more women and girls around the world who are in urgent need of such assistance.

Hon. Mardo Djabir in Violence against Women: 16 days of activism campaign

1 December 2018 – N’djamena, Chad – In the framework of the 16 days of activism campaign to fight violence against women, FPA Executive Committee Member, Hon. Issa Mardo Djabir, MP, (Chad) and Chair of the Chadian parliamentarians’ network on population and development, participated in a video spot which was widely promoted on national television during the course of the campaign.

You can watch the video here

From 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world. The international campaign originated from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991.

Rwanda Hosts International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) 

Rwanda Hosts International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) KIGALI, 12-15 November 2018 – A delegation of African MPs represented FPA at this year’s International Conference on Family Planning.  EPF and FPA co-hosted two forum meetings which included speakers from UNFPA, WHO, Women Deliver, FP2020, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and IPPF.Here, MPs benefitted from an open discussion with these key SRHR donors and advocacy groups to learn how to better collaborate for the common goal of ensuring family planning accessibility for all.Hon Hadjira Ummouri commented, “Access to safe and voluntary family planning is a fundamental right. The involvement of men contributes to success. “

Hon. Paul Abuor, MP (Kenya) stated: ‘As legislators, when we go back to our countries, we can now implement programmes and policies in line with the programmes which the donors want to assist within family planning. We will give them all the support in pushing legislation that will make family planning affordable and reach as many people as possible.’

Hon. Gallican Niyongana, MP (Rwanda) revered the conference as ‘A big push toward universal family planning coverage.’ She continued: ‘The ICFP 2018 helped Rwandans and local stakeholders to understand family planning more deeply.  Even though we recognize tremendous progress, some people hesitate to opt-in in family planning due to cultural and religious mindset.  Therefore, the conference came as a help in family planning advocacy. It was a great opportunity for Rwandans, especially young people, and parents to be aware of family planning as a right, through strong testimonies from peers and eminent personalities from around the worldwide.’

The conference sessions were complemented by various site visits, namely to the Rwamagana District Hospital where MPs learnt more about the healthcare system in Rwanda, to the Nyamirambo Women’s Center to learn about success stories in terms of women’s empowerment and social development initiatives.

During the forum meetings, the MPs collectively produced a statement on their commitments regarding family planning access in their respective countries, which EPF and FPA Vice-Presidents Hon. Paul Chibingu, MP (Malawi) and Hon. Petra Bayr, MP (Austria), presented at the official closing ceremony of the conference as an official promise on behalf of their regions to prioritise family planning. 

Hon. Kuganab-Lem Fights to Make PHC Free

ASTANA, 26 October – In an interview at the Global Conference on Primary Health held in Astana, Kazakhstan, Ghana’s deputy ranking member on the health committee, Hon. Dr Robert Kuganab-Lem has called on the government to make primary health care services free in order to reduce congestion in tertiary health facilities.

Hon. Dr. Kuganab-Lem said the tool had come at a ‘critical time’ to assist parliamentarians to  understand what is going on at all levels of the health sector, adding:
‘This will help us to know where to intervene as advocates of quality health care for all the citizens.’ 

FPA focal point, Ms Caroline Kwamboka, stressed the importance of including parliamentarians because they are best placed as the representatives of the people to push governments to provide their needs. She emphasised the opportunity offered by the voice parliamentarians lend to government systems on importants subjects.

MPs Participate in Primary Health Care Conference in Astana

MPs Participate in Primary Health Care Conference in Astana ASTANA, 25 October – To mark the 40th anniversary of the Alma-Ata Declaration, Member States reaffirmed their commitment at an International Conference, also taking place at the Kazakh capital, for a New Astana 2018 Declaration on Primary Health Care. Commitments included justice and solidarity, the importance of health for peace, security and socio-economic development. Several African MPs participated, some of which – Hon. Robert Kuganab-Lem, MP, (Ghana,) Hon. Susan Anselm Jerome Lyimo, MP, (Tanzania,) Hon. Sebastian Kapufi, MP (Tanzania,) and Davie Symon Kadzinja, MP (Malawi) led a panel discussion, moderated by Brian Atuhaire from PATH Uganda, on the role of Parliamentarians in delivering on Primary Health Care (PHC) and Universal Health
Coverage (UHC).

FPA President Publishes Article on Reproductive Health and Education in Africa

YAOUNDE, 24 October – FPA President Marie-Rose Nguini Effa wrote an article with Inter Press Service (IPS) entitled ‘Africa Must Increase Spending on Health Care, Education & Modern Contraception.’

Just one week before the Ottawa IPCI conference, the article delved into the various obstacles to SRHR bith in the MPs native Cameroon, as well as more generally in the African region as a whole.

The President concluded that ‘Our role as parliamentarians is very important. The voice we have gives us an unmatched responsibility to spread awareness on these vital issues within our political parties, our parliamentary groups and as well as our constituencies and regions.’

Read the full article here