Friday, October 9, 2015 | News

Ipas works to prevent sexual violence and unintended adolescent pregnancy in Latin America

International Day of the Girl,
recognized on October 11, calls for a movement toward gender equity by
investing in and empowering girls. Ipas programs in Bolivia, Mexico and
Central America are making this investment through initiatives to end
sexual violence against adolescent girls—and to empower them to prevent
unwanted pregnancy.

“Adolescent girls are disproportionately affected by sexual
violence,” explains Ipas Youth Advisor Cecilia Espinoza. “Health
programs for adolescents therefore must include services to prevent
sexual violence and provide care to those affected by it. This includes
access to contraception, emergency contraception and safe abortion.”

In Bolivia, Ipas is supporting the government’s initiative to reduce
adolescent pregnancy by training public health-care professionals at
designated youth-friendly health centers on how to provide the full
range of contraceptive methods to young people. In partnership with
young leaders, Ipas is also working to provide young people with the
knowledge they need to obtain contraceptive services at these

In Mexico, Ipas works with the health system to reduce barriers young
people face to accessing sexual and reproductive health
services—especially contraception and safe abortion. Training
health-care personnel on the laws and policies that govern this care for
adolescents helps providers to understand their obligations, decreases
myths and stigma around these issues, and reduces the number of young
people who are discriminated against or turned away.

In Nicaragua, Ipas is working with peer educators and young advocates
to educate their communities about how to prevent adolescent pregnancy,
violence against women, and sexual abuse of young people. This work
involves supporting the youth-led organization “Youth who believe in
other youth” and their efforts to combat sexual abuse through training
workshops with teachers, students, parents and the media (watch a short video about the group’s success).
Ipas has also conducted research on the impact of pregnancy resulting
from rape of girls and adolescents in the country; results are published
in the report “Between silence and impunity: Forced motherhood has the
face of a girl in Nicaragua.”

On International Day of the Girl, Ipas calls on policymakers,
health-care providers and advocates for women’s health and rights to
recognize that prevention of sexual violence and access to contraception
and safe abortion care are crucial to ensuring girls’ autonomy and
equality—a key goal in the newly announced 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“Ipas’s work in Latin America will contribute to the fulfillment of
the 2030 agenda, which calls on governments to guarantee young people
access to sexual and reproductive health services that are
youth-friendly, nonjudgmental and confidential,” Espinoza says.

Learn more about Ipas’s work with youth.

For more information, contact