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: