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) trains and support specialist health providers to reach clients in their own communities.
Empower provides 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 is a four-year program funded by the Australian Government through the Gender Equality Fund and is being 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:
- Strengthened the capacity of 377 Marie Stopes Ladies to provide high-quality and comprehensive SRH/FP services.
- Built the technical skills and capacity of 377 Marie Stopes Ladies in business, financial management, communication, leadership, marketing and cross-selling.
- Reached 498,563 community members with SRH/FP information and delivered SRH/FP services and products to 98,139 clients.