For the last several weeks, we’ve been providing you complete and documented information on Catholic Relief Services projects that are directly involved in the promotion of contraception, condoms, and even abortion.
In the first video, we spotlighted CRS documents that promoted condom use.
In the second video, we showed you how CRS is the proprietor of an internet library that houses documents promoting contraception, abortion, homosexuality, and condom use.
In the third video, we proved to you that CRS created a health referral network in Cameroon that includes Planned Parenthood-like organizations.
In this report, we’re going to show you information that was so shocking, we could hardly believe it when we saw it a year ago. Catholic Relief Services created a health referral in Nigeria like the one in Cameroon … but CRS’s connection with the promotion of contraception in this network was even more direct, if that’s even possible. The video report below provides a thorough explanation of the problems with this project in Nigeria. In our previous reports, we’ve supplied the transcript of the video to complement the video itself, but this time, we are publishing the complete chapter on this project directly from our full report because it contained additional information not included in the video.
Since the publication of our first report, Catholic Relief Services and some elements of the USCCB have been quick to defend CRS’s activities. In one statement, CRS boldly claimed:
“To reach all those who need our help, we also participate in humanitarian initiatives undertaken by a wide range of groups, such as governments, other faith communities and secular institutions. Although some positions and practices of these institutions are not always consistent with the full range of Catholic teaching, CRS’ association with them is always and only focused on activities that are fully consistent with Catholic teaching”
First of all, CRS’s claim that “some positions and practices of” organizations that CRS partners with “are not always consistent with the full range of Catholic teaching” is both disingenuous and intelectually dishonest. The truth us, those groups are actively fighting AGAINST Catholic teaching, and CRS knows this.
But what you’re about to see will prove that CRS’s work with agencies – that actively fight against Catholic doctrine – are NOT “always and only” aligned with the moral teachings of the Church, as CRS claimed. In fact, what I’m about to show you is shocking proof that CRS created a mechanism to bring pro-abortion and contraception-spreading organizations into a referral network for services specifically related to sexual and reproductive health. The net effect is that young people put into the system created by CRS are being referred to agencies where they can obtain contraception.
Another OVC project run by Catholic Relief Services is called “Sustainable Mechanisms for Improving Livelihoods and Household Empowerment” (SMILE). While not specifically a 4Children project, SMILE-CRS runs in tandem with CRS’s 4Children project in Nigeria. As with the KIDSS project in Cameroon, the purpose of CRS’s SMILE project is to strengthen the networking and coordination of various support mechanisms for children. The problem is, that just like the KIDSS project, the Nigerian referral network being established by CRS includes a number of contraception-promoting organizations. Furthermore, CRS documentation shows that one of the primary purposes of the savings and lending communities being established by CRS through the SMILE project is to make provisions for “add on” services that include Sexual and Reproductive Health.
The SMILE project is a five year, $41 million, USAID-funded project that went from 2013-2018. According to a one-page explanation of the project by CRS, SMILE does the following:
- strengthens the organizational systems and technical capacity of the five State Ministries of Women Affairs and Social Development and the Social Welfare Departments of local government areas (LGAs) for effective coordination of the OVC response.
- empowers local civil society organizations (CSOs) through an umbrella grants mechanism, where CSOs receive subgrants to bolster their technical capacity and deliver high quality services at the community level.
- facilitates collaboration between CSOs and community stakeholders to promote local ownership and sustainability.
- establishes or supports Community Improvement Teams for the promotion of children’s welfare and rights, HIV stigma-reduction, and resource mobilization for community development.
The serious issues with the SMILE project become evident from the very outset, just by examining the partners in the SMILE consortium. On the website smileprojectnigeria.crs.org/, CRS explains that “CRS Nigeria www.crs.org leads the SMILE consortium consisting of ActionAid Nigeria www.actionaid.org/nigeria and Westat www.westat.com.” In a brief backgrounder on the project, CRS explains that ActionAid’s role is to “focus on systems strengthening at State and [Local Government Areas] LGA levels.” And on many different publications on the SMILE project, ActionAid’s logo is easily visible right next to the CRS logo.
CRS’s 2015 overview of the SMILE project explains in greater detail what ActionAid’s role in the project truly is. Page 2c says:
“Action-Aid Nigeria is strengthening the capacity of the State Ministries of Women Affairs and Social Development, the Social Welfare Departments of local government areas, and the non-profit partners working at the community level.”
In other words, ActionAid’s role is to help integrate the working relationships between government agencies and local non-profit organizations, creating a kind of referral network. The problem is that ActionAid, as an organization, is thoroughly committed to the spread of contraception and condoms, and has publicly condemned the Mexico City Policy, calling it a “Global Gag Rule.”
On ActionAid’s website is a training kit that it helped produce titled, “Integrated HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (ATM) Response Resource Kit for Civil Society Organizations in Nigeria.” According to the write-up on this training kit, ActionAid helped to create it under the leadership of the National Agency for Control of HIV/AID, and its purpose is to develop “community systems strengthening (CSS)” among Civil Society Organizations. It remains unclear when this toolkit was created, but its relation to ActionAid, since ActionAid was responsible for capacity strengthening under SMILE, cannot be overlooked.
Beginning on page 17 of the toolkit is a section titled “Activities to Motivate and Support Behavior Change.” The “Social Marketing” portion of these activities stresses the importance of promoting condoms and contraception. It says:
“Social marketing applies traditional commercial marketing tools and concepts such as the 4 P’s – product, price, promotion, and place (distribution) – to achieve the objectives of public health and other social programmes. Social marketing programmes involve products such as condoms, contraceptives, zinc tablets, or bednets, or may focus only on health practices or on influencing health-seeking behaviours.” (emphasis added)
On page 26, the toolkit provides “AIDS Key Messages,” and under the heading “Prevention” the kit says, “Sexually active people should be faithful to their partners and to use condoms each time they have sex.”
