Newsletter: SAAF partners continue to provide essential support

As the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue around the world, we are witnessing the amazing resilience of SAAF grantee partners, determined not to leave anyone behind when it comes to reproductive care.

The World Health Organisation has confirmed that abortion is essential health care and called for the removal of barriers to safe abortion access during the pandemic, including the implementation of telemedicine where possible.

Our partners are continuing to provide much needed information and care to people most in need, adapting their work to ensure services are safe and limit virus transmission. The photo above shows a health counselling session taking place at a mobile clinic delivered by Sustainable Development Organisation For Women in Afghanistan, who SAAF started funding this year. 

How we are adapting our work during the pandemic

Two girls outdoors listen to a trainer
A socially distanced education session led by NFFCK in Kyrgyzstan

As a funder, we have remained flexible during the pandemic, understanding that many organisations are facing obstacles due to restrictions on travel and gatherings. Our offer to cover PPE costs and other COVID related expenses has led to additional financial support for 20 grantee partners so far.

A survey of our grantee partners has shown that this flexibility was appreciated, with 93% of organisations reporting that they felt supported by SAAF during this time. One respondent said:
“At that moment we felt supported, we felt that SAAF cared for us, we did not feel alone. It inspired us to knock on other doors, besides the support it gave us in biosecurity materials, other donors joined to bring other support to our communities.”

Check out SAAF’s 2019 Annual Report

We recently shared our 2019 Annual Report which can now be viewed on the SAAF website. If you haven’t already, have a look at the amazing achievements of SAAF grantee partners last year. Thanks to all those who provided information and photos!

Communicating about abortion

Front cover of publication showing illustration of young woman taking a pill

Creating visually appealing and non-stigmatising materials about abortion is not always easy! With the help of a designer and illustrator, SAAF created a series of templates and images for communication materials in English, French and Spanish.

So far, 40 organisations have reported using the materials, one example is CEHURD in Uganda, who included the illustrations in their recent advocacy resource for suppliers of essential medicines, pictured above.

SAAF grantee partner spotlight 

A group of people wearin masks stand outside a clinic called La Morada
Equifonia staff at the opening of their new “Morada” reproductive health clinic

Equifonia, based in Veracruz, is celebrating its tenth anniversary working towards improving women’s health and rights in Mexico. Equifonia started their SAAF funded project at the start of this year, with a focus on supporting girls under the age of 15 who have become pregnant as a result of rape. They are working on state-wide guidelines for justice in healthcare for girls, including the right to access safe abortion care.

Equifonia has also been a key player in recent advocacy efforts to expand legal abortion across Mexico (where currrently it is only allowed in two states). Following the recent refusal of the Congress of Veracruz to relax the law, they have launched a legal appeal before the Supreme Court, which will be discussed soon.

News and updates

We were extremely proud to see SAAF board member Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng’s appointment as the UN Special Rapporteur on Health. We wish her all the best in this position as a strong advocate for sexual and reproductive health and justice.

Many SAAF grantee partners have been featured in the media, providing updates on the impact of COVID-19 on access to contraception and safe abortion. For example, Hidden Pockets spoke to the Guardian about calls to their helpline in India, and Women Promotion CentreMama Network and WGNRR were featured in the New York Times.

In Brazil, the case of a 10 year old girl seeking abortion has made the headlines, with anti-abortion groups protesting outside the hospital. SAAF partner Anis is quoted in the Guardian saying that this behaviour has inadvertently boosted public debate about the need to decriminalise abortion in the country.

Mama Network have written a timely blogpost for Girls Globe, about the way free hotlines across Africa are supporting safe abortion access during the pandemic.

SAAF is hosted by IPPF. If you wish to report anything which concerns you about our work, or the work of our grantee partners (such as abuse, fraud, malpractice) please consider using the confidential external incident reporting service IPPF SafeReport.