Shedecides Nigeria is set to hold lunch on 27th – 28 March 2020
Grab a drink let’s chat
Nigeria is acclaimed to have the largest economy in Africa, including the highest number of extremely poor people in the world .
As a populous nation in Africa, it shares hugely from the current 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10-24 in the world . This is the largest population the world has ever seen. Adolescents and young people in Nigeria begin sexual activity at an early age, for the girls, the age of their first sexual initiation is stated at 17 years according to (NDHS, 2018).
Often, they are unprepared with chances for increase rate of unintended multiple pregnancies. Marriage and sexuality determine the extent to which women and girls are exposed to the risk of unintended pregnancy, and in most cases, girls and women’s bodily/sexual autonomy is undermined and publicly owned due to culture and social engineering.
The timing of and circumstances of marriage and sexual activity have profound consequences for girls and women’s lives, thus the need for girls and women to freely decide whether, when, with whom and how many children to give birth to without question.
With the high unmet need for contraceptive use among sexually active unmarried girls and women (48%) according to the National Demographic Health Survey 2018, it has becomes crucial to unlock resources for integrated sexual and reproductive health and rights services.
There is a trend on increase sex violence in Nigeria. For this reason, many young women are standing up to speak out on abuses, calling for government’s intervention. This, therefore reiterate the need for the of launch of SheDecides Nigeria. According to the United Nations (UN), one in four women in Nigeria experiences sexual violence before they turn 18 . The launch of SheDecides Nigeria is intended to accelerate both government and individual action to completely eliminate the long practice of rape culture in the country and other sexual violence issues.
At the just concluded Nairobi Summit, the United Nations (UN) agencies, governments, world leaders, young people and sex positive individuals came together to accelerate action for the health, rights and wellbeing of women and girls including other gender identities. Nigeria was among the participants led by the Hon. Minister, Dr. Osagie Emmanuel Ehanire, Federal Ministry of Health and other policy makers, and it made the following commitments ;
• Apportion 10% of the N55.1 billion “Basic Health Care Provision Fund” (BHCPF) for maternal and child health care package.
• Achieve Zero unmet need for family planning – increased annual allocation from $3 to $4 million annually from 2018 for procurement of modern contraceptive; provide free family planning information, counselling and services to all women in public health facilities.
• Implement revised national Blueprint Scale-up Plan for family planning for improved funding for family planning commodities and consumables
• Implement age appropriate SRH information, counselling and services for adolescents and youth.
• Achieve Zero gender-based violence and harmful practices against women, girls and youth – Implement National Strategic Plan to end Child Marriage
• Act on Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP) at all levels.
We will latch on these commitments, including the current political climate in Nigeria, with focus on the 9th Assembly. Senators in this Assembly year are seen to favour issues around sexual and reproductive health and rights. For example, re-introduction of the Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill, and introduction Sexual Harassment Law to establish the cause of SheDecides in the country.
Many young persons in Nigeria, especially poor young persons who are living in urban and/or semi-urban locations are submerged in the myriad of issues that affect their access to sexual reproductive health education, information and services; two main interventions that bear huge significance in shaping the course of young people’s lives and future.
This myriad of issues result in a state of inadequate access to quality health information and services thereby creating gaps that lead to preventable health conditions, indiscriminate drug abuse, rise of maternal deaths in young women, lower condom usage, HIV transmission, unsafe abortion procedures and even death among adolescents and youth.
Despite this state of obvious inadequacy, women and young people in Nigeria are saddled with making decisions about their health every day –decisions on body image, decisions on voluntary/involuntary sexual experiences, escape from sexual violence etc.
All these decisions however, are influenced by the people, culture, laws and policies including funding.
The Theory of Change for SheDecides Nigeria’s launch is based on the assumption that by sparking the movement in Nigeria, it would create momentum which is needed to hold government and decision makers accountable, to act on the Nairobi submit, raise army of bold, accountability-forward youth advocates who will leverage on the opportunities as contained in the commitments to stand up and speak out for other components of sexual reproductive rights in the country.
Objectives: The overall objective is to unlock resources for integrated services for sexual reproductive health and RIGHTS, awareness raising and increase consciousness on SRHR including access to safe abortion which is one of the SheDecides goals.