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Fire Communications / White Ribbon Alliance / Pakistan

WHITE RIBBON ALLIANCE: Listening Sessions and Transformational Change in Pakistan

Approximately 300,000 women and girls die during pregnancy and childbirth every year. In Pakistan, where the maternal mortality rate stands at 140 per 100,000 live births (WHO 2017), changing this picture begins with women and girls.

When women and girls are involved in identifying the barriers and solutions to healthcare, progress accelerates. As quality has a huge impact on whether a woman or girl will seek care, the heart of White Ribbon Alliance’s What Women Want campaign is about understanding quality from women’s and girls’ perspectives.

Throughout 2018 and 2019, 359 partners asked nearly 1.2 million women and adolescent girls in 114 countries: what is your top request for your maternal and reproductive healthcare?

In Pakistan, approximately 5,000 community health volunteers, led by White Ribbon Alliance Pakistan and the Rural Support Programmes Network (RSPN), mobilized demands from nearly 250,000 women and girls in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) and the provinces of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The What Women Want campaign uniquely asked women and girls in Pakistan to set the agenda, as opposed to beginning with a premise of what is important or asking them to decide among a set of options. Women’s answers were often unexpected, challenging assumptions and shining new light on the realities of their daily lives.

These collected demands were used by White Ribbon Alliance Pakistan to advocate for major, life-changing policy changes within Pakistan, including an 5% increase in the 2020-2021 family planning budget of Sindh Province, and the implementation of “Listening Sessions” that brought women’s demands for quality, reproductive healthcare directly to the government’s top policymakers.

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