Sexual and Reproductive Health for Adolescents Project
Juzoor, with funding from Save the Children and in partnership with Qader, DCA and Maan, started this project in 2009. This project aims to enhance the protection of children and adolescents between the ages of 10-17 from GBV and harmful practices, through promoting their SRHR rights and improving the quality of child/adolescent friendly SRHR information and services and improving policymaker and stakeholder support for child and adolescent- centered SRHR information and services.
Through this project, we also aim to increase responsiveness and willingness of duty-bearers to enforce provisions of laws in relation to corporal punishment /physical and sexual abuse and Child Protection.
The interventions address the systemic nature of violence (corporal punishment/physical and humiliating behaviors, physical and sexual abuse) against children by using the tools available within the country to engender change in parental, caregiver, teacher, and decision-makers’ acceptance of such violations, ensuring that such violations are reported, documented, and addressed, and violators are held accountable, and by supporting positive discipline approaches within society.
Why is SRHR an important focus area for Juzoor?
Today, adolescents and youth aged 15-29 years make up 30 percent of Palestine’s population and children between 0-14 make up 34 percent. Access to quality sexual and reproductive health services (SRHR) and information is essential to protect their health and their ability to plan their lives. Yet in Palestine, harmful social norms, gender stereotypes, power imbalances, perceived need to control female sexuality and other inequalities make accessing information and services challenging.
In addition, comprehensive indicators related to SRHR are also lacking, as is follow-up when those indicators identify potential areas for investment and improvement. The lack of gender, age- and income-disaggregated data continues to hamper informed decision-making on policies and programmes to meet women’s and adolescents’ needs for SRHR.
What needs to be done?
Juzoor continues to emphasize that by strengthening national policies, laws, strategies and programmes to increase access to evidence-based SRHR interventions, Palestine can significantly witness an improvement in adolescent and children health and wellbeing. Stakeholders across sectors need to work together to address financial and programmatic gaps in the SRHR agenda so that the fundamental rights of every girl and woman are promoted, respected, protected and fulfilled.
How is Juzoor making a difference?
Juzoor has been focusing on institutionalizing SRHR by transferring the project from a local level to a national and regional level by involving a policy dialogue and technical assistance to help achieve the policy and institutional conditions needed for successful scaling up at the national level. This required the development of multi-stakeholder partnerships to ensure community engagement. Due to that, a national coalition for adolescent’s health was established to build capacity of coalition members in SRHR to ensure successful, efficient, and sustainable results. A scale up at a regional level was imitated and new marginalized groups were targeted. Civil Society actors played a major role in advocacy and lobbying in changing the discourse and practices within the society and the government (laws, policies and protocols) to eliminate all kinds of violence and support children. Additionally, in 2020, Juzoor was able to work with Ministry of Social Development to reach the marginalized groups and their counselors to ensure the success of the project. Their support is crucial to influence national authorities for policy change of the proposed approach to SRHR by having regular meetings to discuss the progress of the project and sustain program quality and its relevance.
In 2020, Juzoor created inclusive and sustainable solutions for the SRHR Project, particularly to adapt to the new realities created by the pandemic. These included:
- To make sure no child is left behind and to ensure equal participation for all; Juzoor developed an additional SRHR manual to incorporate the needs of children with disabilities, particularly children with mental disability.
- Juzoor conducted a 4-day Positive Discipline Training for counselors working under the Ministry of Social Development who are in direct contact with the children and families, in corporation with Secours Islamique France.
- Juzoor conducted a Cyber Safety Training for SIDA partners. The training was conducted successfully and 10 partners (25 participants) benefited from the virtual training. Juzoor also conducted a Cyber Safety Training to the Adolescents’ Health coalition members.
- Juzoor increased the capacity of the Adolescents’ Health Coalition Member by providing the Positive Discipline and SRHR Trainings to build their capacities and be able to address the gaps and needs for adolescents.
- Juzoor prepared and circulated an emergency appeal internationally and nationally to advocate and support the needs of the Palestinian people, specifically vulnerable groups and prepared a plan to carry out a series of assessments and surveys. The main aim is to provide information and assist decision & policy-makers in taking the necessary action to fight this pandemic.
- These redesigned activities included the development of a mobile application to upload educational and training materials and short films, as well as family games to ensure engagement of the whole family. The application will be accessible by the community and available to download materials. This mobile application will ensure safe guarding measures for children. Tablets were purchased and prepared to be distributed to a limited number of children in marginalized locations who do not have access to smart phones.