In their own words

A collection of short films that tell the stories of people we work with in Tanzania and Cambodia.

In 2015 we worked with our teams in Tanzania and Cambodia to gather real stories from our clients.

We wanted to find out how people are affected by our work, and educate others about what we do on the ground - putting women and our clients at the centre of the story.

We joined outreach teams as they rumbled over dusty dirt tracks in 4x4s, spoke to young people hanging out in bustling cities, and saw women learn about contraception on their lunch breaks.

We met survivors of harrowing gender-based violence, as well as young girls full of hopes and dreams about their future and determined to finish school. There were moments of happiness tinged with times of sadness, but always a thread of hope running through.

While there is still so much to do to ensure women across the world have equal opportunities and choices when it comes to their health, we are steadily changing things.

Don't just take our word for it though, watch these stories from our clients, told in their own words.


The Kahama outreach team

Dr. Peter, Shida, and Zakayo make up Marie Stopes Tanzania's Kahama outreach team. They travel three weeks out of every month, visiting remote villages in the Mwanza region to provide voluntary counselling and contraception to under-served communities.

On their outreach visits, they set up shop at public health outposts, training government nurses on the delivery of long-acting contraception. This means that the women they serve can then return to the same site for any follow-up care.

In this short film clip we follow the Kahama team on an outreach visit, and meet one of their clients, Elizabeth.

To better understand the work the Kahama team does, read "We go to where they are": the story of outreach in Tanzania.

Driving round rural areas isn't the only way to bring services to women though - sometimes it's more practical to go to where they work.

Inside the garment factories

Savy lives with her husband and daughter in a village on the edge of Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s bustling capital city. For the past eight years, she's been working in a garment factory as a seamstress.

Like many garment factory workers, Savy had difficulty trying to access her preferred choice of contraception, until Marie Stopes Cambodia started providing information sessions and reproductive health services in her workplace.

Now Marie Stopes Cambodia has introduced Partnering to Save Lives - a partnership with CARE, Save the Children and Australian Aid - to continue to address the barriers many other garment workers still face across the country.

Better access is better for everyone

Increasing access doesn't just benefit women; it impacts their families, communities, and workplaces. We found out more about these far-reaching benefits from speaking to factory employers.

Sophea is one of the few female human resource managers working in Phnom Penh factories. She is passionate about ensuring her employees have access to affordable and safe contraception.

So much so that she helped introduce Partnering to Save Lives into her factory. As a result, not only are her employees happier, healthier and empowered with choices over their own bodies and lives, but Sophea has seen productivity increase within the factory.

Here Sophea explains why she believes these services are vital.

In spite of innovative approaches like this, our teams in Cambodia and Tanzania still face challenges when trying to reach some of those most in need of contraception and confidential information: young people.

Reaching the next generation

Em Sreymom and the hotline

The dedicated staff at Marie Stopes Cambodia reach young people through a hotline - a confidential and free number that anyone can call to get information and service referrals.

Em Sreymom manages the hotline for Marie Stopes Cambodia, and she hears from young people every day who want accurate information about sexual health, but can't talk about it openly.

Sex and sexuality remain taboo topics of conversation in Cambodia, but things are slowly changing. Young people are increasingly demanding more information and believe in their right to it.

Hear these young Cambodians reveal what they really talk about, and what they want for their futures.

Maureen and the peer educators

Maureen is a Women Deliver Young Leader in Tanga, Tanzania. With her support, the peer educators she works with are committed to helping young people access comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information.

Young people under the age of 20 account for 54% of Tanzania’s population, and they want and need services that are accessible, confidential and non-judgmental.

Marie Stopes Tanzania has been working with youth clubs and wants to partner with schools in order to remove barriers that young people face in accessing information and services.

Watch these young people talking about how important access to sex education is for them.

Ensuring women and young people have access to contraception is one thing, but what do you do if demand outstrips supply? We're working to make sure no woman is left empty-handed by stock running low.

Reliable supplies, professional training

Serving Mwema

Mwema, one of Marie Stopes Tanzania's urban outreach clients, lives in a densely populated and impoverished neighbourhood of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

She relies heavily on contraception delivered by Marie Stopes Tanzania nurses on auto-rickshaws (known locally as 'bajajis'). When supplies run low this is known as a 'stock out', and it seriously restricts women like Mwema's ability to space their births and plan their lives.

Ensuring that stock outs do not occur is a major concern for Marie Stopes International, and we rely on donors like the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for over a quarter of our global contraception and commodities supply.

Watch Mwema explain the reality of stock outs, and why it's crucial the international community works together to avoid these vital supplies running low.

Our teams in Tanzania, Cambodia and all across the globe work tirelessly to ensure people have contraception and sexual health services, but that's not the only thing we provide.

