Through a range of activities organised at different levels and working with different partners, SMNF targets women, their families, communities and policy decision makers, including politicians and parliamentarians. SMNF uses its district membership base to gather information on community realities (community “voice”) and feed into high level advocacy programmes on key issues.
SMNF has led and continues to lead advocacy campaigns on issues related to safe motherhood and women’s health. It initiated the practice of using women’s festivals (such as Teej) for awareness raising, organising rallies with street drama and songs related to issues such as:
* clean delivery,
* safe motherhood as a family responsibility
* postpartum care of mothers
* the sex of the child is determined by its father
* uterine prolapse as a factor in maternal mortality
* pregnancy and gender based violence, including the role of men
* safe abortion as a women’s right.
SMNF uses action research to identify emerging issues, such as uterine prolapse, abortion and the effects of HIV on safe motherhood. Information is collected through district members to feed into advocacy and planning. In 2005, in collaboration with partners, SMNF produced two reports:
* Uterus prolapse: A key maternal mortality factor amongst Nepali women
* The linkages between pregnancy and gender based violence.
Social mobilisation and capacity building of partner NGOs
SMNF provides capacity building support to its district members, with technical updates on safe motherhood and women’s issues and training in community mobilisation and advocacy approaches.
Uterine Prolapse Alliance
Launched in 2007, in response to the recommendation of the Ministry of Health and Population at the 2006 SMNF National Conference on Safe Motherhood, the Uterine Prolapse Alliance works to raise understanding about the causes and prevention of uterine prolapse and include it in mainstream government health programming. It is based on the shocking findings of the SMNF action research in 10 districts (2003/04), which found that up to nine percent of women attending health camps in these districts were suffering from severe prolapse. The alliance has 42 members, from government, donor, private and NGO sector agencies, who are committed to working on this neglected issue. An action plan has been developed and resources to support its implementation are being sought.
Networking for Addressing Women’s Reproductive Rights in Nepal (NAWRN)
NAWRN is a three-year programme operating in 16 districts, with support from PPFA-I. It aims to increase access to and utilisation of comprehensive abortion care services (safe abortion) for unplanned and unwanted pregnancies. The four Nepal partners are:
* Forum for Women Law and Development (FWLD)
* Centre for Research in Environment Health and Population Activities (CREHPA)
* Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN)
* Safe Motherhood Network Federation (SMNF)
Key groups targeted for awareness raising are community based service providers, medical shops, youth, especially newly married, mothers’ groups and community leaders, to encourage people to discuss this issues more openly, to reduce the stigma attached to abortion and encourage referral of women with unwanted pregnancies for safe abortion services. The programme also targets law enforcers and policy makers.