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Initiative in Senegal explores links between adolescent reproductive health and gender-based violence

Adolescent reproductive health and gender-based violence are major public health issues in Senegal.
IDRC President Jean Lebel conversing with two young women from Senegal.
IDRC President Jean Lebel in discussion with young women involved in the project JUBBANTI: Rights and reproductive health of youth and adolescents with disabilities.

On October 25, 2022, IDRC and Global Affairs Canada presented an initiative in Dakar that aims to improve the health of adolescent girls in Senegal by addressing the interactions between reproductive health and gender-based violence. Chaired by Senegal’s Ministry of Health and Social Action, the workshop shared the groundwork that is being laid, the intended research results and the actors involved, including policymakers and young people, in improving the well-being of adolescent girls in Senegal. 

The Better reproductive health for adolescent girls in Senegal (ADOS) initiative is a cohort of five participatory action research projects to generate evidence and inform policy and practice and a cohort of nine projects aimed at empowering youth and youth organizations to use evidence and strengthen their leadership. 

In Senegal, as in most sub-Saharan African countries, the situation for adolescent girls is complicated. The interplay between reproductive health and gender-based violence is indisputable, but research on their mutual impacts has been limited. This five-year initiative with a budget of CAD5.76 million, co-funded by Global Affairs Canada and IDRC, will help fill this gap by generating evidence to develop effective solutions.   

Several project leaders shared the proposed innovations and the expected results for each project. ADOS aims to train nearly 1,000 community leaders and 100 young community leaders in adolescent reproductive health and the fight against gender-based violence.   

"Placing adolescent girls at the heart of finding solutions will help identify the conditions necessary for sustainable solutions and strengthen the ability of Senegalese authorities to use them,” said IDRC President Jean Lebel, who attended the presentations. 

By generating evidence and supporting powerful leadership responses from young people, policymakers and communities, the initiative aims to spur a profound transformation of gender relations and power relations that currently impede the progress of adolescent girls in Senegal.