Rutgers is very active within the SheDecides movement. The Dutch NGO launched the fundraising platform www.shedecides.nl at the beginning of 2017 with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Since then SheDecides has become an international movement advocating for the right of girls and women to make decisions concerning their own bodies and lives. SheDecides was a reaction to the reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule/Mexico City Policy by the American president Donald Trump. With the reinstatement of this policy the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) of millions of girls and women are being compromised. The American Guttmacher Institute estimates that the shortage of contraceptives caused by this will lead to eight million extra unplanned pregnancies and about three million extra unsafe abortions. The number of cases of mother mortality among young women is expected to rise by more than 15,000.
So far, SheDecides has ensured that 390 million euro has been made available worldwide for new commitments, including a half million euro via www.shedecides.nl from private individuals in the Netherlands and abroad. The rest of the funding was largely donated by governments. Up to now, the Dutch government has contributed 29 million euro extra for programmes that ensure that girls and women can actually decide for themselves. Sigrid Kaag, the current foreign trade and development minister, is impressed with the public support: “It is heart-warming to see, not only governments and private organisations, but citizens and diverse groups from the community supporting women in developing countries. This emphasizes how wide support is in the world of women’s rights.”
Reproductive Health Network Kenya
Rutgers has chosen the Reproductive Health Network Kenya after consultation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and partners in the field. Rutgers knows the situation in Kenya well. “During our talks, it was soon obvious that care for women and girls in Kenya would be greatly threatened if we didn’t act. We chose the Reproductive Health Network because this organisation focusses on abortion care and contraception. With the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy the organisation stood to lose no less than 70% of its half-yearly income. Our support is therefore badly needed,” according to Rutgers director Ton Coenen. The organization will be supported for a period of two years, with annual funding of 250,000 euro.
SheDecides aims to help more girls and women. Funding is always badly needed to compensate for cutbacks in funding every year. Go to www.shedecides.nl and donate!