We are currently witnessing humanitarian needs on a huge scale, with the impact of armed conflicts and disasters reaching staggering levels. Current humanitarian crises remain complex and long-lasting. Furthermore, in the past years, we have seen the humanitarian context changing and an increased European government investment and interest in humanitarian assistance.
Regardless whether it is caused by natural disasters, man-made disasters or complex emergencies, research shows that humanitarian crises intensify sexual and reproductive health related challenges. Humanitarian crises can increase people’s, especially women’s, vulnerability to SRHR related issues such as unwanted or risky pregnancy, unsafe abortions, sexually transmitted infections, and sexual violence and exploitation. Further, poor quality of sex education and access to contraception often make it difficult for women to negotiate the use of contraception with their partners, which results in large groups of women who do not have control over their sexual and reproductive lives. Yet far too often, these issues are neglected by humanitarian actors.
With West-Africa still recovering from the Ebola crisis, the on-going civil war in Syria and more recent Zika health crisis, which all come along with specific implications for people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, and the global attention to improving humanitarian action, EuroNGOs saw this as a timely opportunity to come together as the European SRHR community to learn and strategise around this area.
In association with IPPF European Network and Countdown 2030 Europe, EuroNGOs brought together 22 participants from member organisations to enhance our knowledge and capacity on the SRHR in humanitarian responses, and exchange concrete ideas on how to use this in our (joint) advocacy and policy work in Europe and beyond,