Young couple Vietnam

Sexual and Reproductive Health Care

The vision of Rutgers is a world where all people are equally able to enjoy sexual and reproductive health and well-being and exercise their sexual and reproductive rights. In many places there is a shortage of quality services.

Even in places where those services are in place, not everyone has access to them. We work to increase quality and access through research, advocacy and delivering programmes on the ground, in the Netherlands and around the world.

Barriers to health and well-being

Sexual and reproductive health and rights for all cannot be realised just by delivering more services. Access to services by women, young people and marginalised groups is adversely affected by poverty, stigma and discrimination – barriers to achieving sexual and reproductive health and well-being. Rutgers researches these barriers and develops and tests new approaches. Then we can advocate for wider changes.

It’s about access, it’s about choice

All women should have access to contraception and the support of sexual and reproductive health care services.

They might be denied this because they live too remotely, they have unsupportive husbands, or because they are unmarried or too young to be seen as legitimately sexually active.

Many Rutgers programmes address the issues of access and choice, including Unite for Body Rights!, the Y-SAV project, the partnership for Universal Access to Female Condoms.


Maternity ward in Malawi (Marieke van der Velden0

Men as agents of change

Our MenCare+ programme supports involving men in maternal and child health and in sexual and reproductive health and rights. Specially trained nurses support men in attending their children’s births. The community works together to make men committed and involved fathers and caregivers. We work with couples to improve communication and partnership and when we find men have used violence in the home they are enrolled in ‘reflection groups’ for counselling and therapy.

‘What young people want, what young people need’

Our ASK (Access, Services and Knowledge) programme focuses on the need for youth-friendly services in seven countries. It starts by finding out what young people want and what they need – acknowledging them as the experts in their own lives. It builds their strengths, challenges stigma and taboos to improve the environment, develops and adapts services, and improves access to information and comprehensive sexuality education. The result is services that young people know about and identify as their own.

Mainstreaming the marginalised

LGBT people are often marginalised due to the extreme stigma and discrimination they face in some parts of the world. These are barriers to appropriate HIV and sexual and reproductive health and rights information and services. Many local SRHR organisations have difficulty working openly with these groups, especially where they have been criminalised. With partners in the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Alliance, Rutgers has explored ways to mainstream sexual diversity into our programmes and services. We help service providers confront prejudices, whether personal or cultural, using learning programmes to build the foundations of change.