Rutgers, our partner in the Netherlands, surprised members of the newly formed parliamentary committee on international trade and development cooperation with a ‘Happy Box’ at an event in the Dutch parliament. ‘Happy Boxes’ are typically given to expectant mothers and are usually filled with products and advice on maternal care.
However, these particular ‘Happy Boxes’ were filled with information on topics pertaining to sexual and reproductive health and family planning, combined with small items symbolising each topic, such as condoms.
Although the Netherlands is leading the way in the fight to ensure all women and girls have access to sexual and reproductive health, there is still a lot of work to do, particularly when it comes to the fight against child marriage, Female Genital Mutilation and gender-based violence. As a result, the ‘Happy Box’ also contained items that represented these urgent topics as well.
Approximately twenty happy boxes were picked up by members of the Chamber who had each received an individual invitation. The event highlighted the broad support among civil society organisations for sexual and reproductive health and family planning, and raised awareness on key topics amongst parliamentarians. Parliamentarians expressed enthusiasm that organisations from across civil society working on different topics were working together towards the common goal of ensuring universal access to family planning. Member of parliament, Jasper van Dijk said of the box: "The connection between national and international work on sexual and reproductive health is very important."
The box was created in collaboration with the Dutch Aidsfonds, Amref Flying Doctors, CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality, dance4life, Hivos, Plan Nederland, RNW Media, Simavi and Wemos