Today, SRHR and gender equality are under increasing pressure worldwide. Ideologies on the autonomy and rights of girls, women and LGBTI people are more and more polarized and there is a persistent denial of young people’s SRHR needs, realities and rights. At the same time, organised opposition groups are increasingly well funded, well organised, and effective in getting across their anti-rights messages to a wider public as well as to policy and decision-makers. This situation demands a strategic response. We need to integrate approaches that limit the influence of opposition forces into our advocacy efforts for SRHR from the start. In doing so, our focus should be on taking a proactive approach, by remaining focused on our own goals, while we integrate approaches that limit the effects of the tactics and strategies of those opposing SRHR.
Rutgers offers a tool for developing such a strategic response in the form of this facilitator’s guide. It is designed to support facilitation of a discussion around opposition during a workshop or meeting: its guidance can help to deepen the understanding of opposition in a context-specific manner, to share experience and learning on effective strategies, and support joint application of these strategies in order to prevent or limit the influence of opposition on reaching SRHR-related goals.
The sessions and information included in the guide are based on the results of several learning meetings organised by Rutgers in the Get Up Speak Out and Right Here Right Now programmes. These learning meetings included representatives from civil society organisations from six countries in Africa and Asia. Participants in these meetings shared their experiences and knowledge of effective approaches and jointly strategised how to work on SRHR in a context affected by opposition. Next to the valuable insights (and concrete input on the sessions) of these participants, conversations with other civil society representatives and information from existing resources served as further input to the facilitator’s guide.