To strengthen women’s rights, the Centre for the Advancement and Protection of the Rights of Vulnerable People (CAPRIGHTS), has advised women to empower themselves with adequate knowledge to make informed decisions on how many children they want to have, how to spread out and plan pregnancies and how to protect their health.
Executive Director, CAPRIGHTS, Clara Kanu, made the call in Ikotun, Lagos, during a launch of family planning guide and empowerment programme, under its Voice programme with Oxfam, a grants facility of the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The project is committed to ensuring financial independence for the women and exposing them to reproductive health facilities that will help them make informed decisions in every area of their lives, especially in their financial, sexual and reproductive lives.
The key objectives of the project include: to empower the community women with adequate knowledge to make informed decisions on how many children they want and when to do so.
They achieve this through a capacity building on reproductive health rights, exposure to resources available at primary health centres, providing Informative Education and Communication (IEC) materials on reproductive health rights and others
Kanu said: “We were committed and deliberate about facilitating the empowerment processes that helped our women ensure they regained their confidence and self-esteem.
“One of the products of the project is the development of a sexual reproductive manual to guide women make informed decisions around their sexual rights. This manual has been through several scrutiny by various stakeholders and was finally validated.
“We appreciate the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Netherlands. They are providing this support through Oxfam under the Voice Programme. If not for their support and their wonderful ways of supporting small organisations like us, we will not be here.” On the guide, Kanu said she decided to publish it to meet the generality of people, who cannot be met physically.
“As a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), we have an unlimited budget to accommodate a lot of people, so publishing the guide will at least get a larger audience.
“It’s nice because family planning is what everybody needs.
“We are hoping it could reach out to many people. It’s just a guideline for family planning. We hope it enables families to plan a better future for their families and we also hope it has a wonderful impact, especially in this community.
“The essence of our training and bringing together different stakeholders is because during our training, it was mostly practical examples, we brought it down to as much as anybody could understand, and we didn’t stop with only family planning, there was also a training on Billings method during the capacity building. So, we made sure we covered everyone irrespective of their educational and religious background.”
Other speakers, which include police officers, educationists and stakeholders lamented the high incidence of gender violence and assault on women and children. They called on women to monitor their wards against perpetrators of sexual violence.