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Breaking taboos: the impact of World Contraception Day and Safe Abortion Day

In a world where open conversations about sexual and reproductive health are often faced with stigma and taboos, there are courageous young people that try to break through.

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Tags: Ado Avance Ensemble, Benin, outreach, SRHR, Togo, World Days, Young People

In a world where open conversations about sexual and reproductive health are often faced with stigma and taboos, there are courageous young people that try to break through these barriers. World Contraception Day and Safe Abortion Day serve as great days to mobilise and raise awareness. In an interview with passionate young advocates from Benin and Togo, we delved deep into the significance of these days, their impact on their societies, and the enthusiastic efforts to change the narrative surrounding contraception and safe abortion. Join us as we explore their insights, visions, and hopes for a future where informed choices, autonomy, and health prevail.

1. Why is World Contraception Day important to you?

Floriane: World Contraception Day is important because it’s a day that we deconstruct the myths surrounding contraception through dialogue and awareness-raising.

Ainadou: It is important to me because it contributes to the autonomy of individuals by enabling them to make informed decisions about their own bodies and their families. It also promotes women’s health and reduces unwanted pregnancies, which has a positive impact on society as a whole.

Cyrille:  To inform everyone, especially households, about the details of each method and the conditions for adopting them; and thirdly, this day is a benchmark in digital terms, because newspapers and testimonials are pouring in to make an impact on a large number of people.

Anonymous: This day is important to me because it promotes contraception methods to help us, young people, so that we don’t destroy our future through unwanted pregnancies, STIs or AIDS.

Young person from Togo: This day is an opportunity for us to have access to more information, which will make it easier to prevent teenage pregnancies. This day gives us the opportunity to get the information we need to adopt responsible behaviour and reduce possible risks. It’s a chance for us to take control of our lives and promote healthy relationships around us and to fight against all kinds of stigma.

2. Why is Safe Abortion Day important to you?

Young person from Togo: This day places particular emphasis on reducing maternal deaths and possible complications, by eliminating the stigma surrounding the procedure and promoting access to quality services. It is also a day for high-level advocacy for policy change.

Floriane: Safe Abortion Day is important to me because it is another opportunity to explain Benin Law N 2021-12 amending and supplementing Law 2003-04 of 3 March 2003 on sexual and reproductive health and the importance of access to safe abortion services. It recognises women’s right to access safe abortion services and their right to decide on their own lives. This is an opportunity for us to reiterate our commitment to facilitating access to safe abortion care for women and to remind all health professionals of their responsibility to provide safe, quality abortion services.


It's very important to me because it gives various civil society organisations working in the field of SRHR an opportunity to raise awareness. Since 2007, 26 September has been proclaimed "World Contraception Day" to highlight the human right to make a voluntary and informed choice about the timing, number and spacing of births and thereby avoid the dangerous effects of unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions.
By Ode

3. These days have now been running for several years. How have these days contributed to change in your country?

Young person from Togo: As awareness-raising days, they have made it possible to inform people more about the different contraceptive methods available, which has helped to correct misinformation. These days help to reduce the stigma surrounding contraception and abortion. These days help with advocacy and, above all, community mobilisation.

Ainadou: These days have contributed to change by raising public awareness of sexual and reproductive health issues, highlighting the challenges faced by individuals and encouraging open dialogue on these issues. They have also helped to reduce stigma and promote access to quality sexual and reproductive health services.

These days are catalysts for change; they have helped to facilitate universal access to contraceptive methods and safe access to abortion care. These days have helped to combat the prejudices and stereotypes surrounding contraception and abortion.
By Floriane

4. How do young people in your country get involved in these days?

Cyrille:  Our young people are so dynamic, punctual and assiduous that they actively prepare and mobilise for these days with one-off activities such as: public marches, radio broadcasts, stand installations, mass awareness-raising, fun games, artistic performances, writing articles and above all organising online conferences, not forgetting participation in the major state events of the day.

Floriane: Young people are key players in these days, organising virtual awareness campaigns and meet-ups with their peers on the benefits of contraception and the risks of unsafe abortion.

Young person from Togo: Young people are involved in all the major events organised during these days, not forgetting the awareness campaigns. This allows them to be involved in the various advocacy actions. Their commitment can also be seen through the content created and published on social networks. Group discussions and, above all, peer education is organised.

5. What do you think of the Ado Avance Ensemble sending one campaign message across Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire and Togo?

Cyrille:  It’s not only a good and ideal idea, it’s also an essential strategy for finding out or gauging the level of progress of the results achieved in the different countries, and for sharing good practice. Sending this message is also vital to rekindle the flame and the existence of Ado Avance in these countries.

Ainadou: I think this project is very welcome. It will enable our people to make informed choices about their own bodies.

Ode:  It’s a project that is having a positive impact on sexual and reproductive health in Benin.

6. What does the Ado Avance Ensemble campaign message for both world days  – our youth = our life = our responsibility – mean to you? 

Ainadou: This means that today’s young people represent the future, and it is our collective responsibility to provide them with access to comprehensive sexuality education, effective contraception and safe abortion services. This ensures that young people are able to make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health, thereby promoting the health, autonomy and well-being of individuals and society as a whole.

Young people are tomorrow's leaders and tomorrow's parents. They are a priority.
By Yherese

7. What are you most excited about for World Contraception Day and/or Safe Abortion Day?

Odilon: It has to be said that the celebration of these days sheds light on people’s perceptions. I’m also very moved by these days because we’re seeing an improvement. Many women are adopting contraception methods and few are resorting to unsafe abortions.

Floriane: I’m enthusiastic about the idea of demystifying the myths surrounding contraception and safe abortion to enable women to make an informed choice about their sexual and reproductive health and reduce the mortality rate linked to unsafe abortions.



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