Recent IDRC investments aim to improve adolescent wellbeing in West Africa

February 12, 2020

IDRC is investing in generating evidence to combat sexual and gender-based violence and improve adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights in West Africa. Three new projects in Côte d’Ivoire and Niger, in addition to existing projects in Burkina Faso and Togo, bring this investment to more than CA$3 million.

Mother holds her baby in a waiting room.
Dominic Chavez/World Bank

Sexual and reproductive health and freedom from sexual and gender-based violence are crucial factors in the wellbeing of adolescents, who will soon be shaping West African society. Yet, adolescent girls in West Africa face significant challenges in reaching their full development potential. Exposure to sexual and gender-based violence, compounded by limited access to sexual and reproductive health services, often prevent young women from realizing their rights.

When adolescent girls are coerced into unwanted sex or early marriage, they risk unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, sexually transmitted infections (including HIV), and dangerous childbirth — in some cases leading to preventable maternal deaths. Gender-based violence perpetuates a cycle of disempowerment and poor health among adolescent girls, especially for those who are already vulnerable because of poverty, low education levels, limited access to public services, and the pressure of repressive social norms.

IDRC is funding a series of projects that seek to address a knowledge gap about addressing the root causes and compounding factors limiting young women's development. These five research projects are generating a body of knowledge to improve policies and programs on adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights and to address the root causes of sexual and gender-based violence in the region.

Learn more about these projects:

Côte d’Ivoire

Adolescence, gender-based violence, reproductive health and early pregnancy in Côte d’Ivoire

Niger

Understanding social norms and preventing child marriage to promote adolescent reproductive health in Niger

Improving reproductive health rights to prevent teenage pregnancies in Niger

Burkina Faso

Responding to sexual violence against adolescents in Burkina Faso for the respect of their sexual and reproductive rights

Togo

Preventing gender-based violence and sexual and reproductive rights violations among adolescents to reduce teen pregnancy in Togo