Our achievements

Highlights from My Body, My Rights

Creating supportive
contexts for choice

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Friendships have been built, and social cohesion in the communities has grown stronger.

  • Achievements

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  • Attitudes to modern contraception among Roma people have become more positive.

    Trained Roma community members have been supported by local project coordinators, health mediators and doctors to raise awareness about family planning and maternal and child health.

    By forming self-support groups, they have built trust among their peers and informed them of the benefits of contraceptive care and of regular medical check-ups, reaching almost 30,000 people through home visits, information sessions, informal talks and small campaigns. These volunteers have supported health mediators with referral to healthcare services, and are eager to remain involved in the longer term. Friendships have been built, and social cohesion in the communities has grown stronger.

    Awareness-raising and health mediation have made contraceptives more acceptable to people, and the demand for condoms in particular has increased, as well as for intrauterine devices (IUDs) and pills. Our partner in Serbia has recorded an increased reported use of condoms among men and boys, and of contraceptive pills among girls and women aged 16-37.

    A mobile app, MYRA, was developed in Romanian, Bulgarian and Serbian, providing accurate information on contraception and other topics such as pregnancy, birth, sexually transmitted infections, sex and relationships. It was designed to work both on and offline.

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  • «I was inspired to use contraceptives because of my older sister. She got involved in My Body, My Rights through a self-support group and then peer education sessions, and she taught me and other young girls how family planning can change our lives… I’ve witnessed positive changes in her life, and now I want to finish school and become a hairdresser. Using contraception has helped me focus on this because I’m not worried about getting pregnant.»

    16-year-old girl

    Belgrade, Serbia

  • «Valya, the health mediator, invited me to take part in a women’s group. During these meetings we spoke very often about contraception. I thought more often about myself and my family. Our daughter was a baby and it was a challenge to provide for her. My husband and I started to talk about it, and I started to think about getting an IUD. That’s why six months ago I decided to have one fitted. My friends think I’m crazy, but I know that I’ll be able to decide myself when to have another child.»

    20-year-old woman

    Montana, Bulgaria

  • «I volunteer as part of the self-help group because I enjoy helping and informing other mothers, and since I’m Roma, I find it much easier to communicate with other people from the community. We already know many of the mothers – I work at the local kindergarten where most of them take their children - and this means they find it easier to trust us and participate in these groups.»

    Member of self-support group

    Tundzha Municipality, Bulgaria

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