Japan grants USD1.4Mn to UNFPA to improve access to sexual & reproductive health

Mar 07, 2019 (LBO) – The Government of Japan and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Sri Lanka signed an agreement, granting US 1.4 million dollars for improving access to information and services on sexual and reproductive health for women and girls in Sri Lanka.

The three year programme includes access to services for survivors of gender-based violence, which is crucial for women and girls to fully realize and exercise their sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The project will aim to address communal violence associated with myths and prejudices around sexual and reproductive health by sensitizing the public on family planning being a choice and a human right, and strengthening capacities of youth friendly centers to improve young people’s access to information, education and health services.

The project will further strive to increase accessibility and empower women and girls facing sexual and gender-based violence to seek support without fear of stigma or discrimination.

“The government of Japan has decided to contribute 163 million Japanese Yen (approximately US$ 1.47 million) to UNFPA, accelerating positive change on gender equality, empowerment of women and girls and respect for their human rights to achieve and sustain peace,’ HE Akira Sugiyama, the Japanese Ambassador to Sri Lanka said.

‘Under G7 Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Partnerships Initiative, Japan supports the effort of Sri Lanka, partner country of this initiative in this field. ”

The programme will support the Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs and Dry Zone Development.

Research shows that 50% of youth in Sri Lanka have limited knowledge about their sexual and reproductive health, and 35% of married women are not using any form of contraception.

Family planning is a contentious issue in Sri Lanka and due to social stigma around the topic, young people have limited access to information and services to make informed decisions about their bodies and lives.

As a result, incidents of communal violence in parts of Sri Lanka have stemmed from myths and misconceptions relating to sexual and reproductive health.