It also reinforces the condom message with the following two admonitions:
- Having unprotected sex when drunk increases the risk of HIV infection.
- Having unprotected sex in exchange for money or other material things increases your risk of HIV infection. (emphasis added)
In a text which encourages the use of condoms, “unprotected sex” means “sex without a condom.”
Under the heading “Communities,” in the same section, the toolkit makes the following suggestions:
- Couples can protect themselves by remaining faithful to each other, testing for HIV together and always using condoms.
- Use condoms each time you have sex.
- Every man and woman has the right to decide if and when they want to have a baby.
- Every man and women has the responsibility to prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.
Again, within the context of the toolkit, deciding “if and when to have a baby” refers to an alleged right to use or not use contraceptives. And the claim that men and women and a “responsibility to prevent unwanted pregnancies” includes the use of contraception and condoms.
On its own website “about us” page regarding emergency responses, ActionAid complains that during emergencies, women do not have access to abortion and contraception. Here’s what ActionAid says:
Given this complaint, it shouldn’t then be too surprising that ActionAid publicly denounced President Trump’s reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy, which prevents federal funds from going to overseas organizations that promote or commit abortion. Calling the Mexico City Policy the “Global Gag Rule,” ActionAid gave full-throated support for access to abortion, saying, “ActionAid firmly believes that women should have access to their full range of sexual and reproductive rights, and this includes access to information and safe abortions.”
Here is the full statement:
Expansion of global gag rule – ActionAid response
16 May, 2017
ActionAid’s Women’s Rights Campaigns Manager Sarah Carson, commenting on the widening of the global gag rule to restrict women’s access to sexual health information, contraception and safe abortions, said:
“President Trump’s expansion of the global gag rule will have a chilling effect on women’s access to contraception and safe abortions in the world’s poorest countries. Some of the poorest, most marginalised women in the world will have their rights restricted or taken away entirely, with grave consequences for their health.
“Such severe funding cuts could have a damaging effect on a broad range of health programs that provide lifesaving treatment and prevention options to women in need. This is part of a global trend that is seeing the rights of women and girls eroded.
“Now more than ever we must work together to defend the right of women and girls. ActionAid firmly believes that women should have access to their full range of sexual and reproductive rights, and this includes access to information and safe abortions.”
In 2012, ActionAid produced a document detailing its work in the field of “sexual and reproductive health and rights.” The front cover of the document (right) shows a woman holding a pack of condoms, but the document specifically states ActionAid’s full support for access to abortion.
On page 16, under the heading, “Spontaneous and Induced Abortion,” ActionAid provides a quote from a book titled, “Bodily Integrity and Conceptions of Subjectivity.” The quote says:
“The denial of the right to abortion enforces the kind of splitting that inevitably and continuously undermines a woman’s sense of self. Her womb and body are no longer hers to imagine. They have been turned over to the imagination of others, and those imaginings are then allowed to reign over her body as law.”
Immediately following this quote, ActionAid makes the following declaration:
“ActionAid firmly believes that women should have access to their full range of sexual and reproductive rights, and this includes access to information and safe abortions.”
In the introduction of this report, ActionAid mentions the intention to increase access to and use of contraceptives by women and girls. On page 4, ActionAid says:
“On the occasion of the Family Planning Summit there is a real opportunity to galvanize renewed political commitment and financial resources to enable more women and girls to use contraceptives by 2020.”
On page 6, ActionAid gave this quote from Margaret sanger, “No woman can call herself free until she can control her own body.”
On page 11, ActionAid explained its own role in the provision of contraception:
“When ActionAid Liberia first came to her county – to provide information and work with grassroots women’s rights organisations on SRHR – it was the first time she had had access to information and training on contraception.” (emphasis added)
At the end of the document, on page 26, ActionAid makes the following call for the provision of contraception:
“We therefore call for: …
- Humanitarian actors should take IPV and child marriage seriously and consider them life-threatening areas of concern. All actors working on SRHR should be trained to understand the links between IPV/child marriage and be able to provide referral to VAWG case management service providers. Similarly, VAWG service providers should understand these links and be able to provide support in safely accessing contraception and other SRHR services to a survivor of VAWG.”
In 2006, ActionAid produced report (which we found on the OVCSupport.org website) on the impact of girls’ education on HIV and sexual behavior titled, “Girl Power!” In the executive summary, ActionAid explains:
“ActionAid collaborated with the researcher from the original review – James Hargreaves – and conducted a systematic review of all the research published between 1990 and 2006 in eastern, southern and central Africa to address the following research questions:
- What is the impact of girls’ education on sexual behaviour and HIV?
- What difference does primary or secondary education make to women’s vulnerability to HIV?
- What are some of the possible mechanisms underlying the relationship between HIV and girls’ education”
There are 40 positive references to condom use sprinkled throughout its entire 45 pages. The entire document is a big promotion for finding ways of increasing the spread of condom use among young people, but one quote suffices. On page 37, under the heading “Recommendations,” ActionAid says:
“Promoting condoms is a message that is working among young people and should be encouraged as the evidence shows condoms are reducing HIV vulnerability among this age group in sub-Saharan Africa.”
What this shows is that ActionAid made it abundantly clear that, as an organization and prior to its working with CRS on the SMILE project, it fully advocates for the use of condoms. Subsequently, and while ActionAid was participating in the SMILE project, it loudly proclaimed that women should have access to all forms of contraception and even abortion. And despite this, CRS saw fit to make ActionAid one of its two consortium partners, even placing it in the position of “strengthening capacities” between local governments and non-profit organizations. While not stated, this suggests that CRS gave ActionAid the responsibility of generating a network of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), which will prove to be a moral disaster.
