On 6 July in Niamey, Niger, the World Bank, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the West African Health Organization (WAHO) are hosting a day-long, high-level partnership meeting in support of the Sahel Women’s Empowerment and Demographic Dividend (SWEDD) Project. This meeting will take place on the margins of the regional African Union Summit.
This meeting aims to support cross-sector partnerships in SWEDD’s ambitious programmatic expansion. Late last year, GBCHealth supported a successful forum in Abidjan that began the conversation between the government of six Sahel countries and the private sector. This upcoming meeting will bring together relevant government officials from Mali, Mauritania, Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Benin to discuss gaps and needs for the successful continued implementation of the SWEDD project. Private sector stakeholders will have the opportunity to build on conversations from the Abidjan forum, identify new potential paths for partnership and shape private sector involvement moving forward. There are opportunities for companies to get involved and join the conversation at this early stage.
The SWEDD project aims to empower women and adolescent girls, improve access to quality maternal and child health services and family planning, and reduce gender inequality to positively impact the Sahel region’s demographic dividend. GBCHealth has partnered with UNFPA to encourage smart investments in health, empowerment, education and employment to reduce vulnerability and support young people to reach their full potential.
Initially launched in November 2015, the SWEDD project has three main goals:
- Generate demand for reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child health and nutrition (RMNCHN) services and products by promoting social and behavioral change and the empowerment of women and adolescent girls
- Strengthen the regional availability of RMNCHN commodities and qualified health workers
- Strengthen advocacy and dialogue at high levels and promote policy development and the project’s implementation
With the support of the World Bank, this project has recently been extended through 2023, with new countries scheduled to be integrated. Private sector involvement is key to long-term impact throughout the region.
Attendees of the partnership meeting will work to facilitate cooperation between governments, NGOs, the private sector and other stakeholders in support of the SWEDD project. They will discuss some of the ways that governments can contribute, for example by fostering environments that enable the empowerment of girls and institutionalizing gender-responsive governance. Governments can help attract private sector partners in support of these goals by establishing incentive measures for investments, among other possibilities. On the other hand, possible solutions originating with the private sector include contributing financial and competency-based support; working towards public-private partnerships (PPPs) that create income-generating activities and jobs for girls and women; and providing technical assistance with supply chain, logistics, access to commodities, etc.
To date the SWEDD project has shown encouraging results, including the African First Ladies’ pledge to be Champions for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Women, midwifery training in local communities, work with religious and community leaders to address cultural inhibitors affecting maternal and child health issues and supply chain improvements generate through new or evolving Logistics Management and Information Systems.
If you are interested in attending this meeting in Niger, please contact Vrunda Rathod at firstname.lastname@example.org.
6 July 2019
Attendance is limited, so please contact us at your earliest convenience in order to participate.