Alliances for Advocacy supports regional and national advocacy to improve the well-being and sexual and reproductive health and rights of women, adolescents and youth in Francophone West Africa.
Francophone West Africa has some of the most challenging health indicators globally, particularly when it comes to sexual and reproductive health and rights. PAI’s Alliances for Advocacy project is focused on positively impacting the health and well-being of women and girls in the region by fostering collaborative, synergistic partnerships to advance policies, develop and improve programs and ensure funding for sexual and reproductive health and rights. Under this project, we collaborate regionally with the Ouagadougou Partnership Coordination Unit (OPCU) and its Youth Think Tank. We also advocate with the G5 Sahel and Sahel Alliance to make the links between sexual and reproductive health and rights, stability and security. Nationally, we support a unique and diverse network of local civil society organizations in Niger advocating for sexual and reproductive health and rights, particularly family planning and reproductive health investments.
The sexual and reproductive health needs in Francophone West Africa are enormous — as are the security, stability and environmental risks all countries in the region face. While donor support to the region has increased in recent years, overall investments remain low when compared to investments in East and southern Africa. Recognizing the needs in the region and advocacy potential of civil society organizations, PAI launched our Alliances for Advocacy project around the principle of collaboration, developing strong partnerships with both local organizations and key regional initiatives active on sexual and reproductive health issues. In Niger, Alliances for Advocacy has provided an opportunity to reinforce the advocacy, organizational and leadership skills of local civil society organizations to act as drivers of policy change. The project currently supports the development and implementation of effective civil society advocacy strategies aimed at improving sexual and reproductive health and rights policies, programs and budgets.
Collaboration with regional initiatives is key to reinforcing the impact of in-country advocacy. Through Alliances for Advocacy, PAI supports the Ouagadougou Partnership Coordination Unit and its Youth Think Tank. The aim is to promote meaningful engagement of youth in the discussion, development, implementation and monitoring of policies and budgets that impact sexual and reproductive health and rights. For the millions of adolescents living in the nine countries that comprise the Ouagadougou Partnership, ensuring that sexual and reproductive health and rights is supported by governments and other key stakeholders is paramount.
Alliances for Advocacy has also enabled PAI to influence both the G5 Sahel and Sahel Alliance as key platforms contributing to the security and development of the five countries in the Sahel — Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad. As a result of our collaboration, the Sahel Alliance, comprised of key bilateral and multilateral donors working to coordinate regional development assistance and improve its effectiveness, included its first-ever mention of reproductive health in a declaration adopted in February 2020 by its general assembly.
Our capacities in terms of advocacy and project management have been strengthened, which has allowed us to develop our own approaches adapted to our particular context and to exercise our leadership rather than being treated as mere implementers of other people's ideas.Imam Alou Hama Maiga, president, GAIP/DS