Institution: Ipas Development Foundation
Institution Country: India
Implementation Country: India
Area of Focus: Safe Abortion

The Challenge

In India, barriers such as cultural stigmas and a lack of sexual and reproductive health education limit women and girls’ access to safe abortion. Although abortion has been legal in India for nearly 50 years, approximately 60% of procedures performed in the country are unsafe, putting women and girls at risk of injury and death.

About the Innovation

Ipas Development Foundation works to mitigate this risk by empowering young women to fully exercise their sexual and reproductive health and rights. The organization brought the model of Comprehensive Abortion Care – a holistic approach to accessing safe and legal abortion services – to India. This model is now being adopted by the government under the National Health Mission.

Ipas’s youth-based sexual and reproductive health and rights outreach program addresses a number of barriers and educates young women on sexual and reproductive health. Trained youth ambassadors deliver peer-to-peer education and connect young women to healthcare providers, while community healthcare workers and elders receive education to help reduce cultural stigmas. The program currently operates in 200 districts across 12 states in India.

“The innovation helped me gain knowledge about my own body and enabled me to help other young women of my age. I feel proud that I can reach young women who often don’t voice their SRH concerns due to shame, fear, or guilt. I provide them with information and help them avail services they need. I love my role as a youth leader because this has helped me earn immense respect in my community.”

Smita Singh, Youth leader from Madhya Pradesh