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Gender-transformative research in Africa: collective learning and synthesis to improve sexual, reproductive and maternal health rights and services

A growing body of research shows that gender-transformative approaches can contribute to sustained improvements to sexual, reproductive and maternal health outcomes. Gender-transformative approaches challenge underlying gender inequalities and power structures to overcome restrictive sexual and gender norms. These norms are based on social, cultural and/or religious beliefs and practices that can negatively impact the sexual and reproductive rights of young people, women, stateless groups, displaced populations, Indigenous groups and people with non-heterosexual orientation.

Despite this recognition and modest increases in programming using gender-transformative approaches, a very thin body of evidence currently exists on if, how and in what contexts gender-transformative approaches can influence sexual, reproductive and maternal health outcomes. Moreover, there is a lack of appropriate evaluative frameworks and metrics that can be used to measure change and compare across different programs.

This project will contribute toward filling the knowledge and practice gaps on the gender-transformative paradigms, conceptual frameworks, research designs and methods and knowledge-translation strategies that can help improve sexual, reproductive and maternal health rights and services in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). It aims to produce: a co-created framework to use gender-transformative research of sexual, reproductive and maternal health rights and services in Africa; a map of relevant research paradigms, frameworks, methodologies and metrics; and synthesis documents, blogs, podcasts, policy briefs and a journal supplement geared to make voices from Africa on gender transformation more visible. This enriched body of knowledge will be informed by LMIC-led community-based implementation research efforts. The overall aim is to foster a strengthened community of researchers and policymakers informed, connected and empowered to use gender-transformative frameworks and methods in their research and practice.

Project ID
Project Status
40 months
IDRC Officer
Chaitali Sinha
Total Funding
CA$ 331,800.00
Burkina Faso
South Africa
Institution Country
South Africa
University of the Western Cape

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