The Réseau des Femmes Leaders pour le Développement – RFLD has identified the main problems facing West and Central Africa:

  • Lack of comprehensive sex education: Many countries in West and Central Africa lack comprehensive sex education programs in schools. This results in a lack of knowledge about reproductive health, contraception and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), leaving women and girls vulnerable to unplanned pregnancies and STIs.
  • High teenage pregnancy rates: Teenage pregnancy rates are high in many parts of West and Central Africa.
  • Limited access to contraception, early marriage and inadequate sex education contribute to this problem. Teenage pregnancies often put girls’ health at risk and limit their educational and economic opportunities.
  • Limited access to reproductive health care: Women and girls in West and Central Africa often face difficulties in accessing quality reproductive health services. There may be a lack of clinics, qualified healthcare providers and essential reproductive health supplies, such as contraceptives. This lack of access can lead to unsafe abortions, maternal mortality and complications during childbirth.
  • Female genital mutilation (FGM): Female genital mutilation is still practiced in some West and Central African countries, despite efforts to eliminate it. FGM has serious physical and psychological consequences for women and girls, including complications during childbirth, increased risk of infection and long-term sexual health problems.
  • Gender-based violence: Women and girls in West and Central Africa are at risk of gender-based violence, including sexual assault, domestic violence and forced marriage. These forms of violence have adverse effects on their sexual and reproductive health, including unwanted pregnancies, STIs and psychological trauma.
    Stigmatization of sexual and reproductive health:
  • Stigmatization and cultural taboos surrounding sexual and reproductive health issues often prevent women and girls from seeking information and services. The result is a lack of awareness of available resources and an inability to make informed decisions about their reproductive health.

The Réséau des Femmes Leaders pour le Développement (RFLD) is working to address these challenges. These efforts include promoting comprehensive sexuality education, increasing access to reproductive health services, raising awareness of the consequences of female genital mutilation and gender-based violence, and defending the rights of women and girls in the region.


  • Comprehensive sex education: Governments and organizations should prioritize comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education in schools. This education should cover topics such as reproductive health, contraception, STIs, consent and gender equality. By providing accurate information, young women and girls can make informed decisions about their sexual health.
  • Accessible reproductive health services: Governments and health systems must work together to improve access to quality reproductive health services. This includes increasing the number of clinics, trained healthcare providers and essential reproductive health supplies, such as contraceptives. Mobile clinics and telemedicine can also be used to reach remote areas.
  • Empowering women and girls: It is essential to empower women and girls by promoting their rights and providing them with opportunities for education and economic independence. By empowering women, they acquire the ability to make decisions about their own bodies and take charge of their sexual and reproductive health.
  • Eliminate female genital mutilation (FGM): Efforts to eradicate female genital mutilation should be intensified through legislation, community involvement and awareness campaigns. Education on the harmful effects of FGM and alternative rites of passage can help change cultural norms and protect the rights of girls and women.
  • Preventing gender-based violence: It is essential to strengthen legal frameworks and implement policies to prevent and combat gender-based violence. This includes providing support services for survivors, raising awareness of rights and available resources, and promoting gender equality through community engagement and education.
  • Involving men and boys: Involving men and boys in discussions about sexual and reproductive health is essential to achieving lasting change. Encouraging positive masculinity, challenging harmful gender norms and promoting respectful relationships can contribute to a healthier, more equitable society.
  • Collaboration and partnerships: Governments, NGOs and international organizations should work together to pool their resources and expertise in the field of sexual health and reproductive rights in West Africa. By working together, they can strengthen the impact of their efforts and create sustainable solutions.
  • Advocacy and policy reform: Advocacy efforts are needed to influence policy change and ensure that sexual and reproductive rights are prioritized. This includes advocating for legal reforms, budget allocations and the implementation of evidence-based programs.