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Friday, 4th September 2020

Project Safidy brings together organisations throughout Madagascar to host popular skill building sessions

By Emma Roney

It has been exciting to see the contributions of the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) Network coming together, despite the challenge of lockdowns and travel restrictions. Throughout July, Project Safidy facilitated the first two capacity building sessions for Madagascar’s SRHR network. Capacity building aims to develop skills and share knowledge among participants. Originally, we had planned for these forums to be delivered face-to-face, but like so many projects in 2020 we’ve had to be flexible and creative in their implementation.

The SRHR Conference in Antananarivo, Madagascar hosted by Project Safidy in 2019, involved many of the organisations that form the SRHR network today.

Earlier in the year we asked members of the network what topics they were particularly interested to learn more about. They highlighted the SRHR concept and approach; monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL); and accountability, which became the topics of the first two forums.

The first two-day session was held online using Google Meet, a new program for many participants. Members from 11 organisations participated in discussions hosted by SEED, Médecins du Monde, and Marie Stopes Madagascar about the meaning and importance of SRHR, the state of SRHR in Madagascar, and using the UNESCO sexual education framework tool to promote SRHR among young people.

Screenshot from Google Meet
A capacity building session being held on Google Meet: an innovation forced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Word must have spread about the success of the first session because numbers doubled to 26 participants from 20 organisations attending the second two-day session on MEL and accountability. Three new organisations also expressed interest in joining the SRHR network. This time, discussions were facilitated by Jhpiego, PSI Madagascar, and the UNFPA.

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A typical road in rural Madagascar during the dry season

The SRHR network is run by its members, for its members. From suggesting topics of interest, to leading sessions based on areas of expertise and experience in order to build the capacity of others, member organisations play a key role in the ongoing development of the network. Project Safidy is very proud of the SRHR community that it has created.

The success of using an online platform has got us thinking about how we can use group video sessions in other Project Safidy activities. As a national project working in all 22 regions of Madagascar, one of the biggest challenges we face is the logistics of reaching all the schools in which we work: roads are notoriously poor and travel by plane is expensive. The team is busy planning how we can use technology to break down this barrier to reach even more young people in Madagascar.