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About ARC

Advocacy for Reproductive Choices (ARC) is a coalition of civil society organizations working in the field of sexual and reproductive health.

The alliance was formed in 2005 to advocate for family planning programs and policy by leveraging on the strength of its members. Its main mandate has been to expand contraceptive choices, improve quality of care and ensure availability, accessibility and affordability of family planning services.

In 2017, ARC was appointed as the Civil Society focal point for India’s FP2020 country action plan. As an alliance ARC has had several achievements including its contribution to the successful introduction of injectable contraception in India.

It participates in fact finding missions, functions as a policy and media think tank and advocates with policy makers to ensure and implement a progressive family planning agenda in the country. ARC has chapters in five states: Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

In 2005, like minded individuals came together to form a network to advance women’s and men’s access to an expanded basket of contraceptive choices and family planning methods. Since then, the network, Advocating Reproductive Choices (ARC) has been leveraging coalition strength to advocate of advancing family planning services and sexual and reproductive health rights in a comprehensive manner.

The first secretariat of the network was hosted at Parivar Seva Sanstha from 2005 to 2007. This later moved to the Family Planning Association of India, which hosted the ARC secretariat from 2008 to 2015. The Population Foundation of India has been hosting the secretariat since 2015.

Some of ARC’s achievements as a coalition are as follows:

  • Successfully advocated for new contraceptive choices, which resulted in the introduction of injectable contraceptives (Antara), considered to be a landmark step towards giving women choice and agency
  • Moved the discourse on family planning from health-based intervention to contraception as a universal right, putting the focus on structural issues such as empowerment of women and choice
  • Provided recommendations for improving quality of family planning services at the 10th Common Review Mission (CRM), organised annually by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
  • Nominated as India’s Civil Society Focal Point for FP2020 and included within the India country engagement group
  • Functioned as a policy and media think tank by consistently drawing attention on issues such as quality of care, coercive and regressive policies and statements

Note: CRM is undertaken annually by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) to assess implementation of National Health Mission efforts in the states. The  invitation to ARC members to participate was as part of National Injectable Task Force