Project Description

Sexual and Reproductive Health Programme

General overview

This project, which is fully funded by the Julia Taft Refugee Fund and the Embassy of the United States of America in Malta, is a joint effort between the following Maltese NGOs / institutions:
• Kopin
• Integra Foundation

In addition, training will be provided for and by the midwives of Mater Dei Hospital, NGO experts and the refugees themselves.

Main challenges
1. Lack of information provision to refugee women concerning SRH issues.
2. Lack of mainstream resources and cross-sectoral cooperation in the field of SRH in relation to refugee and migrant women.
3. Lack of research on good practices and existing resources.

Project time frame: 16 months (September 2014 to December 2015).

The project envisages organising a total of 20 focus groups, facilitated by two trainers with the support of cultural mediators. This should allow all stakeholders to engage in intensive discussions, joint learning processes and networking opportunities. Frequent meetings will also allow Kopin and its partners to address a variety of interrelated topics, including FGM, SGBV, as well as cultural diversity in the context of health and gender specific issues.

Kopin will seek to make this intervention a good practice example for other practitioners to follow, and potentially for the Maltese and other governments to support such initiatives in the medium-term or even long-term, thus increasing the sustainability of the project.

Lastly, it is pertinent to emphasise the importance of this project in terms of cross-sectoral networking opportunity. From past experience, Kopin has come to hold a strong belief that projects involving a wide range of key stakeholders and beneficiaries in an active and participatory manner have a highly positive effect on promoting cooperation and the sharing of knowledge and resources beyond any project’s time frame.

Specific objectives

The overall objective of this project is to contribute to an improved sexual and reproductive health (SRH) of refugee women and their families, and the training of MDH staff working in the area of midwifery and obstetrics in Malta.

Specifically, the project will design and implement a research-based intervention model to enable medical professionals in Malta to adopt a more culturally-sensitive approach towards providing better SRH services for refugee women in Malta.

Key activities
A.1 – Conducting research concerning existing needs, existing gaps that are not yet addressed by mainstream services, materials currently available in Malta and applicable good practices from abroad, including the USA. It is foreseen that two researchers will be dedicating a total of 100 hours to conduct a combination of desk research, field research and interviews.

A.2 – The development of support tools, namely:
• a multi-language DVD (intended for refugee and migrant women) on pregnancy and pre/post-natal matters, female genital mutilation (FGM), sexual orientation and sexual gender-based violence (SGBV); and
• a multi-language leaflet with information, including references to the DVD. These tools will be disseminated widely to all stakeholders interacting with refugee women in Malta and beyond.

A.3 – Implementation of a series of focus groups with:
• midwives and obstetrics nursing staff, including follow-up discussions from the ERF 2013 seminar;
• asylum seekers, refugees and other migrant women who are expectant mothers, their families and other women who would be interested in discussing such matters and topics (pregnancy, family planning, STDs, and sexual orientation (all topics to be discussed within a culturally sensitive context);
• other stakeholders including Mater Dei Hospital staff, Kopin, UNHCR Malta, other civil society groups (especially Integra Foundation, JRS Malta), Migrants Health Unit (Ministry of Health), AWAS (Home Affairs Ministry), the University of Malta and other interested entities.