THE GAMBIA: Using human rights principles to realize sexual and reproductive health & rights

In advocacy work for the right to safe abortion, movement building and strong national coalitions are central to ensuring coherence in promoting common goals and agreed messages across sectors. Movement building was a central theme at the Campaign’s International Forum – Developing an Advocacy Agenda for Abortion in the 21st Century and Making Change Happen, 5-7 September 2018. At the end of the meeting, we proposed to provide small grants to a number of Campaign member groups to initiate national coalitions in their countries. In early 2019, we received applications from and provided grants to support national coalition-building meetings in Ecuador, Gabon, The Gambia, Madagascar and Peru. All these meetings shared the overall aim of discussing common strategies and developing opportunities for movement building.

A summary of the Gambia coalition meeting is below. The full meeting report is available here.

Think Young Women organized this meeting on 4 May 2019.The aim was to build a critical mass of support on decriminalization of abortion in the Gambia, particularly among gender and human rights experts, women’s and youth groups, and health professionals. The 41 participants were lawyers, health professionals, and representatives of civil society organizations, international organizations and government. There was an opening ceremony, several presentations, and two parallel discussion workshops. The outcomes included development of a national action plan on how to promote abortion reform; enhancement of the knowledge of key stakeholders on the international, regional and national human rights frameworks that guarantee sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls; and formalisation of the SRRNet to influence legal and policy development, including on safe, legal abortion.