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New EU-funded programme kicks off in Francophone West Africa

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9 November 2022 Tags: Ado Avance Ensemble, adolescents, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, European Commission, Francophone West Africa, Ivory Coast, SRHR, Togo, Young People

Adolescents and young people make up the majority of the population in Francophone West Africa. However, information on their sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and access to (health) services are far and far between. To tackle this, Rutgers has kicked off a new programme with young people at its heart: Ado Avance Ensemble (teens unite for progress).

Making SRHR information and services available to young people is crucial to decrease teenage pregnancies, HIV and AIDS, unsafe abortions and gender-based violence. It enables young people to complete their education, enter the labour market and increase their socio-economic welfare and personal wellbeing.

The new three-year programme will focus on vulnerable adolescents (10-19 yrs.), particularly out-of-school girls, in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, and Togo. Ado Avance Ensemble is funded by the European Commission and aims to:

  • improve demand and access to SRHR information and services
  • strengthen the public and community health systems
  • promote an enabling political and societal environment that allows vulnerable adolescents to access quality SRH information and services.
The activities of Ado Avance Ensemble are expected to reach 500,000 adolescents and another 300,000 young people (under 25 years old).

Dynamic consortium kicks off

Ado Avance Ensemble will be implemented by a diverse and dynamic consortium consisting of Rutgers (coordinator), ABBEF, ABPF, AIBEF, ATBEF, CAMNAFAW, DKT, and Ipas. The partners convened for the first time in Abidjan, Ivory Coast in September. Strategising for the years to come and aligning interventions on the outcomes were high on the agenda.

Young people at its core

Also present at the kick off was the Mouvement d’Action Jeunes (Youth Action Movement) from country partner ABBEF in Burkina Faso. Stéphanie Reine Thiombiano, its President in Burkina Faso, shared her views on what Ado Avance Ensemble brings.

‘’The main novelty is the combination of adolescents and young people who are not in school and because it puts the knowledge of young people in each country at the heart of the programme.’’

Didier Floriant Fotsing, Président of Mouvement d’Action Jeunes/CAMNAFAW Centre, Cameroon added:

“Through Ado Avance Ensemble young people from the five different countries will be able to learn from each other’s experiences, this is unique for us. It is truly a programme for young people and by young people.”

 

Didier added “Young people are involved in all the processes of its implementation. It enables them to participate in community-based information sessions, online information sessions (where many young people are active) and involve parents of teenagers and young people.” Stephanie concluded “I strongly believe that it will strengthen the capacities of adolescents and young people to advocate for their sexual and reproductive health and rights.”

Looking forward

With Ado Avance Ensemble properly launched by the entire consortium in Ivory Coast, a series of exciting activities will follow in the next three years. Paula Dijk, programme manager of Ado Avance Ensemble said: “The joint launch laid a solid foundation for the implementation of the programme. We look forward to continued linking and learning between the consortium members, both online and face-to-face.”

Watch this space for the latest news from Ado Avance Ensemble.

This programme is funded by the European Union.

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