The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) proclaims that “a rights-based approach shifts the focus and role of young people in programme from recipients to actors, empowering them to participate in decisions that affect their lives and emphasises the importance of choice and non-discrimination.”53
A rights-based approach within programmes would include efforts to:54
- Address GBV and coercion, especially as it relates to restricting girls and young women’s choices, and exposing them to morbidity and mortality.
- Incorporate communication and behavioural change interventions, encourage the prevention of disease, the practice of safe sex, and the change of social norms that encourage equitable partnerships.
- Incorporate multi-source SRHR education strategies and empower young people to demand their rights.
- Establish means of ensuring that programme are accountable to the people they serve and means of addressing violation of rights.
Taking a Rights-Based Approach
Women Win also believes that adolescent girls’ SRHR should remain central to any sport programme, and thus not an optional extra. We know that promoting these rights can bring real benefits. Examples of this include the following:
- Making adolescent girls the real stakeholders: We take as our starting point the idea that adolescent girls not only have the knowledge to help develop, implement and evaluate programme, but the right to participate in all decision-making processes which affect them. As such, our rights-based approach encourages adolescent girls to be active stakeholders within programmes; indeed we believe that organisations need this participation if initiatives are to succeed.
- Addressing discrimination: Adolescent girls continue to be discriminated against on the basis of many factors, including gender, ability, sexual orientation, and ethnic or religious background. A rights-based approach makes sure that this discrimination is properly addressed within the programme, and that we work to advocate for more tolerant societies.
- Promoting equality and empowering adolescent girls: Taking a rights-based approach recognises the importance of addressing inequalities and meeting the needs of the most vulnerable young people. Young men play a particularly important role, as allies, in addressing gender-based inequalities as they affect adolescent girls.
- Improving access to services: The availability, accessibility and affordability of services can be the key to preventing unwanted pregnancies and the spread of HIV and STIs. We believe that adolescent girls should have access to these services as a basic right. Adolescent girls require access to services not only to improve their own health and related behaviours, but as a way of involving them further in promoting the health of their partners and families. We also believe in building the life skills capacities of adolescent girls to uptake the SRHR services available to them.
- Improving access to sport: In economically disadvantaged communities, especially in urban areas, there is a lack of sufficient spaces available to adolescent girls to engage in sport. Compounding the issue of limited resources is the fact that those fields and courts are often over-used in high-density areas. There is typically a hierarchy for access to athletic space, and girls’ sport teams often sit at the bottom. Programme partners report girls’ football events being cancelled without notice to accommodate boys and men who show up to play casual games on the fields. In some cultures or conflict regions, it may be inappropriate or too dangerous for girls to play outside, therefore confining them to an even smaller selection of indoor spaces. Women Win believes that the creation of safe, female-friendly public spaces where girls can gather to play sport, learn about SRHR, form friendships, expand their social networks, and receive mentoring is a contributory factor in motivating young people to make healthy choices.