A 2017 evaluation of the SMILE project in Nigeria explained clearly and concisely how the SMILE project is intended to provide resources and networking among CSOs.
SMILE is designed to scale up care and support services for OVC in Benue, Kogi, Edo, and Nasarawa States and the FCT. SMILE seeks to improve the well-being of 600,000 Vulnerable Children (VC) and 150,000 caregivers. It is being implemented through an umbrella grants mechanism (UGM) whereby civil society organizations (CSOs) receive subgrants to support capacity strengthening and OVC program implementation at the community level. The project is currently working with over 40 CSOs in the FCT and the four focal states (Benue, Kogi, Edo, and Nasarawa). SMILE also strengthens the Nigerian VC response by working at the state level to enhance the coordination and monitoring capacity of the five State Ministries of Women Affairs and Social Development (SMWASD) and Social Welfare Departments of targeted LGAs. In addition, SMILE facilitates CSOs’ collaboration with communities to increase access to integrated and comprehensive services for vulnerable children and households, with a focus on household economic strengthening (HES), quality nutrition and food security services, and increased access to HIV and TB services (in Benue State).
The SMILE project, through its partnering CSOs, recruits OVC through a combination of approaches, including referrals from focal communities, referrals from HIV/AIDS support groups, and recruitment at the community level. The national standards serve as a guide for targeting and identifying vulnerable household and children. Criteria for considering a household as vulnerable include:
- Caregiver/household head is living with HIV
- Child is living with HIV
- Maternal orphan
- Paternal orphan
- Double orphan
- Child laborer
- Street child
- Child with disability
- Child lives in a child-headed household
- Child lives with a chronically ill parent
A key component of the CRS programming approach is integration; the project “integrates activities in health, education, nutrition, microfinance and protection, for a truly holistic approach to helping Nigeria’s most vulnerable children and the people who care for them.” (emphasis added)
There are three very important key aspects to CRS’s use of CSOs in the SMILE project:
- CRS is providing funding to the CSOs
- CRS is working to increase collaboration among CSOs “to increase access to integrated and comprehensive services”
- CRS is using CSOs to recruit children and refer them to other CSOs in the project
On a website devoted to CRS’s SMILE project in Nigeria, CRS provides a list of CSO partners that it had chosen for the project, along with a brief history profile of each one. Of particular note is the claim that CSOs “were selected after various stages of technical screening” because several of the CSOs chosen by CRS are pro-abortion, contraception-pushing organizations.
As indicated, one of the biggest issues with the SMILE project is the inclusion of Sexual and Reproductive Health programs. The CRS-SMILE, 4th Quarter, Quarterly Report for Fiscal Year 2015 indicates that Children Clubs facilitated through the SMILE project are educating children on sexual and reproductive health. It says:
“Apart from child protection issues and life skills, children clubs also received adolescent and sexual reproductive health education such as on HIV/AIDS prevention and also students use the platform to assist each other in their academic endeavors which have helped them to improve on their academic performance in school. (emphasis added)”
In 2018, CRS published a technical guide on “Savings Groups for Adolescents and Youth Affected by HIV” which addresses the “add-on” services of “sexual and reproductive health” related to adolescent and youth savings groups (AYSG). At the beginning of the guide is a disclaimer, which states that CRS:
“follows its teachings on health and HIV, including family planning and HIV prevention. Publications and websites cited in this guide may contain information that is not aligned with these teachings. Their inclusion in this guide does not represent an endorsement of their content by CRS nor does it imply that CRS follows these materials in its programming.”
Despite this disclaimer, the guide further claims that “the contents [of the guide] are the responsibility of Catholic Relief Services and FHI 360.” In other words, CRS takes full responsibility for the inclusion of the promotion of sexual and reproductive health contained in the guide itself. It should also be mentioned that in addition to a host of other individuals and organizations, CRS states that the SMILE Project participated in the review of the first draft of this guide.
On page 31 of the guide, CRS indicates that youth groups and savings groups can act as a platform for “add-on services.” It says:
“AYSGs can serve as a platform for additional or add-on activities either prior to or after group meetings. Savings groups with add-ons are sometimes referred to as “savings group plus”
In CRS’s 3rd Quarter report for 2015, CRS indicates that Civil Society organizations (CSOs) are indeed participating in what are called “Kids Clubs” in the SMILE project, and even indicates that sexual and reproductive health is a part of it. It says:
2.2.2 CSOs provide appropriate integrated VC services (PSS, Child Protection, Education,
and Health Care)
Kids Club activities were conducted by community volunteers in 221 communities reaching 53,928 children. PFS and Imade Foundation in Edo State; NACWYCA and FAHCI in Nasarawa state; ACOVID and PCI in Benue state set up recreation centers for children. AGCOD and KHF in Benue established youth-friendly centers to promote sexual and reproductive health through evening coaching and counselling sessions conducted by community volunteers. Eight partner CSOs in Edo, Kogi and Nasarrawa states organized Children’s Day celebration with the theme “Stop Violence against Children,” on the 27th of May, 2015 featuring dancing competitions, drama presentation, cultural dances, football competition, talk on Child Rights Law and presentation of prizes to children.
The key in all of this is establishing the fact that an integral part of CRS’s SMILE project is the inclusion of Sexual and Reproductive Health services. This is important to keep in mind because the referral network established through CRS’s own recruiting efforts include organizations that provide or promote abortion, contraception, and condoms.
These organizations are Family Health Care Foundation (FACHI), Girls Power Initiative, Teens and Youth Empowerment, and Lift Up Care Foundation.
Family Health Care Foundation (FACHI)
In October of 2015, CRS published an overview of the SMILE program in Nigeria. On page 6, CRS says:
“Working with 42 such organizations, SMILE set out to ensure that the quality of those services was the best that it could be, launching a wide range of capacity building efforts to strengthen Nigeria’s non-profit network.”
