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MmeLindor is in Kenya blogging about Reproductive Rights

(151 Posts)
LynnCSchreiber Fri 22-Jun-12 08:40:29

I am in Kenya this week blogging about reproductive rights.

200m women worldwide want to use contraception but have no access to it.

Melinda Gates has launched a campaign to change this. A group of bloggers from around the world are visiting various projects in Kenya to report on the reality of life without contraception.

Access to contraception means that women can decide when, how many and in with which age gap they have their children.

This has far reaching effects on the lives and the lives of their families.

more here

250 000 maternal deaths worldwide, high infant mortality, unwanted babies, unsafe abortion.

I have been here for several days and have written a couple of blog posts about the projects we have visited. I've been having wifi issues so no pics yet, but I have tweeted some pics - you can follow me @lynncschreiber to see them.

I've met an amazing woman who is a Mother Mentor in a HIV/AIDS support project. She meets newly diagnosed mothers and helps them come to terms with their illness and learn how to increase the chances that their babies will be HIV negative.

She was so inspiring. She told me that she is living positively and is so happy that her son is a Negative Baby. She now tells other women about family planning and how to access it. The program is run by the CDC - who are doing amazing things for rural communities.

Women walk for hours to health clinics only to find that they are out of contraceptive supplies.

The Gates Foundation is teaming up with the UK government to host a worldwide family planning summit in London this July.

I will also be linking to the blogs of the others on the trip.

LynnCSchreiber Thu 12-Jul-12 20:15:51

How cool, Abbey. Glad to have you posting on this thread. I will PM you, cause I am hoping to write more about the issues facing Kenyan women. Great to have a local voice.

Thanks to all who have taken part in this campaign and have helped to spread the word. I will link up to the other blogs on the other thread.

Hi Abbey! Well done for spreading the mooncup message. What an amazing thread!

JugglingWithTangentialOranges Thu 12-Jul-12 10:18:50

Awesome abbey - I can just imagine you MNetting from Africa !

abbeynationall Wed 11-Jul-12 17:45:32

Mnetter here in Kenya complete with the mooncup badge. Couldn't read and run even with my uberslow internet connection. Welldone for highlighting the plight of women in Kenya OP if you need any info just pm me .... I have to go now my three year old is begging to go to bed whose ever seen that . By the way I'm MNettinng in my mums' mud hut in a village in the back of beyond .Do excuse the grammar and the spelling

LynnCSchreiber Wed 11-Jul-12 09:22:06
JugglingWithTangentialOranges Wed 11-Jul-12 07:33:05

Great ! I think there could be some good potential for faith groups to make some good progress in their thinking on contraception and family planning, and become much more pro-active on this. Especially those denominations that are already OK with it - just lots of room for them to be much more than tolerant of contraception as often at present. Good luck with your encounters today !

LynnCSchreiber Tue 10-Jul-12 23:45:36

Juggling
By incredible coincidence, I happened to meet a couple of guys who work in faith based initiatives, so am hoping to have the chance to talk to them some more tomorrow.

JugglingWithTangentialOranges Tue 10-Jul-12 13:37:48

Lovely to think you might raise my query with someone at the summit MmeLindor - if the opportunity arises smile Thanks !

LynnCSchreiber Tue 10-Jul-12 12:43:48

Thanks TimetoSmile. I am not, but will have a look and follow them on Twitter.

Dfid just tweeted this story which may be interesting for those who were on the webchat yesterday. Comic Relief and UK Aid funding a peer counselling project to help young girls escape teen pregnancy and marriage.

timetosmile Tue 10-Jul-12 12:34:16

I don't know if you are in contact with these lovely people, Mme?

UK based, but decades of hands-on developing world experience between them, and a useful place to network..

chgn.org/

LynnCSchreiber Tue 10-Jul-12 12:18:12

Good question. Will have a look and see if there are any church representatives there and ask them a bit about that.

I am currently in Scotland (where I live), waiting at airport on my flight to London later this afternoon.

JugglingWithTangentialOranges Tue 10-Jul-12 09:28:55

Oh, I hope you have a good journey Mme Lindor smile

So, where are you just now ?

< struggles slightly to keep up grin >

JugglingWithTangentialOranges Tue 10-Jul-12 09:26:55

I think my question would be "How can we encourage different faith groups and churches around the world to be more positive about contraception and family planning ?"

I think it's very frustrating to see the churches and other faith groups not embracing and promoting something which can be such a force for good around the world - with the potential to change the lives of women and children so much for the better.

