West Africa Adolescent and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health (AYSRH) Program
Pathfinder is laying the groundwork to address the great need for contraception and sexual and reproductive health services in francophone West Africa, a region that has some of the lowest contraceptive prevalence rates and highest maternal mortality in Africa. Niger has the highest rate of child marriage in the world. One in every three girls is married off before she turns 15. Sixty-three percent of Guinean girls are married before they turn 18; in Burkina Faso, it’s 48 percent.
With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, John Templeton Foundation, Pathfinding Fund, Weyerhauser Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Pathfinder is implementing a scalable, evidence-based model focusing on promotion of sexual and reproductive health among young married women and their partners in Guinea, Burkina Faso, and Niger.
Using effective strategies from our work in India and Uganda, Pathfinder works with the Ministries of Health in both Guinea, Burkina Faso, and Niger to support their efforts to develop strategies for adolescent reproductive health. Subawards are being prepared for local partner organizations to implement community-level activities in both countries.
This USAID-funded project was a Pathfinder-led initiative to reduce and eliminate the practice of female genital cutting in Guinea.
In Guinea, Pathfinder worked closely with USAID’s multi-sectoral project, “Faisons Ensemble,” to improve and increase use of family planning services, thereby reducing unmet needs in family planning.
Initiative de Mobilisation pour L’accès à la Contraception pour Tous (IMPACT) is a four-year project funded by the Gates Foundation that will strengthen service delivery to support healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies in Niger.
“Globally, this marginalized population of young women has unique needs and rights that need to be addressed and acknowledged,” said Callie Simon, a technical advisor for adolescent sexual and reproductive health with Pathfinder International. “Married adolescent girls have so little power and decision-making over their bodies, over their choices, [and] over their lives."
A focus on family planning services and the availability of long-acting reversible contraceptive methods are part of a new program to raise the contraceptive prevalence rate and promote healthy spacing of pregnancies in Niger.