On the very last page, CRS lists its 42 CSO partners, and on the top of the second column is Family Health Care Foundation (FAHCI).
On the CRS SMILE website, CRS again identifies FAHCI as a CSO partner on the SMILE project and includes a brief write-up on the organization, specifically acknowledging FAHCI’s work in the field of “reproductive health.” CRS’s write-up says:
The primary purpose of FAHCI is to improve the health and socio-economic well-being of the poor and vulnerable communities in Nigeria through participatory training, advocacy and quality service delivery. FAHCI since its inception in 2002 have had programs in the following 5 thematic areas to achieve its purpose:
- Reproductive Health services / HIV and AIDS (emphasis added)
- Public Health services
- Economic Empowerment
- Organizational Development
- Peace Building
Family Healthcare Foundation (FAHCI) is a voluntary, non-governmental, non-profit making organization that is committed to the total well-being of people, more especially women, children, youths and people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS and OVC in rural areas and amongst the urban poor. The membership of the organization is open to all people who have genuine interest to contribute to the development of communities particularly in the areas of health, community mobilization, economic and overall empowerment of the less-privileged and vulnerable groups in the society.
FAHCI was established in 2002 by an experienced Public Health Nurse who has over twenty years of community health work in various localities.
Listed at number one of FAHCI’s thematic areas of focus is “reproductive health services.” What we are about to prove is that with regard to this theme, FAHCI is heavily involved with abortifacient contraceptives, receives funding from Planned Parenthood Global, and uses microfinance communities for the purpose of spreading its contraceptive idea of sexual and reproductive health.
FAHCI’s 2017 Annual Report identifies itself as a participant in CRS’s SMILE project and provides a host of details regarding its reproductive health services. On page 32 of the document, FAHCI indicates that it worked with CRS in fiscal years 14 and 17 to implement the SMILE project. On page 26, listing the proposals it submitted to various organizations for further funding, FAHCI states first that it submitted a grant proposal to CRS in FY 16 to implement the SMILE project, and on the very next line, FAHCI states that it provided a funding request to Planned Parenthood Global for a project to provide “reproductive health information and services.”
It is important to note that these grant proposals were for projects FAHCI was already undertaking with both CRS and Planned Parenthood. The listing on page 26 states that it is applying for a fifth year of funding from Planned Parenthood “on Reproductive Health information and service project on Sayana Press for the general population especially women and youths.” And two lines lower, FAHCI states that it is applying for a third-year grant from CRS.
Of particular concern is that FAHCI didn’t merely apply for funding from Planned Parenthood while working with CRS in the SMILE project; FAHCI was indeed implementing a contraception-promoting program at the same time it was working for CRS on the SMILE project. In describing its work with Planned Parenthood, FAHCI states the following on page 31:
FAHCI provides comprehensive family planning information and services in the organization clinic. And 5 selected PHC in Lafia, Doma, Akwanga, Obi, Nasarawa Eggon LGA and other affiliated facilities for health services supported Planned Parenthood Global (PPGlobal).
On page 16 of FAHCI’s annual report, it provides a list of the contraceptives provided at its clinic:
The reports adds that “Other injectables contraceptives e.g. Depoprovera and Noristerats clients who received Depo-provera and Noristerat were 8,617.”
Pills refers to hormonal contraceptive pills, IUCD is a reference to intrauterine devices, Jadelle is a commercial brand for a hormonal contraceptive implant, and Sayana Press is an injectable hormonal contraceptive. On its own Facebook page, FAHCI provided a picture of its executive director, Mary Ashenanye, inserting a Jadelle contraceptive implant into a client’s arm:
It should be noted here that FACHI indicates that these contraceptives were provided throughout FAHCI-supported facilities in Nasarawa State. FAHCI’s SMILE locations in Lafia, Shabu, Azuba, Tudun Gwandara, and Amba are all within Nasarawa State, Nigeria.
Of great concern regarding the overlap of FACHI working with Planned Parenthood and CRS’s SMILE project at the same time, and in the same region, is that both projects are focused on the youth. On page 31 of its annual report, FACHI said the following of its work on behalf of Planned Parenthood:
Identification of facilities through Directors of PHCs across the LGAs, Education and awareness visits, community outreaches, Procurement and distribution of Sayana press to service providers, Article publication, Media chart, Jingle airing Clinic education in facilities, Monthly review meeting of service providers, Supportive monitor and supervisory visits, Trainings for community health extension workers (CHEWs) and youth peers providers (YPPs) to promote sexual reproductive health and Sayana Press, and 60 out of school youths, conduct baseline assessment information on sayana press Quarterly reports and data computation on Sayana Press, Monthly data collation from project facilities on Sayana Press .
The activities greatly increased youth involvement and full participation on information dissemination to address Reproductive Health issues among them as well as reduce youth restiveness in the community and unwanted pregnancy. The outreach has increased the number of clients accessing the new Sayana Press commodities. There has been increased knowledge of community people on malaria prevention and treatments.
Because of this cross-wiring of purposes for the organization, another matter related to FACHI’s participation in CRS’s SMILE project raises deeper concerns; FAHCI is using microfinance education in order to promote contraceptive family planning. FAHCI discussed the microfinance education and the promotion of family planning a reproductive health in its annual report.
According to CRS’s SMILE-Nigeria Quarter-3 Quarterly Progress Report from 2015, FAHCI was directly involved with “economic strengthening interventions” in the SMILE project. Under the heading, “Diversification of Economic Strengthening interventions,” on pages 8 and 9, CRS reported:
FAHCI Lafia conducted financial education for 337 (M=87, F=253) caregivers using Nigerian Agricultural Enterprise curriculum (NAEC), Business Development Services (BDS) and the Grassroots Entrepreneurship Training (GREST) manual to increase their money management knowledge and skills for better financial decision making.
In other words, CRS acknowledges that FAHCI was conducting financial educational trainings on its behalf in 2015 in Lafia. It’s important to establish the location, because as evidence suggests, FACHI was promoting contraception through its microfinance programs in the same location, indicated in its own annual report. On page 10 of the FACHI annual report, it claims:
5 new communities identified and benefited from the micro-credit program in Lafia (Tudu Gwandara, Alakio, Azuba, GindiLemu and Kini Akwanga)
As we pointed out earlier, Tudu Gwandara, Lafia, and Azuba are all identified locations where FACHI is implementing CRS’s SMILE program. The importance of FAHCI holding its microfinance trainings in SMILE locations will become evident shortly.
In summary, before we explain the significance of this information, FAHCI is a Civil Society Organization (CSO), working in CRS’s SMILE Project in several locations in Nasarawa State, Nigeria. In addition to being a major player in Planned Parenthood’s contraception-distribution programs, FAHCI is conducting microfinance programs in at least three of the same locations it is conducting CRS’s SMILE project.
With all of this in mind, we will now show how FAHCI is conducting its microfinance programs.
On page 8 of FAHCI’s 2017 Annual report, FAHCI explains its microfinance projects in the following manner:
The Micro-finance department have reached and empowered target communities with programs that have direct bearing toward their health and economic well-being. MF unit have being [sic] a source of income, finance, capacity building on business skills and agricultural enterprise to most borrowers which have changed their social status over years. The unit has first six (6) major component projects aim at strengthening the micro-credit activities and economic base of the community beneficiaries.
On page 9, one of the listed activities carried out by FACHI regarding microfinance is:
“Basic information on reproductive health issues such as: Child spacing/Family Planning, personal & environmental hygiene, STIS/HIV and AIDS, Safe Motherhood and make referrals where is necessary.”
On page 10, FAHCI reports similar numbers in relation to its microfinance activities and its promotion of contraception:
- 239 New clients have benefited from the micro credit loan. (231female and 8 male)
- A total of 270 new clients have received reproductive health information, education and services. (263 female and 7 Male)
And on page 12, FAHCI makes the following recommendations:
- Need to always involve health personnel to provide reproductive health information during meeting with borrowers.
- Need to develop IEC materials to promote micro finance activities and advertisement of her product.
- FAHCI need to identify more clinics facilities close to micro credit communities for easy referrals.
The bottom-line with FAHCI is that it is thoroughly committed to the spread of all manner of contraception, including abortifacients, and it is receiving funding from Planned Parenthood to do so. And while it is receiving such funding, and engaging in such activities, it is simultaneously participating in CRS’s SMILE project as a networked CSO, taking part in youth and microfinance programs.
Tellingly, listed among the “challenges” to the completion of this project is this: “Religious and cultural beliefs, impedes effective family planning services in communities.”
In relation to this concern, FAHCI provides some recommendations regarding its activities relating to people living with HIV (PLHIV). On page 20, FAHCI recommends:
- More family planning education awareness should be created in more communities.
- There should be training for PLWHIV on income generating activities.
- Religion clerics should be more diplomatically participatory in family planning messages.
Clearly, FAHCI views religious objections as an obstacle to the spread of contraception and is more than happy to attempt to recruit priests and religious as promoters of contraception. Given this utilitarian approach to the clergy, it isn’t a far step to using its partnership with Catholic Relief Services for the promotion of the same.
There is simply no way that CRS was unaware of FAHCI’s total commitment to the spread of grave moral evils, especially considering its mention of sexual and reproductive health activities within the SMILE project itself. What’s worse is that in establishing FAHCI as a CSO within the SMILE project – a project that CRS is leaving – CRS has directly handed unsuspecting and innocent young people in Nigeria over to an agency bent upon the ruin of souls.
Girls Power Initiative
Another one of the civil society organizations (CSO) CRS included in its referral network is called the Girl’s Power Initiative (GPI). Listed at number 15 on the CSO list, CRS gives the following description for GPI:
Girls’ Power Initiative (GPI) was founded in 1993 to intervene in the socialization of girls for the realization of a society where women are visible and valued actors. GPI commenced activities in July 1994 in Cross River and Edo States and expanded to Akwa Ibom and Delta States in 2002. Since inception, GPI has been committed to its mission of empowering girls for a better future but has since found that her vision cannot be achieved in isolation of the realities in the States where she works hence GPI also focuses on: policy advocacy to assure progressive policies support her work; social and community interventions to ensure that changes occur at those levels to support healthy outcomes for children and girls. GPI interventions to address the issue of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) has been in pursuit of the latter.
As will be seen in a moment, this description of GPI provided by CRS is a highly sanitized version of the true horror that this organization is. GPI is a self-proclaimed feminist, stridently pro-abortion, contraception-promoting organization that works with the International Planned Parenthood Federation, has created contraception-promoting curricula for girls, and actively seeks the decriminalization of abortion. By including GPI in CRS’s SMILE project, even for an allegedly good reason, CRS is actively exposing young girls to an agency that will destroy their souls.
In June of 2018, GPI published an article about its participation in the SMILE project. Bearing the headline, “GPI presents empowerment to 107 beneficiaries of SMILE project,” GPI announced:
Girls’ Power Initiative (GPI), in partnership with the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has flagged off the presentation of empowerment to 107 beneficiaries of the Sustainable Mechanisms for Improving Livelihood and Household Empowerment (SMILE) project.
SMILE is a USAID funded project for vulnerable children in Nigeria through the Catholic Relief Services (CRS).