LynnCSchreiber Tue 10-Jul-12 09:23:51

Am flying down today. The summit looks to be very interesting - I will update the summit thread as it develops

JugglingWithTangentialOranges Tue 10-Jul-12 09:20:09

Oh, I guess you're back in London now MmeLindor ready for the summit tomorrow ? - have just read yesterday's webchat with Andrew Mitchell (international development minister - all good I thought) as well as catching up with more of this thread.
There's so much here it's hard for me to keep up with it all - but it's all fab !
Hope tomorrow goes well for everyone's sake x

LynnCSchreiber Tue 10-Jul-12 09:01:14

Juggling
Am honoured to "represent" the MNetters - and if you have anything you wish me to raise at the summit, do let me know.

JugglingWithTangentialOranges Tue 10-Jul-12 08:42:27

Thanks MmeLindor - I'm quite excited to have a personal post all the way from Kenya this morning - and on such a cool and important subject !
Thanks for being there to represent us all ! (if that's something you feel happy to be doing ?)
Will look out for that book smile

LynnCSchreiber Mon 09-Jul-12 23:13:14

Juggling
I recently read the excellent book The Means of Reproduction by Michelle Goldberg. If you haven't read it, I would urge you to do so. She explains in great detail the ways in which both the RC church and the evangelical Christians have tried to manipulate the debate.

The Kenyan Constitution was all but hijacked by those on both sides of the argument, particularly the American anti-choice movement, as they fought battles that they cannot win in US. I linked to a great article by Irin Carmon earlier in this thread.

LynnCSchreiber Mon 09-Jul-12 23:04:57

That is interesting, TimeToSmile. And horrifying. It is a fine line they walk, these women, as if they use contraceptives they risk being ostracised in the community.

I met a Kenyan woman at the weekend who told me that her gardener has 13 kids with 3 different women. When his second wife had the contraceptive implant inserted, he went out and found a third wife. They have told the man that if he has any more children, they will fire him - to protect the women and to help his family. They are funding the school for the children.

My blog post today was featured on the Gates Foundation blog.

JugglingWithTangentialOranges Mon 09-Jul-12 22:46:22

I don't know how Wendy Wright can say what she did - I hope she gave it some careful thought, and gives further thought to anything else she chooses to say on the subject. I've thought for a long time that all the churches should stop confusing contraception and abortion. To me, if they are against abortion they should promote contraception all the more strongly. I feel the church is very confused though, and it will be a long time I fear before they fully get behind anything relating to sex - such as contraception and family planning.

timetosmile Mon 09-Jul-12 19:06:57

Hi Mme

Just want to say thankyou for raising these issues to the wider MN community. thanks

DH has worked for several short periods in Kenya in both government and charity run hospitals, and has been known to bang his head repeatedly against the wall about the funding/ charging system in the government hospitals.

It may be that the (wealthy) private healthcare providers work so hand-in-glove with the government that there is no 'advantage' to the government in improving access-for-all in the state hospital sector.

I've also worked in reproductive health in subsaharan Africa and learned to do a tubal ligation through the teeniest 'secret' incision if the women ask!!

The downside of concealed contraception is that some of the women get taken to traditional healers whose remedies are not always beneficial.....I have heard of petrol or methylated spirit 'douches' to 'clean' the woman for future pregnancies sad

LynnCSchreiber Mon 09-Jul-12 17:11:28

Exactly.

Especially when we KNOW that more women died as a result of the reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule by Bush.

It is disingenuous to ignore that and argue that contraception would not save lives.

SweetTheSting Mon 09-Jul-12 15:27:59

Yeah, surely maternal mortality is reduced by not going through pregnancy so often?!

At least Wendy should be honest if she thinks that's a price that needs to be paid not to block 'God's will' re children. Not pretend it is no issue at all.

LynnCSchreiber Mon 09-Jul-12 15:01:54

Last blog post before the summit

The Andrew Mitchell webchat in case you missed it.

Melinda Gates on BBC4 Today. At 2.35 hr

Wendy Wright, from Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute said:

"we know what empowers women and lifts children and women out of poverty. It is schooling and jobs. We know what reduces maternal mortality, it is skilled birth attendants and pre-natal care and infrastructure like roads so that women can get to clinics, and cell phones so that birth attendants can get to the women.

Contraception programmes don't provide any of the known items that will lift women and communities out of poverty and empower women.

The Gates approach will divert funding away from programmes that work".

Which shows how the religious right are trying to hijack this issue, including telling outright lies about how contraception helps women.

They completely ignored the fact that limiting contraception increased abortion, many of them unsafe and dangerous abortion and raised maternal mortality.

SweetTheSting Mon 09-Jul-12 14:42:52

Thanks.

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