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.

Our partner organisations 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.
  • 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.
  • to prevent the practices of female genital mutilation (FGM).
  • 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.



The power of young voices in Rwanda

Thanks to Paper Crown Rwanda, the students at G.S Gihogwe meet every Wednesday to learn about their sexual and reproductive rights and gender-based violence—an initiative meant to create lasting social change in Rwanda.

20 December 2023

Educating peers on sexual and reproductive health and rights in Rwanda

Through participating in youth dialogue sessions, Bocso wanted to improve his knowledge of sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender equality. Now, he organises weekly activities for his community—passing on his learnings to peers and encouraging open conversations.

24 October 2023

Sharing ideas about a better future: the impact of youth dialogue in Rwanda

Fostering dialogue and providing education on sexual and reproductive health and rights—that is what Haguruka, one of The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation’s partner organisations in Rwanda, set out to achieve by organising dialogue sessions for young adults. Participants Nadine and Ruth share their experience with the programme.

28 September 2023

A holistic approach to addressing teenage pregnancies in Rwanda

From going door-to-door and speaking to teen mothers in her community, to becoming one of The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation’s partner organisations: for six years, Marie Ange Raïssa Uwamungu has worked relentlessly to improve the lives of women and girls in Rwanda.

26 May 2023

Rebuilding lives in Kherson: “We want to create safe spaces”

Oksana Onilova and her colleagues were forced to evacuate when Russian forces attacked and occupied their city Kherson. By switching to working remotely, they were still able to support the women and LGBTQI community who stayed behind.

12 May 2023

Documenting sexual violence in Ukraine

Women’s rights organisation Slavic Heart has worked tirelessly to keep reaching women in need in eastern Ukraine. They are receiving reports of sexual violence as a weapon, but believes that it is only the tip of an iceberg.

9 February 2023

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