While more and more women across the world are using modern methods of contraception, many women are still experiencing restrictions that limit their right to decide whether and when to get pregnant. These barriers can be material, such as finding enough money to pay for services or a lack of trained nurses in the area in which they live. But barriers can also consist of intangible obstacles, such as stigma from the community, or religious or cultural restrictions. The Mekong Women’s Empowerment Program (Empower) trained and supported specialist health providers to reach clients in their own communities.
Empower provided business skills training, networking and support to allow these women to grow their businesses and increase their incomes, while at the same time supporting women in their local communities to access life changing sexual and reproductive health information and services.
Empower was a four-year program funded by the Australian Government through the Gender Equality Fund and was implemented by MSI Asia Pacific in collaboration with members of the MSI global partnership in Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam.
- Women have improved financial independence and greater power and agency to benefit from their economic activities.
- Increased utilisation of high-quality, comprehensive, equitable and affordable SRH/FP services and products amongst target groups in target locations.
During the first two years of program implementation, the Empower program has:
- Provided 1,085,383 community members reached with SRH/FP information
- Strengthened the capacity of 451 Marie Stopes Ladies to provide high-quality and comprehensive SRH/FP services.
- Delivered SRH/FP services to a total of 322,132 clients.