Filipino charity Roots of Health, recognised for its work providing pregnancy-related services and raising awareness of reproductive health rights and family planning, is one of 23 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) worldwide to receive a 2016 Stars Impact Award.
Stars Foundation follows a rigorous referral and selection process to find, recognise and reward outstanding local NGOs working to improve the wellbeing and life chances of children in the countries with the highest rates of under-five mortality.
In the Philippines fewer than 60 per cent of women have access to reproductive healthcare. Religious conservatism constrains access to basic knowledge of sexual and reproductive health.
In Palawan, the southwest of Philippines, 25 per cent of pregnant women are teenagers. Nationally, 50 per cent of pregnancies are unplanned and 14 women die daily from avoidable pregnancy issues.
The Philippines is one of a few countries worldwide with rising rates of HIV. In 2015, there were 22 new reported cases of HIV every day. From about aged 15 many young people begin having sex and Palawan’s youth start one year earlier than the national average, according to the government.
A lack of sexual health education puts sexually active young people at high risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases and HIV at an early age.
Roots of Health – established in 2009 – increases awareness of and access to family planning information and reproductive health services, including contraceptives.
It provides over 3,000 women and girls with family planning and pregnancy services. Additionally, in rural and urban schools, it educates male and female adolescents on human rights, family relationships, nutrition, pregnancy and pre- and post-natal care as well as unplanned pregnancies.
The organisation’s beneficiaries with potential as Community Health Advocates are trained to assist the clinical team and track the progress of pregnant women in their communities. Youth Advocates are trained how to educate peers on reproductive health and provide referrals for reproductive health services and HIV testing. These advocates help ensure the sustainability of programmes.
Since 2013, Roots of Health has trained 56 Community Health Advocates, 246 Youth Advocates and reached 30,000 students across Palawan.
Muna Wehbe, CEO of Stars Foundation – “For ten years the Stars Impact Awards have identified and awarded outstanding locally-led organisations that are making an impact on the lives of children.
These organisations are beacons of effective practice and know best when it comes to spending their award funding. Unrestricted funding helps local charities light their own path toward becoming stronger, creating more sustainable futures for themselves and the people they serve.”
As part of the award package, Roots of Health will receive US$50,000 of flexible funding and capacity building support.
This year, Stars is awarding 23 organisations from 11 countries ranging from the Philippines to Palestine for their work with disadvantaged children.
Representatives from each award-winning NGO will take the stage at the Philanthropreneurship Forum, entitled “Generation Impact: Harnessing the Power of Giving” which will be held at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria on 16 January 2017.