August 2017

Inroads Africa Regional Meeting: A festival of ideas

Aussi en français ci-dessous

By Kader Avonnon, Youth Champion, Association Béninoise pour la Promotion de la Famille (ABPF)

According to the World Health Organisation, 47,000 women die of complications related to unsafe abortion every year. One of the main causes of these deaths is the stigma surrounding access to information and abortion services. I personally think that abortion is a health service like any other; access to it is a fundamental human right that must be ensured for all. Because, safe abortion services save the lives of women and girls.

On 29th and 30th May 2017, I participated in a regional meeting organized by Inroads (International Network for the Reduction of Abortion Stigma and Discrimination) in Lusaka, Zambia. The purpose of the meeting was to provide participants from African countries with a forum for discussing good practices in combating the stigma associated with abortion services. As an IPPF Youth Champion, I work to reduce the stigma associated with abortion among young people in Benin and elsewhere. The meeting was a great opportunity for me to give and receive information. I was given the opportunity to present a video made by the association to which I belong (ABPF) as part of the Packard funded youth and abortion stigma project in Benin; to present Ado-Santé, an application developed by ABPF to promote young people’s access to information about their sexuality; and to co-facilitate a session on “stigmatizing against young people” in collaboration with Akosua Agyepong (National Treasurer of the IPPF Youth Action Movement in Ghana) and Catherine Osita (Fortress of Hope Africa).

Inroads Africa Regional Meeting kader group
Inroads members discuss social media strategies for tackling abortion stigma


Of all the sessions, I particularly enjoyed the shared experiences on the use of networks and social media in the fight against the stigma associated with abortion. Different experiences have demonstrated the effectiveness of this channel in removing barriers to access to information and facilitating referral to services.

This meeting contributed to the strengthening of my capacities, particularly in the development of non-stigmatizing messages. It enabled me to familiarize myself with other advocacy tools against stigma related to abortion at different levels. I was also pleased to learn that some religious leaders do support their followers to access abortion services. Even if this is done in discretion, it announces that a day will come when religious barriers to accessing abortion services will be completely lifted.

My participation in this meeting allowed me to strengthen my abilities and diversify my knowledge on abortion communication strategies. This new knowledge will allow me to increase my involvement alongside my young peers. I strongly recommend the replication of this activity at all levels (national, regional, and global) to make available the information, experiences and tools that have proved their worth in the fight against the stigmatization of abortion.


Inroads réunion régionale de l’Afrique: un festival d’idées sur la stigmatisation liée à l’avortement

Par Kader Avonnon, Jeune Champion, Association Béninoise pour la Promotion de la Famille (ABPF)

Selon l’OMS, 47 000 femmes décèdent des complications liées à l’avortement dans les pays en voie de développement. L’une des causes principales de ces décès est la stigmatisation qui entoure l’accès à l’information et aux services d’avortement. Je pense personnellement que l’avortement est un service de santé comme tout autre ; y accéder est un droit fondamental de l’homme qui doit être assuré pour tous. Car, les services d’avortement sauvent la vie des femmes et des jeunes filles et procure le bien-être familial

Les 29 et 30 Mai 2017, j’ai participé à une rencontre régionale organisée par Inroads (Réseau Internationale pour la Réduction de la Stigmatisation et la Discrimination liée à l’Avortement) à Lusaka en Zambie. Cette réunion visait à offrir aux participants venus de plusieurs pays d’Afrique un espace d’échange sur les bonnes pratiques dans le domaine de la lutte contre la stigmatisation liées aux services d’avortement. En ma qualité de Jeune Champion de l’IPPF, j’œuvre pour la réduction de la stigmatisation liée à l’avortement parmi les jeunes au Bénin et ailleurs. La réunion était pour moi un rendez-vous du donner et du recevoir. Elle m’a donné l’opportunité de présenter une vidéo réalisée par l’Association à laquelle j’appartiens (ABPF) dans le cadre du projet Packard au Bénin d’une part, de présenter Ado-Santé, une application développée par l’ABPF pour favoriser l’accès des jeunes à l’information sur leur sexualité et de co-faciliter une session sur « la stigmatisation face aux jeunes » en collaboration avec Akosua GYEPONG (Trésorière Nationale du MAJ Ghana) et Catherine Osita de (Fortress of Hope Africa) d’autre part.