We aim to make an impact that is sustainable in the long term, which is why we also give training and support to existing public and private health providers, making sure they can better serve their local communities.

Training public healthcare providers in Cambodia

Eng Pov heads up a rural public health facility in Siem Reap Province, Cambodia. Along with Sokly, a nurse-midwife, they provide high-quality sexual and reproductive health services to women in the area, and have noticed an increasing demand from women to limit and space the number of children they have.

In order to meet growing demand, two things need to happen - providers must be trained in a full range of contraceptive methods, and they must have a reliable supply of contraception for women. Watch this short clip to see how Marie Stopes Cambodia's partnership with the Ministry of Health is widening women's access to voluntary contraception.

Dalin is a nurse-midwife who has received training from Marie Stopes Cambodia. She runs a small, private pharmacy and clinic with her sister on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.

Many Cambodians receive basic healthcare - including contraception - from private providers like Dalin. However, unlike Dalin, many private pharmacy owners are untrained in most contraceptive methods, and only offer a few short-term methods such as condoms and pills, often without counselling.

Watch Dalin as she receives training in long-acting methods like IUDs and implants, and hear why this is so important to her.

Protecting women's access to services

At Marie Stopes International we believe it's a fundamental human right to have choice over your sexual and reproductive health. And although we don't believe that choice should be curtailed by where you live, what gender you are, or how much money you have, that's the reality for many of the women we work with. Women like Sroun, Salome and Zayanna.

All of these women's stories illustrate how important our support is, and how we must continue to protect their access to life-saving services.

Sroun's story

Sroun lives in a remote village in Kratie, a province in North east Cambodia. She is a Kroal woman, belonging to one of the many indigenous groups in rural Cambodia, and depends on public health facilities to access contraception and other health services.

Most rural indigenous women in Cambodia are extremely poor, and even travelling short distances can be prohibitively expensive. Hear from Sroun about why access to contraception is critical for her and her family, and how Marie Stopes Cambodia is working to provide better access.

Salome's story

Salome is a young woman living in Mbeya, Tanzania, who has survived traumatic gender-based violence. Now she is focused on healing and raising her daughter, but many more women continue to experience awful violence like this both in Tanzania and around the world.

Supported by the United States Agency for International development (USAID) and partnering with the Tanzanian Police Force, Marie Stopes Tanzania is implementing a more comprehensive and compassionate approach to addressing the needs of survivors like Salome.

This new model focuses on integrating legal justice and necessary sexual and reproductive healthcare into one cohesive support system, ensuring that women receive the best help when they need it most. Watch this film to hear Salome’s story.

One-stop centres: A compassionate approach to care

Zayanna's story

Zayanna is a clinic administrator in Marie Stopes Tanzania’s Zanzibar Clinic. Along with its beautiful beaches and old-city charm, Zanzibar also has limited sexual health resources for women like Zayanna.

The Marie Stopes clinic is the only provider of services like cervical cancer screening and preventive therapy on the island. Every day Zayanna sees women at the clinic who depend on these services. Yet these women and their access to these services are particularly at risk from US policies like the Global Gag Rule.

The Global Gag Rule is an executive order that - when in place - prohibits foreign organisations that receive US funding from using their own or separate funds to support advocacy, referrals, or services around safe, legal abortion. This effectively curtails life-saving safe abortion services (where legal) and post-abortion care. In the past, reinstatement of the restrictive Global Gag Rule has led to significant funding cuts for family planning, maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, and even malaria services. These cuts would affect organisations, including Marie Stopes programs beyond Tanzania and Cambodia.

The final message in Zayanna's film articulates why this entire collection of stories is so critical.

When we deny women access to safe sexual and reproductive services, we strip them of their human right to take all the decisions they need to make about their private lives and develop their full potential to live a life of dignity.

Ulla Muller, Regional Director for Marie Stopes International

Thank you for watching.

Email us:

Share this:
Linked in
Google +

Donate here:

Our special thanks go to Marie Stopes Cambodia, Marie Stopes Tanzania, all of the people who shared their experiences for these films, and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation for funding this story gathering project – helping us to share real stories of the people we serve.

  • Credits
    • Project lead
    • Kime McClintock
    • Authors
    • Kime McClintock
    • Melissa Ezechukwu
    • Published
    • 9 November 2015
    • Built with
    • Shorthand
    • Developer
    • Production
    • Marie Stopes International
    • Design
    • Marie Stopes International
  • Image Credits
    • Photography and Video
    • What Took You So Long:
    • Clara Wetzel
    • Chris Kousouros
    • Karim Iliya
    • Renee Mboya
    • Ayaan Farah
    • Good Morning Beautiful Films:
    • Jocelyn Pederick