The empowerment is made up of N20,000 cash [approximately $55 US] transfer to 88 beneficiaries for business investment and start-up kits to 19 beneficiaries trained on different vocations, including fashion design, catering and event decoration, hair dressing as well as housing electrical work.
In addition to this, GPI produced a powerpoint presentation on human sex trafficking in Nigeria, and included a brief snippet regarding its work with CRS through the SMILE project.
According to the results of GPI’s collaborative work in the SMILE project:
There has been tremendous capacity building of GPI Staff with trainings on HIV Prevention, Care, Support and Referral, Resource Mobilization and Proposal development, Strategic Planning and Gender based integration.
GPI has provided appropriate integrated VC services which includes Psychosocial Support (PSS), Child Protection, Shelter, Nutrition, Education, Household Economic Strengthening and Health care services to beneficiaries in Ebo, Utagban, Umegbe, Uholor, Evbuodia, Amagba, Ugbor and Ogbe Communities.
And according to the CRS Smile 2nd Quarter report from 2015, GPI was directly involved in organizing meetings to discuss “parenting support adolescent risk, HIV disclosure, child health and development.” The report says:
A total of 23,173 vulnerable children and caregivers were provided with PSS in the last quarter through platforms like regular home visits, one-on-one counselling and life skill support activities for youth. Centre for Women Youth and Community Action (NACWYCA), First Step Action, Kejie Health Foundation (KHF), Integrated Health Program (IHP), Advocates for Community Vision and Development (ACOVID), Emmanuel Teryila Memorial Foundation (ETMLF), Girls’ Power Initiative (GPI), Lift Up Care Foundation (LUCAF), Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) Uromi and Association for Grassroots Councilors on Health and Development AGCOD) also organized caregivers forum meetings to discuss issues pertaining to parenting support adolescent risk, HIV disclosure, child health and development.
The serious problem with GPI’s inclusion in the SMILE project can best be summed up by a statement from one of its own leaders. In 2009, the African Women’s Development Fund published a document titled, “Voice, Power, and Soul: Portraits of African Feminists.” The booklet is a compilation of brief autobiographical statements provided by women who are involved in feminist activism all over Africa, and on page 41 is a statement from the chair of the board and co-founder of GPI.
Bene E. Madunagu, profiled in page 41, identifies herself as the Chair of the Board of the Girls Power Initiative (GPI). She says that she helped co-found GPI in 1993, “to pioneer sexuality, sexual and reproductive health and rights education for adolescent girls.” She also indicates that she is a member of the “International Consortium for Medical Abortion” and a board member of IPAS. In her own words, Madunagu says, “I also add my energy to international efforts to prevent unnecessary deaths from unsafe abortions and promote women’s rights to choice and access to safe medical abortions.”
Underlining this point, she later added, “As feminists, we are working collectively to ensure that all African women and girls are able to live safe, healthy lives and to make informed and empowered choices about their own bodies.”
In 1999, Madunagu wrote an article for Catholics for Choice’s publication, Conscience, arguing in favor of the legalization of “safe abortion” services. She wrote:
Governments are not making concerted efforts to help women gain access to services essential to addressing their sexual and reproductive health. In many parts of the developing world, a high percentage of pregnancy-related deaths result from abortion complications because too many poor governments yield to political pressures from the Holy See against safe abortion services.
In 2003, GPI published a series of training manuals on sex and “reproductive health and rights.” The manual was written by Bene Madunagu, and the write-up on the website HIV Health Clearinghouse illustrates that the contents of the manual include contraception:
The contents are : preface, Girl’s power initiative Nigeria, background and guiding concepts, guiding principles, key strategies in GPI programmes, GPI information, education and services, introduction, 1) knowing about GPI, 2) human sexuality, 3) communication skills, 4) peer pressure, 5) rape, 6) anatomy and physiology of female reproductive system, 7) anatomy and physiology of the male reproductive system, 8) pregnancy and childbirth, 9) pregnancy by choice, 10) contraception, 11) harmful traditional practices, 12) human sexual response cycle, 13) sexual dysfunction, 14) sexual behaviour, 15) adolescence, 16) cancers and self-examination, 17) HIV/AIDS, 18) sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Each chapter is divided into several sequences: goal, objectives, concepts/common beliefs, materials, activity/time, lesson sequence (opening, ice-breakers, activities, evaluation, closing, action assignment), technical information, reference. Concerning the HIV and AIDS chapter, the objectives are : know basic information on the prevalence of HIV and AIDS, differenciate between HIV and AIDS, identify ways in which HIV is not transmitted, identify ways of transmission of HIV and prevention, know the progression of HIV & AIDS with signs and symptoms. An activity consists of a condom demonstration.
In November of 2013, GPI became a partner of the International Women’s Health Coalition. On its profile page of the IWHC website, GPI indicates that it convenes sensitivity training for government officials on topics such as “reproductive rights” and “contraception.”
“To build sustained support for girls’ empowerment, GPI convenes a biannual gender sensitivity and awareness training for government officials, media professionals, educators, and health care workers. The five-day workshop covers issues such as sexual and reproductive health and rights, women and HIV, gender-based violence, contraception, and gender equality.”
In a 2011 newsletter, GPI headlined an article about its co-founder, Bene Madunagu, donating copies of the contraception-promoting “It’s all One” curriculum to the Education Commissioner. This isn’t surprising, considering the fact that Madunagu (who retired from her leadership role at GPI in 2013) helped to develop (along with current GPI board chairman Grace Osakue) the It’s All One curriculum itself.
