In Latin America and the Caribbean, Family Care International (FCI) works with government and civil society groups to help implement progressive policies and programs to improve women’s sexual and reproductive health. We also translate and adapt global declarations and research findings for local contexts and use them to promote action on women’s health at the community level.
In our regional efforts, FCI works to protect and promote the rights of vulnerable groups, including rural and indigenous women and adolescents. We aim to strengthen the capacity of organizations working with these vulnerable groups to develop a strong knowledge base in sexual and reproductive health, to plan and monitor their outreach activities, and to advocate for change.
Mobilizing Commitment to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
FCI is active in regional efforts to protect and promote women’s right to comprehensive and high quality sexual and reproductive services and information. We are recognized for our user-friendly advocacy tools and training resources. FCI’s advocacy materials, including a series of Briefing Cards and a Presentation Package, have been produced in Spanish, and tailored to the needs and priorities of Latin American users. FCI and its partners are training women’s health advocates to use these materials locally in advocacy and outreach efforts.
In the Andean Region, FCI is working with local partners to help ensure that women and their families have access to high quality and culturally-sensitive reproductive health services:
In Ecuador, FCI is supporting the creation of “users’ committees” that work with community members and local officials to track and monitor the quality of local maternal care services.
In Bolivia, FCI is working with the Confederation of Indigenous Peoples of Bolivia (CIDOB) to increase women’s access to quality health services, monitoring how the Maternal Health Insurance is being used by women in isolated rural areas.
As part of these broader efforts, FCI and the non-governmental organization IBIS Bolivia have launched an initiative with the Confederation of Indigenous Peoples of Pando to increase awareness and action on HIV/AIDS prevention in rural areas of high migration.
In Bolivia and the Dominican Republic, FCI is working with national partners to strengthen the role of the mid-level health care provider to increase women’s access to skilled attendance at birth.
FCI is a founding member of the Latin American Consortium for Emergency Contraception, a regional network that works to reduce maternal mortality and unsafe abortion by increasing women’s access to emergency contraception.
Meeting the Needs of Adolescents
Young people—especially those in the poorest and most marginalized communities—are at high risk for HIV/AIDS infection and unwanted pregnancy. Yet they have little access to reproductive health services and few culturally appropriate educational materials. With support from the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), FCI is working to help youth serving organizations in Bolivia, Panama and the Dominican Republic respond to the needs of rural and indigenous youth to access information and services. We have developed a series of participatory learning tools in Spanish including a needs assessment guide and tools to assist the development of local advocacy plans to improve adolescent health and rights. These tools will soon be available to download from this website.
Increasing Awareness and Commitment to Preventing Gender-Based Violence
Domestic violence is a significant problem throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. FCI is addressing this issue by:
- Contributing to the development and implementation of policies to criminalize gender-based violence (Dominican Republic).
- Training health care providers’ to detect cases of domestic abuse and refer them appropriately (Mexico).
- Leading workshops with youth on the roots and effects of gender-based violence in order to foster awareness of this problem from an early age (Dominican Republic, Bolivia, and Panama).
- Working with local partners to raise awareness about and develop strategies to address violence against women in indigenous communities (Bolivia and Ecuador).
Photo credits: Joey O'Loughlin