Today is World Population Day and this year's theme is "Family Planning is a Human Right" - something we believe strongly at CHASE Africa. Giving a woman the opportunity to choose the number and spacing of her children leads to better outcomes for the whole family.
The UN have published nine standards that direct how countries should uphold the human right to family planning. Key are "Available" and "Accessible" - women will not be able to use family planning if they are not able to reach it from where they live, or if it is not available from healthcare providers. Our partners work hand in hand with the Ministry of Health to ensure availability of family planning supplies. To make those supplies accessible means taking them to the communities where they are needed - hence mobile clinics.
Also absolutely vital is "Informed decision-making". Before a clinic arrives in a community, mobilisers will spend time going door-to-door, visiting women and explaining the options that are available for family planning. For some women, particularly in rural areas, this will be the first time they have had the opportunity to consider family planning. These visits can include talking to partners and husbands - often the biggest barrier to using family planning is the "man of the house"! But once the benefits of smaller families are explained and understood clinic staff find that attitudes change.
A woman in Barsaloi, Kenya, receives a contraceptive implant.
You can help women access good quality family
planning by supporting our work.
£7.50 is all it costs to provide one woman
with her choice of family planning.
We each have a carbon footprint from activities such as driving, flying, heating our homes, powering our devices, the “stuff” we buy that is manufactured and transported on our behalf… There’s even a part that comes from things like schools, hospitals and the provision of the services that we benefit from. This footprint comes, mostly, from the burning of fossil fuels which release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. (Food production has a role to play too.) These carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions are having an effect on the climate, leading to changes which affect the world’s poorest first and worst.
Offsetting means acknowledging our impact on the planet and doing something positive about it. Before we offset the best thing we can do is reduce our own carbon emissions, but offsetting recognises that we can never reduce our own footprint to zero.
Now, with CHASE Africa, you can offset your carbon footprint from your summer holiday flights, your annual mileage or just from day-to-day living and, in the process, fund tree planting at schools with our partner Friends of Mau Watershed (FOMAWA). Trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and bring many benefits to the schools.
FOMAWA plant Eucalyptus woodlots on schools around Molo and Rongai in western Kenya. School children help with the planting and, in time, are able to harvest and sell a proportion of the trees that they have grown, which brings in a much needed income for the schools. When the trees are harvested about 10 years after planting, each tree will be worth around 3,500 Kenyan Shillings - just under £27. The majority of the wood from the trees will be sold for electricity poles and timber. This means that the carbon remains locked up for many years. The wood that is sold from each tree will have removed over a quarter of a tonne of CO₂ from the atmosphere (the whole tree will have removed more CO₂, but we only count the carbon which we can be certain will not be returned to the atmosphere). Schools plant, on average, 425 trees, resulting in around 121 tonnes of CO₂ removed from the atmosphere - equal to the average annual carbon footprint of 12 people living in the UK. The rest of the wood is generally used as firewood, either by the school or in the local community, relieving pressure on the indigenous forests.
Whilst the trees are growing they are a wonderful educational tool, attract wildlife, reduce soil erosion and generally improve the school environment for both children and staff.
CHASE Africa has been working with FOMAWA since 2004 and with our funding they have planted over 50,000 trees in more than 100 schools. Money raised from the sale of carbon offsets will allow us to expand our work with FOMAWA – schools in the area are very keen to be part of our projects as they see the benefits that other schools are enjoying.