Strengthening Local Youth- and Women-Led Organizations to Become Key Actors in Promoting SRHR and Improving the Management and Prevention of Gender-Based Violence in West Africa
The Strengthening Local Youth- and Women-Led Organizations (YWLOs) to Become Key Actors in Promoting Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and Improving the Management and Prevention of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in West Africa program is a unique collaborative initiative generously funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. EngenderHealth is supporting an established network of youth- and women- organizations across multiple countries in West Africa, including Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, and Burkina Faso, to advocate for expanded access to a full range of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services and addressing the root causes of GBV. The program aims to ensure that women, girls, and young people in West Africa can exercise their SRHR and create a world where they can live free from GBV.
The prevalence of GBV in Benin is significant, with 69% of women reporting having experienced GBV, including 27% having experienced physical violence and 10% having experienced sexual violence. In Burkina Faso, violence against adolescent girls, abduction, rape, and repeat excision practices are widespread, and 76% of women aged 15 to 49 years have undergone genital mutilation. In Côte d’Ivoire, 22.9% of all women have an unmet need for modern methods of contraception. And in Togo, 24.5% of all women have an unmet need for modern methods of contraception.
Our partner YWLOs are critical to the achievements of this program. Through this program, we are building an equitable partnership academy for local YWLOS. We are supporting the development and implementation of mechanisms for accountability within partner organizations and encouraging the exchange of learnings, documentation, and best practices across the region. In Benin, we are working to reduce the stigma related to abortion and improve access to safe abortion services and information. Key interventions of the program include recruiting new youth-led organizations (YLOs) in all supported countries; conducting country-specific organizational diagnostic workshops for new organizations and updating those of existing organizations; providing support to implement the organizational plan resulting from the diagnostic workshops; supplying technical and financial support for organizations to improve service provision, including coaching and mentoring for the new organizations; organizing initial training (related to SRHR, GBV, advocacy, etc.) for members of new organizations; and developing workshops to co-create a work plan focused on creating demand for self-managed care.
EngenderHealth aims to improve equitable partnerships with and meaningful participation of YWLOs to increase access to SRHR and GBV information and services. The driving principles of our partnership approach make this program unique. By partnering with YWLOs already working in the region and continuously learning through those partnerships, we can remain flexible to needs as they arise and gather lessons for future work throughout this program and others. Additionally, by focusing on partnership we can encourage coordination and strengthen collaboration among organizations across West Africa.
Through this program, EngenderHealth is piloting a three-phase capacity-building program for YWLOs. In Benin, Burkina Faso, and Côte d’Ivoire, we have completed the first phase of our capacity building and equitable partnership program with nine local youth and women’s organizations. For the second phase, we have recruited twelve new YLOs and expanded our program to Togo. We also set up a capacity-building program for local youth and women-led organizations in which the nine YLOs from the first phase worked alongside us as mentors for the twelve new YLOs.
The program addresses barriers to SRHR information and services for young people, girls, and women by enhancing existing YWLO efforts. It fosters an environment where everyone can access high-quality SRH care and benefit from improved coordination of GBV prevention and survivor-centered services.
- Famille Nutrition et Développement (FND)
- Jeunes volontaires pour la santé (JVS)
- Réseau ouest-africain des jeunes femmes leaders (ROAJELF)
- Jeunesse Regard et Action (JRA ONG)
- Association Femme BAOBAB
- Women and Power Association
- Les Negresses Féministes (Togo)
- Mouvement Girl Motion (Togo)
- Collectif Together4Change (Togo)
- Flamme d'espoir pour l'émergence des jeunes (Burkina Faso)
- Organisation des jeunes engagés pour la participation citoyenne et le développement durable (Burkina Faso)
- Aseifher Rising (Burkina Faso)
- Children's Dreams (Burkina Faso)
- Réseau des jeunes femmes entrepreneures du Burkina Faso (Côte d’Ivoire)
- Ecoutez-Moi Aussi (Côte d’Ivoire)
- Mouvement d’action des jeunes (Côte d’Ivoire)
- La Ligue (Côte d’Ivoire)
- Association Adeen Tahny (Côte d’Ivoire)
- Gouttes Rouges (Côte d’Ivoire)