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ANHRE conference highlights need for coordination in securing sexual and reproductive health rights

By Maria Weldali - May 28,2023 - Last updated at May 30,2023

ANHRE Executive Director Fotouh Younes speaks during a conference on Sunday (Photo courtesy of ANHRE)

AMMAN — The Arab Network for Civic Education (ANHRE), organised a conference on Sunday titled “We Lead towards the Realisation of SRHRs and Resilience”, promoting dialogue around the issues of sexual and reproductive health.

During the two-day conference, the need for “improved coordination between the government and various stakeholders to strengthen the expansion and progress of sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) initiatives” was laid bare, bringing together local and national civil society organisations, governmental entities and other relevant stakeholders.

The conference comes as part of ANHRE’s five-year-long “We Lead” programme designed to improve the SRHR of young women, considering gender equality and social inclusion, according to organisers.

This Linking and Learning Conference was organised as part of the We Lead Project, an innovative five-year programme launched in 2021 by Hivos and five other consortium members: Positive Vibes, Restless Development, FCAM, FEMNET, and Marsa. This programme is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and strives to empower, strengthen and amplify the voices and position of young women whose sexual and reproductive health and rights are neglected the most.

In recent years, the Kingdom has implemented key laws and regulations prioritising the well-being and empowerment of women and girls, with the adoption of the Family Protection Law regarded as a starting point for a supportive legislative framework for SRHRs.

The implementation of the National Strategy for Women in Jordan 2020-2025, as well as the endorsement of the National Strategy for Reproductive and Sexual Health 2020 — 2030, have further demonstrated the government’s keenness to address SRHR issues.

“This event is an opportunity to consolidate the efforts of civil society representatives aimed to ensure women fully enjoy their sexual and reproductive rights,” said ANHRE Executive Director Fotouh Younes in her opening remarks.

Engaging 12 different NGOs and CBOs, day one of the conference featured three sessions which mainly focused on SRHR needs, access to sexual and reproductive health services, the significance of promoting gender equality and social inclusion, and the need for identifying solutions and advocating for strategies that build national resilience in sexual and reproductive health.

Explaining the meaning of SRHR during the introductory session, Ghada Alsaad, who heads the planning and studies department at the National Woman’s Health Care Centre, said that “sexual and reproductive health refers to having physical, emotional, mental and social wellbeing in relation to the highest possible level of sexual and reproductive health.”

To live healthier and more productive lives, there is a need to build broad-based support that ensures people’s full access to integrated sexual and reproductive health services, Alsaad said. 

She noted that SRHR does not only address the needs of married women, but tackles all phases of one’s life.

According to Director of the Information and Research Centre of the King Hussein Foundation (IRCKHF), Ayman Halaseh, sexual health discussions continue to be a sensitive topic in Jordan. 

Halaseh indicated that among the challenges facing the accessibility of sexual and reproductive services is the lack of a husband’s consent for his wife to receive such services.

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