Partnering to Advance SRHR and Eliminate GBV in West and Central Africa
The World Health Organization estimates that roughly 1.8 million unsafe abortions are performed in West Africa each year. The 2020 Humanitarian Needs Overviews and subsequent Humanitarian Response Plans found that 2.3 million women and girls need GBV prevention, response, and risk mitigation services across Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger.
EngenderHealth is supporting an established network of young feminist activists and organizations to advocate for expanded access to a full range of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, including comprehensive abortion care (CAC), and addressing the root causes of GBV. The goal of this program is to ensure women, girls, and young people understand and can exercise their SRHR and live in a world free from violence.
This program builds on our previous work to advance advocacy on CAC in West Africa, which sought to improve the policy and service environments for CAC in Benin, Burkina Faso, and Côte d’Ivoire. Building on these countries’ commitments to the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), the program strengthened regional support for safe abortion among key stakeholders and facilitated access to CAC by expanding information about rights and availability of services. The program aimed to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity related to unsafe abortion in the three countries, with an emphasis on reducing the disproportionate burden of unsafe abortion on adolescent girls. Through our current program, we are strengthening collaboration between activists and enhancing advocacy efforts to improve laws, standards, guidelines, and procedures for SRHR and GBV in Benin, Burkina Faso, and Côte d’Ivoire—in alignment with commitments made by the respective governments.
EngenderHealth aims to improve equitable partnerships with and meaningful participation of youth-led organizations to increase access to SRHR and GBV information and services. We are facilitating the integration of GBV, SRH, and family planning services by encouraging coordination and strengthening collaboration among activists and regional SRHR organizations (including the Ouagadougou Partnership, the Dialogue for Safe Abortion, and the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition) by facilitating communication, minimizing duplicative efforts, and infusing feminist principles into their operations.