‘Before, women had to walk or take a motorbike to get up to the hospital on the outskirts of town for ultrasounds. But motorbikes are dangerous for pregnant women on the winding roads. Cook Islands Family Welfare Association’s (CIFWA) clinic is in the middle of town, right on the bus route and is much easier and safer for women to access.’
Ms Taraivosa Nakolinivalu, International Planned Parenthood Federation’s Quality Improvement and Country Desk Officer for the Cook Islands.
Project name: Progressing Gender Equality in the Pacific (PGEP) program
Outcome areas: Enhancing agency
Project partner: Pacific Community (SPC)
Total funding: $3,817,332*
Funding timeframe: 2013–2018
Quality statistics help everybody in a project cycle. However, data is only as good as our ability to understand, interpret and use the information that is presented. Through the PGEP program, Pacific Women is supporting work in the Cook Islands to improve the analysis and presentation of gender statistics, with the aim of making them accessible, interesting and ready for a wide range of uses.
The project is implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC) to support national governments and civil society to develop specific strategies for increasing capacity to mainstream gender. Gender mainstreaming is the concept of bringing the goal of gender equality into the mainstream of society, rather than it being dealt with as a separate, segregated issue.
In 2012, the project assisted with a stocktake of the Cook Islands Government’s gender mainstreaming. One of the areas identified as a potential entry point of intervention in Government to strengthen capacities, was gender statistics.
In August 2014, a regional workshop on gender statistics was organised by SPC and the United Nations Statistics Division. This event identified some priorities for future work, including the production of a core set of gender indicators for the Pacific and the need for regular dialogue between data users and producers to increase the quality and use of gender related statistics and analysis.
A subsequent workshop in October 2015 built on these outcomes, with a focus on the use of gender statistics for the Post–2015 Development Agenda.19 During the four-day workshop, participants from national statistics offices, national gender equality focal points, national planning offices, NGOs as well as development partners (Pacific Women, SPC and various United Nations agencies), worked together to develop national plans to produce a core set of relevant gender statistics.
As a result, the Cook Islands Statistics Office has been reviewing alternative ways of data dissemination, including infographics, as a simple, visual way of displaying complex data to users with relatively low levels of statistical literacy. The Office anticipates that the infographics will spark people’s curiosity, raise awareness about a particular issue, educate on the importance of statistics and data as well as create demand for other statistical products.
Using this approach, the Cook Islands Statistics Office is improving the analysis and presentation of gender statistics and improving the use of gender statistics in informed decision making, which were two key aims of the workshop.
*This activity is part of a larger program.
Project name: Partnerships For Health and Rights: Working for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights for all in the Pacific
Outcome area: Enhancing agency
Project partner: International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)
Total funding: $1,500,000*
Funding timeframe: 2015–2018
Walking uphill to the hospital in the tropical heat whilst heavily pregnant to access the ultrasound at the main hospital was not something that Cook Islander women looked forward to. However, IPPF has supported the CIFWA to provide women with better access to reproductive health services, including ultrasound, close to their communities.
’Before, women had to walk or take a motorbike to get up to the hospital on the outskirts of town for ultrasounds. But motorbikes are dangerous for pregnant women on the winding roads. CIFWA’s clinic is in the middle of town, right on the bus route and is much easier and safer for women to access,’ said Ms Taraivosa Nakolinivalu, IPPF Quality Improvement and Country Desk Officer for the Cook Islands.
‘I feel comfortable coming to CIFWA clinic. It is welcoming and easy to access. I don’t have to wait for long. They provide good service and it is confidential,’ said a CIFWA client.
The range of services offered by the CIFWA also includes obstetrics, family planning, sexually transmitted infection and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention as well as sexually transmitted infection treatment including voluntary confidentiality counselling. In 2015, CIFWA increased its number of service delivery points, including in hard to reach areas of the country such as Aitutaki.
CIFWA’s services remain relevant given the high rates of STIs in the Cook Islands, particularly among young people aged between 15 and 29 years old. In 2015, CIFWA delivered 7,840 sexual reproductive health services to 6,220 clients. Of these, 2,739 (44 percent) were young people. In addition, CIFWA improved its service delivery to people with disabilities in partnership with the Institution for People with Disability and Mental Illness. CIFWA renovated one of its service delivery points, named Te Kainga, and now provides targeted sexual reproductive health and non-communicable disease services to people living with physical and mental disabilities.
*This activity is part of a larger program.