Strengthening Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Latin America and the Caribbean
Sexual and reproductive health and rights are at the heart of the most critical decisions that all people, especially adolescent girls, will make in their lives.
Roughly one-quarter of Latin America and the Caribbean’s population, an estimated 237 million, is between 10 to 24 years of age.
When young people are empowered to make decisions over their lives and bodies through comprehensive sexuality education and access to reproductive health services, the impacts are significant:
- Open, comprehensive, and factual sexual and reproductive health care and education fosters a positive, respectful, and responsible approach to sexuality and relationships.
- It allows young people to discover the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences free of coercion, discrimination, and violence.
- Having access to sexual and reproductive health information and services provides young people, especially young women, the freedom to responsibly decide if, when, with whom, and how often to have children.
Despite significant efforts, Latin America and the Caribbean has the second-highest rate globally of adolescent pregnancies in girls aged 15 to 19. It is the only region in the world where this trend is going upwards, particularly in girls younger than 15 years.
The high rate of adolescent pregnancy is compounded by a lack of knowledge about sexual and reproductive health and rights, disempowering gender norms, and limited access to health facilities or services.
In addition to negative attitudes towards sex and sexuality, these factors result in undesired outcomes like sexually transmitted infections, unplanned pregnancies, and unsafe abortions.
These results have repercussions that go beyond adolescence. They contribute to a continuation of intergenerational cycles of poverty, exclusion, and vulnerability.
The Rights from the Start project uses feminist and human rights-based approaches to promote and advance comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
We work collaboratively with allies from civil society movements, community leaders, educators, researchers, decision-makers, health care workers, women, men, and young people in Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, and Canada.
We are working to ensure the delivery, promotion, and advancement of sexual and reproductive health and rights for women, men, and young people - especially adolescent girls.
We want all people everywhere to be empowered to make free and informed decisions that are right for them.