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The Open University joins programme promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights in crisis hit countries

The Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies Faculty has announced its commitment to a new multi-million pound Government funded consortium within the UK Aid Connect programme to promote sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) led consortium, in which the OU is a partner, includes Frontline AIDS, Internews Europe, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Women’s Refugee Commission.

This partnership brings together powerful expertise in programme delivery, research, capacity building, advocacy and communications, ensuring vital information, education and services reach marginalised populations and people in complex and challenging environments.

Approaches in Complex and Challenging Environments for Sustainable SRHR (ACCESS) will leverage the consortium’s expertise to design and test innovative solutions that enable the most marginalised and under-served people to access comprehensive, evidence-based SRHR. The project seeks to bridge the gap between research and programming by drawing on existing and emerging evidence to inform the design of the programme through an adaptive, people-centred approach.  

The Secretary of State for International Development, Penny Mordaunt, who announced the programme, said: “This programme will drive innovation and learning by bringing diverse partners together to work on complex and neglected issues such as increasing access to safe abortion and improving the provision of SRHR in crisis settings.”

WELS’ International Development Office, Institute of Educational Technology and School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care will be involved in the project.

Professor Lesley Hoggart, ACCESS Academic Director at The Open University, said: “The consortium will be tackling some really difficult and important issues including safe abortion, gender-based violence, LGBT+ rights and comprehensive sexuality education during the next four years.

“Through education we will empower some of the world’s most vulnerable people to take control of their own bodies and their sexual and reproductive health.”

IPPF Director General, Dr Alvaro Bermejo said: “We bring distinct areas of expertise and are united by a shared commitment to improving the lives of the most marginalised populations. We critically need to work together to develop new and innovative approaches for bringing sexual and reproductive health and rights for those most in need.”

The partners of the SRHR Connect programme were announced at a Women Deliver pre-conference event at the Canadian High Commission in London, on Monday.

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