Rutgers is an international centre of expertise on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) founded and based in the Netherlands. Their research and many of their projects are carried out in the Netherlands and most primary and secondary schools here use their sexuality education packages. Their expertise is also applied worldwide. They support their partners internationally (across Europe, and in Africa, and Asia) to improve sexual and reproductive health and the acceptance of sexual rights and gender equality in their countries. They approach sensitive issues in a positive way and have gained a wealth of experience in making sexuality, and sexual and reproductive rights a topic of discussion within different cultural contexts.
They supervise most of their international projects from their head quarters, working closely with their implementing partners and providing hands-on support when needed. Additionally, they jointly develop programmes, strategies and activities with their offices in Pakistan, Indonesia and Uganda. In 2013 they closed their office in Vietnam.
They select their partners in Africa and Asia carefully. They prefer to liaise with local civil society and government organisations with experience working on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. In some cases they work together with Dutch NGOs such as Oxfam and Simavi
People are free to make sexual and reproductive choices, respecting the rights of others, in supportive societies.
Rutgers' mission statement
They empower people through education and improve access to information and services. They strengthen professionals, organisations and societies. They connect research, implementation and advocacy.
Rutgers combines the strengths of the organizations it stems from by focusing on three interlinked pillars in its work: programme implementation, research and advocacy. One of the main assets of the organization is the combination of work in the Netherlands and in other countries.
Programme implementation focuses on access to and quality of comprehensive sexuality education, access to and quality of SRH service provision and creating acceptance and understanding for young people’s sexuality. In doing so, Rutgers collaborates intensively with and provides support to professionals and local partner organizations.
Research, carried out by Rutgers and its collaborating partners, is aimed at strengthening the evidence base of interventions, and development and measurement of sexual health indicators.
Through its advocacy, Rutgers aims at policy development, adaptation and enforcement in The Netherlands, by local governments abroad and at international level. The work carried out by Rutgers is characterized by a positive and rights-based approach. The strength Rutgers is known for lies in developing effective, evidence-based approaches and interventions, dealing in a positive way with sexuality and sexual and reproductive rights within different cultural contexts.
What they do
In many countries women, young people and marginalised groups lack freedom and/or information to make their own choices when it comes to their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). They use their knowledge of and expertise in SRHR both in the Netherlands as well as abroad, in countries where a great deal is left to be desired concerning these issues. To continue their efforts is necessary for future generations in their country as well as elsewhere.
In many countries sexual and reproductive health issues are surrounded with taboos and health risks.
For example: do try to buy a condom in India when you’re not married. Or, try and ask your Indonesian teacher about sexuality education. And, please don’t hold hands in Uganda if you are a gay couple…
In their international work they mainly focus on:
-Comprehensive sexuality education for young people.
-Getting sexual and reproductive health and rights accepted for everyone.
-Access to contraception (for example the female condom), safe abortion and quality reproductive health care.
-Discussing sensitive topics such as sexual diversity and (safe) abortion.
-Preventing gender-based violence and involving men by changing their view on masculinity.
-Discussing population growth and the underlying factor of poverty
Improving the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of people in Europe, Africa and Asia, that is where Rutgers wants to play a leading role. They succeed in discussing sexual and reproductive health issues, such as family planning and the right to self-determination, even in countries where these are viewed as sensitive topics.
They respect cultural nuances when implementing projects, training sessions and lesson packages.
Apart from this, they do scientific research and they passionately advocate for progessive policies for sexual and reproductive health and rights in order to change (civil) society. This combination makes them unique.
Where is Rutgers International