Establishing an Innovative Source of Funding in Guatemala

Publication date: 2006

Establishing an Innovative Source for Funding in Guatemala In 1996, because the Guatemalan government and the media actively opposed family planning/reproductive health (FP/RH), the country lacked the FP/RH-related policies, programs, and financial resources necessary for an environment conducive to improving the population’s health situation and considering contraceptive security. In response, POLICY helped create two civil society advocacy networks that have been formidable advocates for family planning and reproductive health, particularly during election campaigns and policymaking processes. To launch effective advocacy efforts, the networks used results from up-to-date legal and regulatory, data, and policy analyses that linked the RH situation (maternal and child health) and the need for financing of family planning and reproductive health. POLICY worked with both civil society and the Congress to form alliances in support of family planning and reproductive health. The below newspaper article, “Women Seek Alliances with Congress,” is an example of the collaboration. It comes from a joint press conference in 2006 to announce the position of women’s networks and the Human Rights Congress Commission regarding the presidential veto of the Law of Universal Access to Family Planning. The second document is a joint legal document to request that the Constitutional Court overturn the veto. [image: image1.jpg] [image: image2.emf] There was significant media coverage of the efforts of local advocacy groups, Mayan women’s groups, and the national youth assembly, to overturn the presidential veto of the law of universal access to family planning. (See the below newspaper article covering the Mayan groups’ demand to pass the law and also the quotes taken from various news clips). [image: image3.jpg] The law of universal access to family planning also contributes to reducing economic problems which burden women and families because women who are able to decide the number of children they want will have the opportunity to obtain better jobs and better education. ~ Dr. Rebeca Guizar (coordinator of INSTANCIA women’s advocacy group) We urge the Constitutional Court to reject the presidential veto and allow the law to take life and benefit all women. ~ Legislator Mirna Ponce (an ally within Congress) Regarding reproductive health, we proposed that it becomes a more open subject. It needs to be dealt with so that unplanned pregnancies, STIs, and HIV/AIDS don’t continue increasing in our country. ~ National Youth Assembly Representative The advocacy efforts were successful, as the presidential veto of the law was overturned by Congress. The law (below) was ratified in April 2006 despite organized opposition from the Church, a highly publicized presidential veto, and a challenge in the Constitutional Court. [image: image4.jpg] [image: image5.jpg] In addition, financial resources have been allocated for family planning and reproductive health—today, a law mandates that 15 percent of the tax on alcohol go to FP/RH programs (below). In 2006, this amount totaled approximately US$4 million in revenues. An additional challenge remains for FP/RH advocates, however, given that these funds have yet to be disbursed to benefit FP/RH programs. [image: image6.jpg]

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