September 23, 2014
Written by Women Deliver
This post originally appeared on Women Deliver’s website here. Reposted with permission.
On Monday, the Danish government, the Dutch government, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation launched a new fund that will help grassroots organizations working to change policies that improve the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of women, girls and other marginalized individuals. AmplifyChange – initially a two-year, $19.4million fund – aims to secure universal recognition of SRHR as a human right, enabling women, men and young people to realize their full potential.
“Opposition to sexual and reproductive health and rights comes in many forms,” says John Worley, AmpilfyChange’s Fund Director. “Civil society groups seeking to advance these issues often fail to attract the backing they need from mainstream funding sources. AmplifyChange offers a new and unique channel of support.”
The fund will provide financial, technical and capacity-building support for non-governmental organizations working to end gender-based violence, violence against women and girls, and the practice of female genital mutilation. AmplifyChange will also support groups working to promote and protect the SRHR of young people and those seeking to end early or forced marriage. Other initiatives supported include minimizing the consequences of unsafe abortion, discrimination of gender or sexual orientation, and access to comprehensive reproductive health services.
Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark gave the keynote address at Monday’s launch, alongside Mogens Jensen, Denmark’s Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation, who were recently on hand during the announcement that Women Deliver’s next global conference will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in May 2016.
“All women and men should be able to decide freely on matters related to their sexual and reproductive health,” said Mogens Jensen. “Unfortunately some countries still deny these fundamental rights. I hope [AmplifyChange] will lead to policy change and to hold those governments accountable. Civil society organizations and initiatives like this provide hope for change to millions of people whose voices need to be heard.”
Lilianne Ploumen, the Netherlands’ Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation also spoke to the importance of AmplifyChange, stressing that the fund will allow organizations to become more innovative in future strategies.
“They could, for instance, look for ways of engaging the influentials in their societies, such as religious and ethnic leaders and parliamentarians. We need them to change mentalities and social norms and to get communities to talk about these sensitive issues.”