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GESI Workshop Examines Family Planning Challenges Ahead of World Contraception Day

World Contraception Day (September 26) aims to improve awareness of contraception and to enable people, including young people, to make informed choices on their sexual and reproductive health. Since its launch in 2007, this global celebration has been supported by non-governmental organizations, governmental organizations, medical societies, and others with an interest in sexual and reproductive health who lead campaigns, post on social media, and host events to raise awareness on key related health issues. In honor of this year’s World Contraception Day, Banyan Global highlights recent efforts to reduce health inequities and advance health commodity access and options in Madagascar. 

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Improving Market Partnerships and Access to Commodities Together (IMPACT) program aims to improve the capacity of the Malagasy health system to ensure that quality pharmaceuticals and health commodities are available and accessible to all Malagasy people on a sustainable basis. IMPACT helped develop and lead a gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) training workshop on August 26 and 27 in collaboration with key project partners including the National Council of Women in Madagascar (Conseil National des Femmes de Madagascar or CNFM) and Women Entrepreneurs of the Indian Ocean (Entreprendre au Féminin Océan Indien or EFOI). Thirty-five women leaders and entrepreneurs representing 23 associations with more than 2,000 members across five regions of Madagascar, participated in the workshop.

The two-day program included components to strengthen both technical and operational aspects of the organizations. Specific sessions focused on sexual and reproductive health and family planning, partnership, access to health products, access to finance, foundational GESI concepts, leadership and communication, and strategy planning and advocacy. Practical exercises also allowed participants to work through real-life scenarios to respond to challenges and plan for activities related to family planning, the sale of illicit drugs, and gender-based violence.

A deep dive session on the Madagascar Family Planning and Reproductive Health Law of 2017 allowed participants to increase their awareness of the rights of women and girls of reproductive age to access and utilize all methods of contraception, both traditional and modern. In doing so, the participants committed to sharing this knowledge with women, girls, men, and boys, in their associations and their communities. This knowledge-sharing could have a multiplier effect, contributing to behavior change and improved health status across Madagascar to address cultural barriers and rumors surrounding family planning and reproductive health.   

For additional information and coverage of the workshop please refer to an article and video featured in DéLire Madagascar newspaper.