WHO WE ARE
Likhaan is a non-government, non-profit organization founded in 1995 by a group of feminists, political acti‐ vists, community women leaders and health workers. It was organized to respond to women’s expressed need for sexual and reproductive rights and health services. After more than two decades, Likhaan’s work has multiplied, and so have the people involved in running its programs. There are more than 70 program staff, 13 Trustees, and 8,000 members of Likhaan-organized community associations.
We currently operate in five Metro Manila cities and two provinces— specifically Manila, Malabon, Navotas, Pasay, Quezon City, San Jose del Monte Bulacan, and Eastern Samar.
Likhaan believes in human rights, equality and justice, and the power of citizens to transform their communities, especially as these apply to women. Our vision is of a free, egalitarian and democratic Philippines where all enjoy equal rights and opportunities for good health and development. Our mission is to help women and poor communitiesharness their resources and engage government and other powerholders to transform unjust and inequitable situations. Our long term goal is for women and their families and communities to fully enjoy their right to health, including their right to sexual and reproductive health.
WHAT WE DO
Community Education and Organizing
Trained women and youth organizers discuss practical aspects of health, gender, culture, human rights, governance and other social issues with neighbors and peers. They organize women’s and youth health associations, examine problems and options, and act collectively on their common concerns—such as lack of work and decent housing; disasters; unintended pregnancies and maternal complications; domestic violence; and poor health services. The associations assist members and engage local officials and health providers to address practical and strategic needs.
Concretely, Likhaan-supported organizations have helped their communities by providing relief during disasters like fires, floods, and typhoons; putting up libraries where older youth help younger ones with schoolwork; generating funds from local governments to pay for reproductive health services and birthing facilities; educating pregnant women and caring for those about to deliver in maternal waiting homes; transporting women with complications to emergency obstetric hospitals; and operating credit and rice coop‐ eratives. Community organizations discuss responsible voting during elections; and join demonstrations against policies that violate women’s rights.
Primary Care Clinics for Women
Trained nurses and midwives run eight primary care clinics for women in poor communities. They also conduct outreach services to hard-to-reach areas. Services include contraception, antenatal and post‐ partum care, birthing (in licensed birthing homes), VIA and cryotherapy to prevent cervical cancer, treatment of reproductive tract infections, teaching breast selfexam, and counselling and referral for gender-based violence. Over 40,000 consultations are done annually, mostly for contraception. Clinic services are free of charge. Complicated and surgical cases are referred to nearby public hospitals.
Nurses and midwives are trained to provide clientcentered, gender-sensitive and respectful care. They work closely with community health workers (CHWs) trained to do auxiliary health work and community organizing for health, and with community health promoters (CHPs) trained to provide peer education and counseling. CHWs and CHPs perform vital linking. They link health professionals and the formal health care system with the social determinants and community relations aspects of health work. They also link the patients and communities with the technical and health system requirements of health care, such as examination and treatment procedures, drug regimens, social insurance, health budgets, and others.
Our advocacy staff do research-based policy proposals and advocate to policymakers, often with other CSOs. We have produced policy papers on abortion; emergency obstetric care; Manila's contraception ban; family planning; sexual and reproductive health (RH) and reproductive rights (RR); comprehensive sexuality education standards; fundamentalism; and human rights- and ethics-based guidelines for providers of adolescent RH. We have also done operations research to improve programs, such as a study on the effec‐ tiveness of education programs on RH for adolescents.
Likhaan works with CSO partners to advance the com‐ mon goal of RH and RR. As the secretariat of the RH Advocacy Network (RHAN) elected in 2004, 2010, and 2015-2018, it marshalled the network to press for the RH Law. With RHAN, it organized mass mobilizations to demonstrate the broad constituency for the RH Bill. With the passage of the law, Likhaan works actively with agencies like the Department of Health (DOH), Commission on Human Rights, PhilHealth, and Department of Education to ensure its implementation in the face of continuing opposition. As elected CSOrep to the National Implementation Team (NIT) of the RH Law (2015-2016, 2016-2018), Likhaan facilitates CSO engagement with the DOH to strengthen RH programs. Among the current thrusts are maximizing service delivery of CSOs; mainstreaming the role of community-based CSOs in engendering public support for and participation in RH programs; and mobilizing funding for CSO-DOH collaborations.
Likhaan’s current Board of Trustees: Magdalena Bacalando (president, MOTHERS and PiLaKKK); Esperanza I. Cabral, MD (former DSWD and DOH Sec.); Sylvia Estrada-Claudio, MD, PhD (Dean, UP CSWCD); Gemma Conde (president, AWHA and Kanlungan Sentrong Mamamayan); Shiela Quigan (rank-and-file staff rep); Rina Jimenez-David (columnist, PDI); Jocelle Saluib (community youth rep); Janette Loreto-Garin, MD (RH Law lead author; former DOH Sec.); Junice L. D. Melgar, MD (Executive Director); Elizabeth A. Pangalangan, LlB (professor, UP College of Law); Jaime Galvez-Tan, MD (former DOH Sec.); Nathalie A. Verceles, PhD (professor, UP CSWCD); Giselle Töngi, (actor, host of Kabayan Today).