In Soubré district, in the south-east of Ivory Coast, Médecins du Monde (Doctors of the World) receives dozens of girls and young women. They all come with the same story, that of an unwanted pregnancy. Social, economic and family pressures, the absence of a policy favorable to women rights or the fear of judgements are factors that prevent women from freely enjoying bodily autonomy, especially girls who have very little control over their sex life. They lack information about contraception and the way to access reliable and safe means of contraception. It is consequently impossible for them to prevent an early pregnancy.
Faced with these difficulties, Médecins du Monde is implementing a project in Soubré to prevent and manage unwanted pregnancies in schools. Teams within the association work to improve sexual and reproductive health services, taking into account the specific needs of adolescent girls. The aid workers also set up spaces dedicated to counselling, train educators and health workers, reinforce current health centers and inform the general public as well as the authorities about this issue. All these efforts are made to give hope to young girls, to help them find their way back to school and take control over their future.
Photo copyright: © Olivier Papegnies/Huma Collective for Médecins du Monde