Women living through humanitarian crises face significant barriers when trying to prevent unwanted pregnancy and meet their basic sexual and reproductive health needs. Intimate partner violence (IPV) and reproductive coercion (RC) negatively impact women’s health and well-being and are strongly associated with poor reproductive health including unintended pregnancy.
In the uncertain environment of refugee camps, a woman’s ability to manage her reproductive life is crucial to protecting her health and autonomy. ARCHES counselling sensitizes women to the issues of IPV and RC during routine reproductive health services. It empowers them with strategies to address IPV and RC, and to control their pregnancy decisions.
The ARCHES intervention was initially developed in the United States and has since been adapted for use in urban Kenya and Bangladesh. ARCHES trains existing health providers to identify reproductive coercion (RC) and intimate partner violence (IPV). It further trains them to empower women and girls with strategies and resources to use family planning (FP), and address RC and IPV during standard clinic-based family planning and abortion counselling interactions.
Through a co-design process with Rohingya women and girls, ARCHES will be adapted for use in refugee camps. ARCHES will improve practice by creating a mechanism for coordination between existing reproductive health and violence support services and breaking down barriers for women and girls who may be intimidated or stigmatized by accessing IPV services directly.
Adapting ARCHES for this setting will support the humanitarian community in improving provision of sexual and reproductive health care and strengthen linkages with community-based IPV services, which are greatly needed.
Through the process of prototyping, testing, and iterative feedback, the project will develop an adapted ARCHES intervention package, including a provider training manual and counselling materials, based on the previous adaptation.
The team will use an empowerment evaluation approach to continuously monitor and improve intervention implementation, and project findings will be documented for national and international dissemination.
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