Providing choice on the frontlines of the climate crisis

For many of our clients, the climate crisis is a daily reality. When drought hits, they need to walk further to find water, and when harvests fail, they can struggle to feed their families. To adapt to these challenging circumstances, whether re-locating or re-entering the workforce, women and girls have made clear that they want reproductive choice.

This is true for women in coastal communities in Senegal, who are feeling the impacts of climate change. Rising sea levels have led to coastal erosion, damaging homes and threatening the mangroves that families depend on for their livelihoods.

MSI has partnered with Greenpeace to provide women and girls with reproductive choice. Binetou Sonko, a community leader in the coastal town of Joal, explained why access to choice is essential for women on the frontlines of the climate crisis: “Resources are scarce now because of climate change. Thanks to family planning, we can support ourselves, look after our children and get on with everyday activities. This is why we use contraception, to reclaim our lives.”

Reproductive choice and the climate crisis are inter-linked, and we’re working to develop programs that support climate adaptation and resilience. We’re also working to mitigate the impact of our operations on the environment. The COVID-19 pandemic has been an opportunity to embrace new ways of working, in particular the integration of remote working tools to minimize travel. Other initiatives are under way to minimize MSI’s footprint, and include environmental standards for MSI’s outreach vehicles, as well as solar panel installation on clinics and support offices to increase use of renewable energy.

Women and girls are the hardest hit by the climate crisis.

Gender discrimination, lower incomes, and limited access to resources mean that women and girls suffer longer and more severely from climate-related disasters. Women facing climate-related disasters need contraception to help build resilience, but often, they lose access to healthcare services during a crisis.

MSI estimates that climate disruptions could cause an additional 6.2 million unintended pregnancies, 2.1 million unsafe abortions, and 5,800 pregnancy-related deaths over the next decade.

Click here to read our full 2021 Year in Review!

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