Oxfam Canada receives federal funding to empower women and girls in Philippines

November 14, 2017

(Ottawa) Thanks to a contribution of $17.5 million from the Government of Canada, Oxfam Canada will empower women and girls in six disadvantaged and conflict-affected regions of the Philippines with gender-sensitive sexual and reproductive health and rights services.

The Sexual Health and Empowerment (SHE) Women’s Voice and Leadership project will reach approximately 300,000 people over a period of five years. In partnership with local civil society organizations and Jhpiego, an international, non-profit health organization affiliated with The Johns Hopkins University, SHE will address barriers that prevent women from exercising their rights - including gender inequality, sex trafficking, lack of access to resources, sexual and gender-based violence and child and early forced marriage. The project will also advocate for the implementation of existing laws and policies to safeguard the rights of women and girls.

Our goal is to strengthen local capacity to reach those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to access vital information and services, so women and girls can lead healthy and productive lives free from violence,”
Julie Delahanty, Oxfam Canada Executive Director

“Deeply-rooted social norms in the Philippines make it difficult for women and adolescent girls to make decisions about their own sexual health, and many have little choice when it comes to the number and spacing of their children. Our goal is to strengthen local capacity to reach those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to access vital information and services, so women and girls can lead healthy and productive lives free from violence,” said Julie Delahanty, Oxfam Canada Executive Director.

Teen pregnancy is a critical issue in the country, as many young women are deterred from accessing sexual health services due to the requirement for parental consent. There is also a lack of comprehensive sex education in schools.

The SHE project will train midwives and public health workers, and provide youth-friendly sexual health outreach services for girls and boys. In collaboration with our partners, Oxfam will also work with men and women to change negative attitudes on sexual and reproductive health, while strengthening the capacity of local women’s rights organizations to advocate for change. 

Notes to Editors: 

  • According to the National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS), more than a third of women’s pregnancies in the country are unwanted.
  • The Philippines has the third highest adolescent fertility rate in South Asia, with 57 births per 1000 deliveries for girls aged 15-19. 
  • Two out of three women are not using any form of birth control. These unintended pregnancies could potentially lead to maternal/perinatal death and unsafe abortions (WHO, 2016).
  • Although there has been a slight increase in new acceptors for family planning, only 26% of the estimated six million women’s modern family planning needs were met in 2016 (Philippines Commission on Population).
  • Violence against women is widespread in the Philippines; 20% of Filipino women have experienced physical violence from the age of 15; 6% encountered sexual violence and 4% were beaten during their pregnancy (NDHS, 2013).  

Contact information

Shirlee Engel
Media Relations
(613) 240-3047
shirlee.engel@oxfam.org