Supporting FIGO Members to be Advocates
FIGO’s Advocating for Safe Abortion Project is supporting ten National Societies to be leading advocates.
Our three-day advocacy and communications training builds capacity and creates space to share learning and reflections.
FIGO National Member Societies are often leading advocates for sexual and reproductive health and rights, for ending maternal mortality and improving women’s health outcomes. Through raising their voices to support better policy making, and supporting their members to understand and champion high quality healthcare, they play a crucial role in making progress for women’s health and rights, and reducing inequalities.
As part of the Advocating for Safe Abortion Project, FIGO is delivering advocacy and communications training to ten National Member Societies. The training aims to raise capacity to lead advocacy on safe abortion to the extent permitted by law in their respective countries. The overall long-term goal is to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity from unsafe abortion, due to women having increased access to safe abortion services. Countries involved are: Benin, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Panama, Peru, Uganda and Zambia.
The objectives of the training are to:
- Build capacity of participants to develop and implement advocacy strategies
- Develop communications skills and understand how to use communications methods such as social media, media and publications
- Develop strong and effective narratives on safe abortion and practice delivering these to different audiences
- Increase ability to establish advocacy networks, communicate with opposition, and evaluate advocacy actions
A pilot training was held in November 2019 with the Kenya Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society and the Association of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Uganda.
It has since been delivered to participants from the Société Malienne de Gynécologie-Obstétrique (SOMAGO) in Mali, the Collège National des Gynécologues Obstétriciens du Bénin (CNGOB) in Benin and Associação Moçambicana de Obstetras e Ginecologistas (AMOG) in Mozambique. Other trainings are planned throughout the Project, and further capacity building will be supported at annual regional learning and reflection meetings.
The approach to training which FIGO adopts is participatory, to draw on the expertise and experience of attendees. Group work and exercises ensure that the skills learnt are applied to the Project and made relevant to implementation. There is also a focus on learning and exchange, through bringing National Member Societies from different countries together, and inviting external speakers to share their experiences and advice.
The sessions include advocacy planning, stakeholder and power mapping, and writing an advocacy strategy. Participants learn the key elements of a convincing core message, and have time to practice expanding narratives on safe abortion that include people and stories, evidence and data, policy commitments and a call to action. Best practice in communications, including using multiple channels such as social and traditional media, events and advocacy meetings are also discussed.
Following the recent training Dr. Moufalilou Aboubakar, Country Focal Point in Benin, said
‘This training has been very useful and will help us in many ways. It will help us to write core messages that have a strong impact on our target populations. It will also help us tailor our advocacy activities to the stakeholders we are working with. For example, we will be conducting advocacy and awareness raising with obstetrician gynecologists with a view to increasing the number of practitioners favourable to the practice of safe abortion within the limits of the law.’
Participants from Uganda and Kenya commented:
‘The training addressed key areas in advocacy on safe abortion and has helped me to map the stakeholders, opposition as well as developing effective policy statements and a call to action.’
‘The training was very interactive, encouraging reflection, brainstorming, group work, panel discussions and practical demonstrations of advocacy. This was excellent, as these are some of the techniques we shall adopt in our projects’.
Read more about the Advocating for Safe Abortion Project here.