By David Daniels
Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark introduced AmplifyChange – a new fund for civil society advocacy on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) – at an event in New York on the 22nd September 2014.
The launch coincides with the 20th anniversary of the ground-breaking International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in Cairo; the fund aspires to uphold the ICPD vision of SRHR for all, regardless of age, sex, race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, marital status, sexual orientation or gender identification.
Mr Mogens Jensen, Denmark’s Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation and Ms Lilianne Ploumen, the Netherlands’ Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, went on to underline the commitment of their governments and that of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, co-sponsors of the new Fund, to supporting marginalised and underfunded areas of SRHR with an initial focus in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
The Fund Director, Mr John Worley, described how AmplifyChange is a new and unique initiative that reaches out to civil society organisations including the many unfunded groups working in fragile and conflict-affected environments.
“AmplifyChange will support the efforts of civil society working to secure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights,” said Worley. “When we recognise SRHR as human rights, we enable women, men and young people to realise their full potential in safe and supportive environments.”
AmplifyChange will disburse an initial Fund of €14 million in the next two years. It will support CSOs working to promote and protect the sexual health of young people, especially girls, improve access to services and efforts to stop child or coercive marriage. It will also be support organisations seeking ways of challenging and ending gender based violence; discrimination against and criminalisation of people who identify as gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, and intersex; and ending the practice of female genital cutting.
The fund is a timely intervention, as the shocking statistics speak volumes about the issues AmplifyChange will seek to address.
• About every 10 minutes, somewhere in the world a woman dies from the consequences of unsafe abortion
• One hundred and twenty million girls and female adolescents under the age of 20 have been raped or forced to perform other sexual acts. One in 10 girls around the world experiences serious sexual violence
• Some 25,000 girls are married every day. Young brides face higher risks of sexual violence and curtailment of personal freedom and educational opportunity.
• Some five million young people aged between 15 and 24, and two million adolescents aged between 10 and 19 are living with HIV
• Young girls aged 10-19 account for nearly one quarter all deaths and injuries associated with early pregnancy and childbirth
• More than 70 countries criminalise lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people
• Over 200 million women in developing countries who would like to choose if or when to have children have inadequate access to a method of contraception that meets their needs
The AmplifyChange team will be launching a series of calls for proposals starting early in 2015. For more information and to register interest in the Fund please visit www.amplifychange.org.
David Daniels is Chief Executive of MannionDaniels, which leads an international consortium responsible for disbursing the fund.