The Population Council (which was created by population control enthusiast John D. Rockefeller III) holds the copyright for the curriculum, and states in its website that the It’s All One curriculum was “created by the Population Council in collaboration with six other nongovernmental organizations.” Those organizations are:
- Creating Resources for Empowerment in Action (India);
- Girls Power Initiative (Nigeria);
- International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF);
- IPPF Western Hemisphere Region (Latin America and Caribbean);
- International Women’s Health Coalition;
- MEXFAM (Mexico)
The population Council also states that Bene Madunagu and Grace Osakue (along with members of the other organizations) are the authors of the curriculum. The curriculum is much what one would expect from a product of Planned Parenthood. It makes 89 positive references to abortion, such as this suggestion on page 231, which encourages kids to “save girls’ and women’s lives by decriminalizing abortion,” or on page 250, where the curriculum claims that maternal deaths can be prevented by:
“use of family planning methods to reduce unintended pregnancies, and access to safe abortion services.”
In addition to this, the curriculum makes 96 positive references to contraception and 66 references to condoms. Beginning on the page 252, the curriculum provides information on the various forms of birth control, including whether or not the method inhibits sexual pleasure.
On a page that is no longer accessible on the internet, GPI used to have a list of its own publications. Among this list are several regarding sexual and reproductive health, including one “myths and facts about contraceptives.”
Another book produced by GPI, authored by Bene Madunagu, is titled, “Adolescents and sexual health problems: GPI experience in helping adolescents prevent the integrated health problems of sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS, unwanted pregnancy and unsafe abortion.” While copies of this publication are not available on the internet, the title is enough to explain the disposition of the organization.
On its own website, GPI makes abundantly clear its work to sexualize children and introduce them to their own contraceptive, pro-abortion version of sexual and reproductive health and rights. On this page, GPI couches its terms behind vague generalities, but given the strongly pro-abortion and pro-contraception intentions of GPI’s founders, there can be no mistake that when GPI talks about sex education or reproductive health, it means abortion, condoms and contraception.
GPI adolescent sexuality and sexual and reproductive health will focus on the following components
- Providing Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health information and education
- Expanding HIV/AIDS prevention education, HIV Counseling and Testing and referral for treatment and care and support and stigma reduction for young females living with HIV
- Conducting School Based Comprehensive Sexuality and Family Life and HIV&AIDS Education
- Provision and referral for quality Youth Friendly Health Services
- Collaborating with the public sector for the provision of Quality YFHS to girls and young females
GPI has on its website a word document simply titled, “Profile of Girl’s Power Initiative.” In the profile, GPI freely admits that it promotes contraception, saying:
GPI also focuses on leadership skills building for young girls and provision of education on issues of gender, decision making on issues of family planning/contraception use, maternal and child health as well as research and community interventions on harmful traditional and contemporary practices and violence against girls and women.
And under the heading, “GPI Activity in Pictures,” GPI provided a photo of a condom demonstration with the caption: “Capacity Building for different stakeholders on Reproductive Health and Family Life and HIV Education”
In March of 2015, GPI published its Strategic Plan 20, which was its project and implementation plan for 2015-2019, setting goals and benchmarks for its activities. Throughout the Strategic Plan, GPI sets the stage for comprehensive sex education and the promotion of contraception and condoms by referring to the cases of “unwanted pregnancies” and how young girls then resort to illegal and “unsafe” abortions. As a remedy, GPI then establishes its intention to ramp up its incorporation of sexual and reproductive health education and services. For example, on page 5, GPI establishes the following as a problem:
“Contraceptive use is low and youth underestimate risks of unprotected sex and are at risk of unintended pregnancy, often resulting in unsafe abortion.”
As a remedy, GPI offers the following:
“Over the years, many organizations including GPI have been working to improve adolescent sexual and reproductive health through advocacy and prevention programming. This needs be deepened and intensified for a sustainable impact.”
On page 49, in light of the expressed concerns established by GPI, it shows its intention to promote and encourage condom use:
On page 55, GPI states its objective to increase access of sexual and reproductive health services to 50,000 children and young people, facilitating access to and use of contraception.
The inclusion of the Girl’s Power Initiative in CRS’s SMILE project is beyond reckless and irresponsible. Whomever reviewed and vetted the organizations applying for inclusion in the SMILE CSO referral network could not have been unaware of GPI’s open and flagrant promotion of abortion, contraception, and condoms. And yet, someone at CRS decided that this organization would be a good fit for a network that would last well beyond CRS’s involvement with the project. Between GPI and FAHCI, CRS is willingly exposing thousands of young girls to Planned-Parenthood affiliated organizations. And what’s worse is that these aren’t the only ones.
Lift Up Care Foundation
The Lift Up and Care Foundation (LUCAF) is listed at number 7 on CRS-SMILE’s listing of CSOs. On this page, CRS describes LUCAF on that page with these words:
LIFT UP CARE FOUNDATION (LUCAF) is a non –governmental, non-profit making, non-religious and non-political organization established in 2006 with aim of ensuring societal development in the area of Health, Education, Vocational training, Economic Empowerment with focus on children, women and other vulnerable groups. LUCAF got registered with CAC in 2006 with registration number 20591 with office in Lokoja, Kogi State and FCT- Abuja.
On LUCAF’s website is a document titled, “LIFT UP CARE FOUNDATION (LUCAF) SMILE PROGRAM ACHIEVEMENTS IN ANKPA AND LOKOJA LGA,” which encompasses its work in the SMILE project from 2014-2018. On the first page of the document, LUCAF provides a brief history of LUCAF’s entry into and subsequent participation in the SMILE project. This is the basic timeline:
- In 2013, LUCAF responded to an Expression of Interest call by the SMILE project.
- LUCAF was selected after an “organizational capacity assessment” to be a CSO for the SMILE project in Kogi State.
- In March 2014, LUCAF signed the Fixed Obligation Grant (FOG) contract and began receiving money from the CRS-SMILE project.
- In FY15, Catholic Relief Services indicated its intention to double LUCAF’s reach for vulnerable children and households, so CRS extended three more communities to LUCAF.
