Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are inalienable human rights and essential components of gender justice. They are central to sustainable development and to women’s and girls’ ability to reach their full potential.
As influential women leaders working in various development sectors, Amujae Leaders Dr. Yakama Manty Jones and Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr—Mayor of Freetown—were prominent contributors at the 10th Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights held recently in Sierra Leone. They joined a group of leading African voices to fight for equality and eliminate gender-based violence.
In the session about SRHR policy and financing dialogue, Dr. Jones stressed that a holistic, systemic approach is needed to safeguard the sexual and reproductive health and rights of African women and girls. She argued that without inclusive growth strategies that include women’s economic empowerment, SRHR targets would be hard to attain.
As the Director of Research and Delivery at the Ministry of Finance in Sierra Leone, Dr. Jones was able to offer practical recommendations on the type of pioneering policies needed to boost the funding of inclusive SRHR initiatives in Africa:
“We should be designing and rolling out more innovative financing models … hybrid financing, social entrepreneurship, crowdfunding, and direct grants to grassroots SRHR organizations.”
For her part, Mayor Aki-Sawyerr shed light on local governments’ role in creating safe spaces for women and girls. Drawing on her rich experience at the head of Freetown City Council, where she is leading the implementation of local actions to improve the lives of the city’s residents, she shared best practices on how to enhance the wellbeing of women and girls—such as the provision of free pre-school nurseries for the children of women working in local markets.
Read more about the 10th Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights here.