Because She Counts in a global movement run by Countdown 2030 Europe and made up of those working in the field of family planning (FP) from around Europe who have united around one common purpose: gaining funding for family planning to meet the deadline of ensuring 120 million women and girls have access to modern contraceptives by 2020.
Launched at the Family Planning Summit in London (11th July 2017), it aims to bring people together and activate individuals, policy makers, and organisations to make change happen at both a global and national level.
Each year, our partners in three European donor countries (12 countries across the four years) organise a national ‘Counting down to 2020’ event to raise awareness with their governments of the importance of investing in family planning to achieve the FP2020 goal of enabling 120 million additional women and girls to use modern contraception by 2020. The events are usually done in collaboration and with the participation of Southern champions who are the best placed to explain the need for investing in family planning.
European donor governments which made a FP2020 pledge are held accountable to their commitments and asks for further FP investments are made.
Counting down…tic tac!
In Finland, an event was organised in the parliament focusing on women’s empowerment and unmet need for contraception/family planning. The Finnish Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, MPs, a Youtube star, and a young sexual and reproductive health champion from Malawi participated at the event. The young Southern champion shared her experience as a training coordinator at a youth empowerment centre in Malawi, being well placed to explain the need for investing in FP in the Global South. Both the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development and the chair of the Finnish APPG highlighted in their speeches that SRH/FP must be Finland’s top priority in development policy.
Sensoa, our Belgian partner, organised a conference with over 100 people participating, including national and 20 international MPs from Africa and Latin America, as well as SRHR activists from around the world. It raised awareness and understanding of the unmet need for family planning and its relation to the Global Gag Rule.
In 2018, an expert roundtable was held in Berlin to discuss Germany’s contribution to SRHR/FP in Sub-Saharan Africa, and an evening event with Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, with the aim to raise awareness among the new MPs and incoming government on the need to invest in SRH/FP. On this occasion, our partner launched a report proving once more the importance of access to SRH/FP services as well as education for millions of women and girls in the region of Sub-Saharan Africa. The findings were backed by the new German parliamentarians and government representatives alike, who pledged to support work on SRH/FP.
On International Women’s Day 2018, our partner in The Netherlands organised an event in the parliament to raise awareness and establish broad support for SRHR, with a focus on the unmet need for family planning and much needed investment. The event gave a platform to civil society organisations and MPs to share recommendations around SRH/FP that could have a bearing on the new national policy on development cooperation. This clearly signaled the need to keep SRHR on the political agenda and to ensure women and girls have the freedom to decide their own paths.
Our partner in Sweden organises a Stoller March annually, this time counting a record high of 54 marches across the country. The main goal of the campaign is to raise public awareness of the situation of maternal health in the world. How lack of sexual and reproductive health and rights result in more than 800 women losing their lives due to a pregnancy or a delivery every single day. RFSU created a video showing the importance of relationships and sexuality education as a means to accessing contraception care.
Our partner in Spain organised a workshop that looked with a critical eye at the role of SRH and FP in Spanish development cooperation, at bilateral level, from the perspective of NGOs working in the field. Specifically, the panellists discussed the V Master Plan of the Spanish Cooperation (2018-2021), one of the main documents aiming to contribute to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Equipop, our French partner, was deeply involved in the organisation of the Women 7 Summit. This gathered feminist movements from all over the world in order to mainstream gender equality in political processes and raise the profile of SRHR on the international agenda. Many youth SRHR advocates from the Global South and more particularly from West Africa attended the Summit. Equipop shared their recommendations with the Gender Equality Ministers from G7 States and managed to have a live discussion with them on stage.
In 2019, the second national women’s strike took place in Switzerland. Thousands of women and men from all generations participated in strikes and manifestations asking for gender equality in Switzerland. Our Swiss partner used the opportunity to launch a factsheet with information on the unmet need for family planning both on national and international level and highlighting the importance to commit to and invest in family planning.
Sex og Politikk, our Norwegian partner celebrated its 50th anniversary with a conference that spanned over two days with the first day being dedicated to an international focus on SRHR and second day with a focus on the “hot-topics”of SRHR in Norway. They highlighted new trends and approaches to the FP agenda within the broader SRHR context, and created momentum for the need to continued support for FP.
A short documentary was produced, highlighting the consequences of lack of access to family planning.
The IFPA, our Irish partner, hosted a meeting with governments representatives from European donor countries. They held a civil society dialogue to link the ICPD and Beijing25. An extensive report: ‘Unfinished Business: achieving sexual and reproductive health and rights for all’ was launched which outlined national commitments to SRHR.
2020 will mark the end of the BecauseSheCount campaign.