Deciding if and when to have a child and accessing evidence-based sexual and reproductive healthcare and information are human rights and essential for achieving gender equality and sustainable development.
Sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender equality are fundamental for health, education, economic and environmental gains. For example, being able to decide if and when to have a child, impacts a person’s ability to engage in educational and economic opportunities. The conditions for sexual and reproductive health services, information and education to be accessible to all people are not the same in every country or region, including in our Pacific region.
Currently in the Pacific region, barriers such as limited training for health professionals, medical supply shortages, and infrastructure challenges make it difficult for people to access sexual and reproductive health services like contraception and quality relationships and sexuality education, especially in low-income countries. Many people experience poorer health outcomes and wellbeing due to unmet family planning needs and sexually transmitted infections including HIV. Rates of gender-based violence and maternal and infant mortality also remain high.
Our approach to working internationally is to support development through effective, respectful partnerships so that development is sustainable and driven by local communities. Sexual Wellbeing Aotearoa has three core areas of international work – capacity building, research, and advocacy. In our international development work, Sexual Wellbeing Aotearoa is guided by our partners’ knowledge and expertise about the needs of their own communities and supports local health agendas and priorities. Sexual Wellbeing Aotearoa provides funding, support, and training to our Pacific partners to expand clinical services, education, and research. Our work is evidence-based and informed by international best practice.
As an organisation, Sexual Wellbeing Aotearoa is committed to putting into practice Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and this guides our work in other countries. Reflecting on colonisation in the context of the history of Aotearoa and the global development sector, we acknowledge past harm and prioritise protecting and promoting human rights and self-determination in the way that we work. Reflecting Te Tiriti, we work to build respectful and collaborative partnerships with colleagues and organisations in the Pacific to promote equity in sexual and reproductive health and rights.