April 7, 2021


3 min read

IOM launches project to protect female sex rights

IOM launches project to protect female sex rights

Participants at the launch

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THE Regional Director of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM)/UN Migration Agency Southern Africa, Charles Kwenin says the right to make one’s own choices about relationships, sex and the use of contraception among the young people especially migrants, remains at the core of IOM’s objectives and operations in Southern Africa as well as the Netherlands’ focus.

He was speaking at the launch of the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and HIV – Knows No Borders (KNB) Phase II project 2021-2026, last week Thursday.

Mr Kwenim said this right allows women and girls especially migrants to make healthy choices about how they wish to lead their lives.

To ensure that they can genuinely make correct choices, the IOM works with other UN agencies, ministries of health and other partners, including Save the Children to provide access to complete and accurate HIV and SRH information, as well as ensure effective linkage and referrals to existing primary health care services.

Within the coming six years, IOM considers partnership and collaboration with donors, Member States and partners to be critical to respond to the SRH and HIV challenges posed by migration in the region and more so, within the context of the COVID19 pandemic.

“We will also harness delivering as one UN approach to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially SDG 3 on good health and wellbeing, SGD 5 on universal access to SRH services and elimination of child marriages as well as SDG 8 on youth skills development with focus on young vulnerable people, migrants and sex workers,” Mr Kwenim also said.

Dr ’Makhoase Ranyali-Otubanjo from the Ministry of Health said projects of this scope give them hope that the Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights of marginalised groups such as migrants, sex workers and young vulnerable people will be realised.

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She said they are encouraged to have the project for they need the many voices of migrants, sex workers and young vulnerable people to be heard clearly, adding they need to be fully engaged in processes that concern them. 

Dr Ranyali-Otubanjo further showed that to push this agenda forward, they need a systematic and coordinated effort from all.

“As a ministry, we look forward to collaborating with the IOM,” she concluded.

The KNB project is a regional initiative funded by the government of the Netherlands represented by the Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation through its embassy based in Maputo, Mozambique with a total grant of 18 million Euros.

The project is a continuation of an earlier phase (worth 13-million-euro funding) which covered the period between October 2016 and December 2020.

Following the final evaluation of Phase I, the project has received new funding from the Netherlands government, and an extension for six years, covering the period between January 2021 and December 2026.

It will cover six Southern African countries including Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia, like it occurred in the first phase.

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