Listed among its accomplishments on page 2 of LUCAF’s document is a concerning indication that LUCAF may have been exposing young people to contraceptive indoctrination. It said:
Trained 60 Adolescents Girls from Emere community on a Module with 14 Sessions covering Sexual and Reproductive Health Issues and HIV/AIDs Prevention with the aim of improving their lives and building their capacity to face life challenges.
At the end of the document, LUCAF indicated that CRS provided it with funding for the SMILE project. It said:
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) provided the funds to the tune of over a hundred million naira [approximately $276,625] to accomplish all of the above and more. The program officially kicks started March, 2014 and ended August, 2018.
At issue, as with other CSOs involved with the SMILE project, LUCAF is involved in the promotion and distribution of condoms. In LUCAF’s 2015-2018 Quadriennial Report, which encompasses the time in which it was involved in the SMILE project, LUCAF states that it distributed condoms in conjunction with another project, but in the same proximate location as its work with SMILE.
On page 6, under the heading Impact/Achievements, and the bullet-point, “HIV/AIDS,” LUCAF writes as one of its achievements, “Road show and campaign on reduction of stigma and distribution of condom.”
On page 21, it actually gives the location and provides pictures of a condom demonstration it conducted:
Finally, LUCAF is a member of the Netzkraft Movement, and according to one of Netkraft’s descriptions of itself, “The Network Force Movement is a cross-thematic and international network of more than 1,800 organizations around the world that engage in social engagement – social, political, environmental or spiritual.”
LUCAF’s own “about us” profile on the Netzkraft Movement website indicates that it distributes condoms (right).
LUCAF’s inclusion in CRS-SMILE’s CSO network will last beyond CRS’s involvement. LUCAF has made its involvement in the promotion and distribution of condoms quite plain, and so once again, the danger with LUCAF being a part of the SMILE network is that vulnerable young people are being introduced by CRS to an organization intent upon spreading spiritually poisonous ideologies.
Teens and Youth Empowerment and Capacity Enhancement
Listed at number 16 on CRS-SMILE’s page of CSOs with which it collaborated is Teen and Youth Empowerment and Capacity Enhancement (TYECE). The brief description provided by CRS on TYECE is this:
“Teens and Youth Empowerment and Capacity Enhancement (TYECE) is a non-governmental and not for profit organization established to empower men and women to become productive and responsible members of their communities and the nation at large. TYECE was established in 1997 as a direct spiritual and moral response to observe societal neglect of key members of the society.”
In CRS-SMILE’s Quarter 1 report, CRS indicates that TYECE was responsible for training caregivers on health education talks and HIV Testing and Counseling services (HTC) during World AIDS Day. Page 8 of the report said:
CSOs like DHSP, TYECE, AGCOD, WOCHAD, and KHF convened caregivers’ forums which are a platform to discuss issues on care for VC, child-care giver interaction and basic sanitation, nutrition education, and health education talks. (emphasis added)
Page 9 of the Quarter 1 report said, “TYECE provided HCT services to children and caregivers to commemorate the world AIDS day.”
CRS-SMILE’s Quarter 2 report said that TYECE provided HTC services to 4,176 vulnerable children and caregivers.
On page 11 of CRS-SMILE’s Quarter 3 report, under the heading “State HIV stakeholders’ identification and engagement,” CRS reported that TYECE “successfully signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Central Hospital Auchi, Edo state where beneficiaries supported by SMILE would be referred to, for clinical HIV services.”
While there is no evidence that TYECE provided or encouraged the use of contraception or condoms in the SMILE project itself, the concern is that by including it in the CSO network, CRS once again exposed the people of Nigeria to an organization that views condoms as a means of preventing HIV.
For instance, in 2012, TYECE posted on facebook (a page which no longer exists), the following message encouraging young people to use condoms in direct relation to “HIV Counseling and Testing” (HTC).
And this kind of messaging is not surprising because from 2006-2010, TYECE was directly involved in condom promotion and distribution for another project. In an evaluation of a project in HIV/AIDS Impact Mitigation, TYECE’s involvement was profiled beginning on page 101. In language very similar to CRS-SMILE’s description of TYECE’s involvement in SMILE, this report states:
“TYECE were selected as an implementing agent of AIM project in Auchi, Edo state in COP 06 for a four year program targeting OVC, caregivers and PLWHA with the aim of improving their quality of life through quality, comprehensive care and support programs”
In other words, TYECE’s work in the SMILE project was very much like its involvement in this previous project. Among a series of tables identifying TYECE’s achievements in the project is one showing a significant increase in the use of condoms among those TYECE influenced. And to reinforce this, the report indicated that TYECE found the stuck of male condoms to be in short supply, saying, “There is shortage of sexual prevention and IEC materials in FY 09. Also, there is a limited supply of the male condom; the one available expires in June, 2010.”
As indicated with the other pro-contraception organizations in the SMILE project, it must be remembered that this network of CSOs will last beyond Catholic Relief Services’ involvement. Since TYECE is positively shown as an organization that has no problem with introducing condoms to young people in relation to its HTC services, CRS has once again provided a greater capacity of reach and opportunity for a condom-promoting and providing organization.
Conclusion on SMILE
CRS was the lead on the SMILE project, and one of its key partners was an organization that was vocally advocating for abortion and all forms of contraception. ActionAid should never have been a part of this project at all, and yet, it was one of two consortium partners under CRS. To make matters worse, ActionAid’s role in the SMILE project was to facilitate capacity building with local government agencies and non-profits, indicating that it had a firm hand in the creation of the CSO network. And the CSO network included at least four organizations that are committed to the promotion and distribution of contraception. Because this network is intended to last beyond the implementation of the project, and is intended to be a self-sustaining mechanism, CRS is directly responsible for creating a referral network that included organizations that are no better than Planned Parenthood.