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Monitoring country activities.


* Over 70 women parliamentarians attended the Asian Women Ministers and Parliamentarians Conference in Manila, Philippines on October 2-3, 2003. Organised by the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development's (AFPPD) Standing Committee on Women, the Philippines Legislators' Committee on Population and Development and in cooperation with UNFPA and the Government of Japan, the overall aim of the conference was to strengthen the role of women parliamentarians and ministers in order to address deep rooted and pervasive population and development issues, particularly violence against women and the reproductive health status of women. The conference was divided into four segments: overview of issues; progress made towards the elimination of violence against women; culture and religion--advances in science and how they affect population; and reproductive health and family planning issues--lessons learned. The conference ended with the signing of the Manila Declaration on Women Empowerment, Population and Development.

Contact: Shiv Khare, AFPPD Executive Director and Editor (newsletter), Phyathai Plaza, Suite 9-C, Ratchathewi Road, Phyathai, Bangkok, 10400, Thailand. Tel: 662 219 2903/4 Fax: 662 219 2905 Website:


* A group of seven NGOs in Saurashtra Kachchh region of Gujerat, India, launched a campaign to combat the issue of violence against women on November 25, 2003. The campaign reached over 200 villages in five districts in Gujerat in which over half of the 40,000 who participated during the 30 day campaign were men. The campaign involved village level meetings where men were engaged on the issue of violence against women. Apart from poster exhibition, rally and theatrical performances depicting violence against women, a signature campaign where men and women signed a pledge to stop violence against women was undertaken. Some 4000 men signed the pledge. The participating NGOs were the Society For Women's Action And Training Initiative (SWATI), Utthan Amreli, Utthan-bhavnaga, Shikshan Ane Samaj, Kalyan Kendra, Mahila Samakhya Society, Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan, Navjyot Mahila Vikas Sangathan and Anandi

Contact: SWATI. B-2 Sunshine Apartments, Ahmedabad 380 015, India. Email:


* Malaysia has joined the worldwide White Ribbon Campaign (WRC) movement which is currently being celebrated in over 30 countries worldwide every year. Man's Action Network Against Violence (MAN.V) in partnership with The All Women's Action Society (AWAM), launched the WRC on December 7, 2003 in Kuala Lumpur. The WRC represents an initiative by men to address violence against women, through acknowledging that men must be part of the solution. The primary objectives of the campaign are: to get men to put an end to men's violence against women; to break the silence of men as they should now collectively speak out against violence; and to challenge and encourage other men and boys to do likewise. At the launching, supported by local celebrities, media, sponsors and NGOs, over 700 signature pledges were made by men. White ribbons symbolising a personal pledge not to commit violence, not to condone acts of violence and a commitment to gender equality were also distributed.

Contact: AWAM, 85 Jalan 21/1, Sea Park, Petaling Jaya, 46300 Selangor Darul Ehsan. Tel: 03- 7877 4221 Fax: 03- 7874 3312 Email: Website:


* The controversial Reproductive Health Care Act which made it to the Health House Committee in the Philippines in October 2003 has unfortunately been derailed. On January 13, 2004, the Committee on Appropriations deferred discussions on the bill after the Committee chairman cited technicalities had been breached, frustrating women and grassroots groups who have been advocating for the bill for two years. Linangan ng kababaihan (Likhaan) headed the mobilisation for the Reproductive Health Advocacy Network (RHAN), a national coalition of over 21 NGOs engaged in policy advocacy. Some 1000 folks rallied at the gates of the Batasan Complex to attest their strong support for the bill's passage in October. The Reproductive Health Care Bill aimed to institutionalise the Department of Health's Reproductive Health Programme established in 1998. The bill explicitly maintained the legal status quo on abortion, and clearly stated that abortion is not a family planning method. In fact, the bill seeked to prevent the recourse to abortion through family planning and gender equality measures. In line with medical, religious and humanist ethics, the bill elaborated on the humane and non-judgemental treatment of women suffering from complications of induced abortion. Although the first Reproductive Health order was issued in 1998, many local government units remained ignorant to the importance of reproductive health (RH), with some even banning certain RH services, such as family planning. A law would have ensured the Reproductive Health order be implemented according to universal standards in all government units--local and national- regardless of changes in the administration. It would also guarantee funding for RH, which now comes under the budget of primary healthcare.

