Examples from Ireland, Croatia, Finland and other countries show that IPPF member associations face hostility in their fight to ensure that all people can enjoy their fundamental rights and make choices about their sexuality, reproduction and well-being. For this reason, IPPF EN decided many years ago to break out of the self-imposed boundaries of the SRHR sector and started to build bridges.
Different SRHR activists testified how they connect domestically and internationally with activists of women’s movements, LGBT organisations, organisations working with people with disabilities and the HIV community to defend and promote shared values. The Irish example illustrates that alliance building is extremely important, as anti-choice activists seek to drive wedges between the SRHR community and people concerned with the rights of the disabled, parents concerned with safety and security, and people of faith.
In his keynote speech, Sensoa’s president Professor Alexis Dewaele underlined the importance of connecting across ideological or values-based divides. He believes the SRHR community needs to increase its understanding of how values shape our worldviews and familiarise itself with the recent research on values and their importance for civic and political engagement. Communication on SRHR is most successful when it builds on common ground and evokes values that unite rather than divide us.
Unity and diversity
Sessions and workshops focused on how the SRHR community can communicate its values better and reframe its messages to reach wider and more diverse audiences and increase public and political support for its work. SRHR activists inspired each other with good practices of successful value-based campaigning and communication strategies. With the upcoming European elections of 2019, the defence and promotion of SRHR within Europe will be a key challenge for many member associations.
The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is a global federation of NGOs that promote and safeguard sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in over 150 countries around the world. The European Network of IPPF (IPPF EN) connects 41 local civil society organisations in Europe and Central Asia. Sensoa is Belgium's member association.