Protecting Rights: The role of Faith-Based Organizations in Enabling Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

Peter Munene, Faith to Action Network’s CEO, on 4th April 2017 represented the Network in a panel during a formal side event to the 50th Session of the Commission on Population and Development 2017 in New york. The World Council of Churches and ACT Alliance organized the side event in cooperation with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on behalf of the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Religion and Development and the Permanent Mission of Norway to the United Nations.

The topic of the panel was ‘Protecting Bodies, Protecting Rights: The role of Faith-Based Organizations in Enabling Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. The session was attended by representatives of Member States, the United Nations and faith-based organizations (FBOs) that have been taking critical leadership on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), and are also advancing a deep theology of life which ensures the rights for all. The event explored how religious actors and religious communities can be the ‘tipping point’ for community development and societal transformation on SRHR.

Peter Munene, discussed how to find common ground among faith groups on family planning and explored the importance of addressing myths and the challenges FBOs face in procuring supplies and how to advocate for FP within faith structures. Also discussed by the panelists were obstacles and opportunities that faith communities face and what role they play in addressing child, early and forced marriage and other sexual and reproductive health. The panel focused on the need for strong, concerted and sustainable multi-stakeholder action on policy, advocacy, partnerships, and funding.

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