Contact: Likhaan, 92 Times St., West Triangle Homes Quezon City 1104 Philippines. Tel: 63-2-9266230 Fax: 63-2-4113151


* Over 250 delegates from 16 states assembled in Mumbai, India, for a national workshop on September 5, 2003, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the "Health for All" declaration. The workshop organised by the People's Health Movement (PHM, India), Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, covered aspects on health in the area of women's right to healthcare, rights to essential drugs, healthcare rights of unorganised workers and urban poor, health rights of HIV/AIDS affected persons and health rights in situations of conflict. Based on shared cases where healthcare had been denied, a dialogue then took place to discuss the content of the Right to Healthcare document and a campaign strategy to make the right to healthcare a fundamental constitutional right and operational reality.

Contact: PHM Secretariat, CHC Bangalore, # 367, "Srinivasa Nilaya", 1 Block, Jakkasndra 1 main 1 Block Koramangla, Bangalore--560034, India. Tel: 91 80 5128 0009 Fax: 91 80 552 5372 Email: secretariat@phmovement. org Website:


* The Malaysian NGO Coordinating Committee for Reproductive Health (MNCCRH) organised a seminar entitled Men as Partners in Sexual and Reproductive Health on September 23-24, 2003. This Seminar provided the first ever review of the status of the programme for men's responsibility and participation in sexual and reproductive health in Malaysia. Over two thirds of the 90 participants, consisting of representatives from NGOs, members of medical associations, government agencies, academic institutions and international agencies (UNFPA and IPPF) who attended the seminar, were men. The objectives of the seminar were: to provide a better understanding on men's responsibility and participation in relation to sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and men; to share and exchange experiences in innovative initiatives related to men's responsibility and participation; to identify and examine the critical issues and needs related to men's responsibility and participation in sexual and reproductive health; and to develop a framework for an advocacy plan on men's responsibility and participation in sexual and reproductive health of women and men. A framework for an advocacy plan that covered gaps in policy, services and research on men's responsibility and participation in sexual and reproductive health of men and women was drafted and given to Dato' Seri Suleiman Mohammed, Deputy Minister of Health.

Contact: FFPAM, 81B, Jalan SS15/5A, 47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia. Tel: (603) 5633 7514/5633 Fax:603 5634 Email:


* Some 1,400 activists, academicians, researchers, government agencies, UN agencies and donors gathered for the 2nd Asia-Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health held on October 6-10, 2003 in Bangkok. The conference theme entitled Moving Into Action: Realising Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights in the Asia Pacific Region aimed to create a favourable environment for the realisation of reproductive and sexual health and rights by highlighting best practices, sharing regional perspectives with some emphasis on skills building. Five parallel sessions with the following themes were presented: Gender Approach to Reproductive and Sexual Health: From Rhetoric to Action; Sexual and Reproductive Rights ; Sexuality : Meanings, Values, and Behaviors; The Changing Context of Sexual and Reproductive Health; and Comprehensive Sexual and Reproductive Health Services/ Programmes. Outputs included a call of action appealing for the urgent commitment to improve reproductive and sexual health and rights of women in the region.

Contact: Conference Coordinator, Romeo Arca Jr. MA, Center for Health Policy Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Mahidol University. Website:


* The Rajastan Safe Motherhood Alliance (SUMA), the state chapter of the White Ribbon Alliance for the Safe Motherhood India (WRAI) kicked of its 2003 activity calendar with two meetings held in February and March to identify roles and selection criteria of members, secretariat and core group members. Other activities slated last year included meetings with media, development of a concept note, capacity building training to implement selected best practices and holding issue based consultations. The objectives of the campaign are to create awareness among women, men and adolescents on their specific role in making motherhood safe and to mobilise the community to adopt adequate measures for safe motherhood. Campaign partners include 11 NGOs and NGO networks, state chapters of international agencies, the State Resource Centre, the State Chapter of Women's Commission and the Government Health Department, research organisations and print media. SUMA's goal is to contribute in the reduction in maternal morbidity, mortality and neonatal mortality in the state of Rajastan. Its objectives include: to advocate for policy and programmatic changes for the attainment of safe motherhood; create awareness on the concerns and strategic actions for safe motherhood; facilitate capacity building of NGOs and individuals on safe motherhood; and provide a platform for continued dialogue among partners/stakeholders on safe motherhood.

Contact: Secretariat, Chetna, Lilavatiben Lalbhai's Bungalow, Civil Camp Road, Shahibaug Ahmedabad--380004, Gujarat, India. Tel: 91- 79-2866695 Fax: 91-79 2866513 Email: Website:
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Publication:Arrows For Change
Date:Sep 1, 2003
Previous Article:IRRRAG investigates men.
Next Article:Raju, Saraswati; Leonard, Ann. 2000. Men as Supportive Partners in Reproductive Health: Moving from rhetoric to reality.

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