De toutes les sessions, j’ai particulièrement aimé les expériences partagées sur l’utilisation des réseaux et médias sociaux dans la lutte contre la stigmatisation liée à l’avortement. Les différentes expériences ont démontré l’efficacité de ce canal pour lever les barrières affectant l’accès à l’information et faciliter la référence vers les services.

Cette rencontre a contribué au renforcement de mes capacités, particulièrement en matière d’élaboration de message non stigmatisant. Elle m’a permis de me familiariser avec d’autres outils de plaidoyer contre la stigmatisation liée à l’avortement à différents niveaux. J’ai aussi été content d’apprendre que des leaders religieux soutiennent leurs fidèles à accéder aux services d’avortement. Même si cela est jusque-là fait dans la discrétion, cela annonce qu’un jour viendra où les barrières religieuses à l’accès aux services d’avortement seront complètement levées.

Ma participation à cette rencontre m’a permis de renforcer mes capacités et diversifier mes connaissances sur les stratégies de communication sur l’avortement. Ces nouvelles connaissances me permettront d’accroitre mon engagement aux côtés de mes pairs jeunes au pays.

Je recommande vivement la duplication de cette activité à toutes les échelles (national, régional, et mondial) pour rendre disponible l’information, les expériences et les outils qui ont fait leur preuve dans la lutte contre la stigmatisation de l’avortement.



Grants awarded to young IPPF volunteers!

We’re pleased to announce that young people at six IPPF Member Associations have recently been awarded small grants to carry out their own projects tackling abortion stigma. We will post updates from these projects from now until January 2018 but here is a quick introduction:

Guinea: Association Guinéenne pour le Bien-Etre Familial (AGBEF)

“A choice and not a crime”

Young people at AGBEF will gather personal testimonies of those affected by unplanned pregnancy and unsafe abortion and conduct public conversations and educational talks to start to break the silence on abortion. Women in respected positions in the community (such as politicians, NGO staff, lawyers and community leaders) will be recruited to act as mentors and supporters to young peer educators. Together, they will conduct visits to other key decision-makers in the community to begin to change the conversation on abortion rights and access.

Kenya: Family Health Options Kenya (FHOK)

“The silent loud”

At the Eldoret youth centre in Kenya, peer educators will create theatre and dance performances which focus on the topic of abortion and deliver them to groups of young people to provoke discussion and greater understanding. Social media will also be used as a platform to reach a wider group of young people with non-stigmatising messages about abortion. The project team will involve young people with disabilities and young men to ensure that a diverse section of the community is reached.

Nepal: Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN)

“Reducing abortion stigma among youth”

Young people at FPAN will work with marginalised groups of young people, particularly migrants, to increase understanding of the legal status of abortion and sexual and reproductive rights. They will use street drama to deliver information in an accessible way, as well as working with youth representatives from different political parties to advocate for better access to and understanding of abortion.

Puerto Rico: Profamilias

“Hablemos del aborto” // “Let’s talk about abortion”

The project seeks to correct common myths through the creation of short, appealing films about abortion. Young peer leaders from Profamilias will partner with law students to create the films, as well as a booklet on abortion which can be used for educational work and advocacy.

Venezuela: Associacion Civil de Planificacion Familiar (PLAFAM)

“Háblalo” // “Speak about it”

PLAFAM wants to open up discussion about abortion stigma in Venezuela, where the law is very restrictive. The ‘Háblalo’ multimedia project will create innovative messaging on abortion as it affects young people in the hopes of building a more favourable context for the future decriminalization of abortion in Venezuela.

Sierra Leone: Planned Parenthood Association of Sierra Leone (PPASL)

“Together we can stop it”

Young people at PPASL plan to develop evidence-based messages on abortion for dissemination through radio discussions, and community stakeholder meetings. They will also use drama and music, as well as social media, to directly target youth. The project will develop radio ‘jingles’ to specifically address abortion stigma and to reach out to young people to let them know their rights.


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