Women and young people with disabilities in Fiji are forging a new path—one that gives them information, access, and inclusion in advancing their sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Women Enabled International worked with the Fijian government and other stakeholders to launch the Community-Based Sexual and Reproductive Health Officers Programme in 2022. Importantly, this programme has been developed and co-led by women with disabilities themselves.
The programme stemmed from research by Women Enabled International, as one of its Generation Equality commitments to the Action Coalition on Bodily Autonomy and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.
“From the very beginning, the Ministry of Health was really supportive of this initiative”, said Sofía Minieri, legal adviser at Women Enabled International. “They know the best way to increase access to [sexual and reproductive health and rights] services among persons with disabilities is by working with them directly, as they are experts on their needs. This collaborative work also offers an opportunity for mutual learning.”
The programme has already made waves in Fiji. Anaseini Vakaidia, coordinator of the sexual and reproductive health programme at the Fiji Disabled People’s Federation agrees, saying, “In addition to effectively expanding the demand for [sexual and reproductive health] services, the programme has supported the leadership of women with disabilities and their representative organizations.”
“It has fostered a strong partnership between us, service providers, and state authorities”, she added.
For more, visit https://www.unwomen.org/en/news-stories/feature-story/2023/09/women-lead-sexual-health-and-disability-rights-seminars-in-new-fiji-programme