Countries: Angola, Colombia, Eritrea, Guinea, India, Kenya, Nepal, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Zambia
Client(s): David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Other
Services: Assessment, Program Development, Strategic Planning, Technical Assistance, Training
Technical Expertise: Family Planning & Reproductive Health, Maternal Health
The Astarte Project enhanced access to quality reproductive health (RH) services by fostering leaders in communities affected by crisis.
Today, there are approximately 70 million refugees and displaced people globally. Conflict, natural disasters, and other crises are becoming increasingly frequent and long-lasting. In fact, the average displacement lasts 17 years. Despite the growing need to provide lifesaving RH services to displaced populations, RH is often neglected in crisis response.
In 1995, a groundbreaking report surveyed the RH needs of refugees. In response to this research, the Reproductive Health Response in Crisis (RHRC) Consortium (formerly known at the Reproductive Health for Refugees Consortium) formed to promote sustainable, comprehensive RH services for all women, men and adolescents affected by crisis. The Consortium continues to work in a number of areas, including service provision; advocacy; design, monitoring and evaluation; research; training; assessment; and documentation and dissemination.
On behalf of the RHRC, JSI administered the Astarte Project (formally known as the Small Grants/Capacity Building Program). The Astarte Project worked to strengthen grassroots efforts to provide RH services in crises. Over time, the Astarte Project met the evolving needs of local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that seek to provide RH services to crisis-affected communities. Along with granting seed money to these grassroots groups, the Astarte Project took a 3-pronged approach in strengthening local initiatives:
- Provide technical RH information and assistance
- Offer organizational strengthening
- Link and form regional networks of local NGOs that provide RH services
For the past 15 years, the Astarte Project has granted over $1 million to local NGOs in nearly 20 countries. The impact of supporting local initiatives has made an invaluable impact on the lives of those affected by crisis. The increased availability of reproductive health services has saved lives both in the crisis and during recovery.
The Astarte Project advocated that the very basic RH services be provided at the onset of a crisis. These services are outlined in the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) for Reproductive Health. As the situation stabilizes, comprehensive RH services should be provided. These include: maternal and newborn health, family planning, clinical and psychosocial care for survivors of gender-based violence, adolescent-friendly services, and treatment and prevention of STIs, including HIV.
The Astarte Project was part of JSI's Reproductive Health for Refugees Project which encompasses multiple initiatives that seek to increase quality RH services in crisis-affected areas.