Xaverine Mukabideli works with individual counselling at Bugaragara health center. Photo: Gloria Powell

Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)

What is sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)?

At The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation, we adhere to the Guttmacher-Lancet Commission’s definition of SRHR. This means that we define SRHR as a state of physical, emotional, mental, and social wellbeing in relation to all aspects of sexuality and reproduction, not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction, or infirmity. We also believe that achieving sexual and reproductive health rests on realising sexual and reproductive rights, such as the right to control one’s own body, define one’s sexuality, choose one’s partner, and receive confidential, respectful, and high-quality services.

In practice this means that we support initiatives that contributes to:

  • The right to reproductive health, including maternal health, and gynaecological health.
  • The right to safe and legal abortions.
  • The right to enjoy consensual, safe sex free from force or violence.
  • The right to modern contraceptives and comprehensive sexual education.
  • The right to decide over one’s own body and sexuality, regardless of sexual preferences, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC), without fear of discrimination, persecution, or violence.

Why is SRHR important?

When young women lack access to comprehensive sexual education, modern contraceptives, and safe abortions they are not able to decide freely if or when and with what spacing they want to have children. In many places in the world girls and young women are locked into poverty for the rest of their lives when they are for example forced to drop out of school due to unwanted pregnancies or child/early/forced marriages and/or unions. This is one example as to why access to SRHR is essential for women’s economic independence, self-determination, and ability to part-take and contribute in all parts of society.

In conflict-affected areas sexual violence against women and girls often intensifies. This could include both conflict related sexual and gender-based violence committed by soldiers and militias, but also other forms of SGBV, such as an increase in child marriages and different forms of sexual exploitation. At the same time health care, including reproductive health care/maternity care, contraceptives and family planning becomes more difficult to reach. Lack of SRHR is therefore seen as one of the biggest threats against women and girls in conflict-affected areas and displacement.

Read more about Empower Rwanda's work »
Janneti, participant in Empower Rwanda's programme for teen mothers, and her daughter. Photo: Gloria Powell

They fight the stigma

Teenage girls who get pregnant without being married are subjected to a lot of shame and stigma in Rwanda. They have to drop out of school to give birth and lose their social network. Some are even thrown out of their parents’ house and left without any support. Our partner organisation Empower Rwanda works to change this.

“The best part about joining the programme was learning that I was not alone and that there were other girls in my situation,” says Janneti.


Read more about Empower Rwanda's work »

How The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation works with SRHR

Kvinna till Kvinna supports partners who work with SRHR in many ways. The work varies depending on the social and legal context as well as the needs identified by partner organisations. In some countries our partners work with women who have experienced conflict related sexual and gender-based violence and work closely with multiple actors such as police and health care services to ensure that they get correct support and treatment. In some countries our partners work with youth to provide comprehensive sexual education to both girls and boys, to provide contraceptives, and support for teenage mothers who have been forced to drop out of school due to unwanted pregnancies. In some countries our partners work to prevent the practices of female genital mutilation (FGM). In some countries our partners are lobbying for women’s right to safe abortions, or for LGBTQI rights.


Kvinna till Kvinna supports our partners to do advocacy work in their respective countries, to improve legislations, the implementation of agreements and the access to SRHR. We also support partners in their regional and international advocacy work, towards the African Union, the European Union or the UN for example. In addition to this, we aim to amplify the voices of local women’s rights activities by doing our own advocacy work towards international decision-makers and donors.



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