AFSHR - African Federation for Sexual Health and Rights
The Federation was founded in June 2002 at a meeting in Pretoria organized to discuss sexuality in Africa that was attended by delegates from the region, WHO Geneva, UNFPA Africa Desk, WHO Afro and the World Association for Sexual Health. Today, the Federation has received expression of interest for membership from over 40 Civil Society Organizations from across Africa and beyond. The Federation though still evolving, has a steering committee with sub-regional representation.
Key Achievements of the Federation
The Federation has to date accomplished the following:
- The convening of the first Sexual Health and Rights conference in Africa held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in February 2004. The conference was attended by over 300 delegates from across the continent, representing varied organizations and associations working in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights.
- The Federation participated in the review and launch of the Africa Union Plan of Action on the Family in Africa, held in Cotonou, Benin;
- Contributed inputs to the Africa Union Protocol for Reduction of Maternal Morbidity and Mortality in Africa;
- Actively networks and collaborates with various civil society organizations and partnerships e.g. Amanitare, PPFA-I;
- Actively highlights the need to address Sexuality, Sexual Health and Sexual Rights in Africa pursuant to the WHO consultation on Sexual Health in January 2002.
We wish to bring to your attention some key issues on Sexual Health and Rights as identified by the Federation:
- The need to recognize the life cycle approach that recognizes all people as sexual beings from birth to death and the changing needs across the lifespan;
- The importance of recognizing the multifaceted factors that influence sexual health and rights: social, economic, cultural and spiritual factors;
- The need to break the culture of silence around sexuality in families, communities and society in general;
It is in this regard that the Federation views with grave concern and threat to the continent the paucity of our collective approach to sexuality, sexual health and rights, especially as we review the status of the continent on HIV/AIDS, unwanted pregnancies (especially teenage pregnancies), unsafe abortion, gender based violence and harmful traditional practices. Recognizing these factors and considering initiatives already undertaken by many civil society organizations, the Federation would wish to collaborate with the Africa Union Commission to further bring Sexual Health and Rights to the forefront in Africa, including capacity building and gender mainstreaming.
We in the Federation therefore propose the following actions:
- To work with the Africa Union Commission and Sexual and Reproductive Health partners to promote Sexual Health and Rights for the continent, through the provision of technical assistance and/or acting as an advisory body to the AU on Sexual Health and Rights;
- To provide and facilitate links between the AU and Civil Society Organizations to ensure that governments implement AU Charters, Declarations, Guidelines on Sexual Health and Rights that they have committed themselves to;
- Disseminate AU Declarations, Charters and guidelines to Civil Society Organizations to enhance their role in mobilizing governments’ implementation;
- Seek the collaboration of the Africa Union in organizing the 2006 Sexual Health and Rights conference in Africa, with a proposed theme: “Sexuality, Economics and Development in Africa”.
1st Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights
25-29 February 2004 (Johannesburg, South Africa)
2nd Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights
19-21 June 2006 (Nairobi, Kenya)
The main theme: Sexuality, Economics and Development in Africa.
The goal of the conference is to bring the discourse of sexuality, sexual health and sexual rights to the forefront in Africa. Specifically, the conference aims to give participants an opportunity to meet and discuss issues of sexuality, sexual health and rights, to share experiences and innovative programs, to build alliances and networks, and to disseminate research findings on current and emerging sexuality issues in Africa.
The conference aims to highlight, among others, the following key issues:
- The need for a life cycle approach to sexuality programming that recognizes all people as sexual beings from birth to death, and that takes into account their changing needs across their lifespan.
- The importance of recognizing the multifaceted social, economic, cultural and spiritual factors that influence sexual health and rights
- The need to break the culture of silence around sexuality which is pervasive in families, communities and societies throughout Africa.
3rd Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights
4-7 February 2008 (Abuja, Nigeria).
The main theme: Sexuality, Poverty and accountability in Africa.
4th Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights
8-12 February 2010. (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)
5th Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights,
17- 21 September 2012. (Windhoek, Namibia)
Hosted by NAPPA (Namibia Planned Parenthood Association)
The Conference, originally planned to take place in Cairo, had been moved to Windhoek, because of political instability in Egypt. More than half of the 500 participants in Windhoek were young people from 36 different African countries. Highlighted issues at the conference included ‘Comprehensive Sexuality Education’, ‘Youth Friendly Health Services’, ‘Youth Participation’, ‘Protection of Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights‘ and ‘Child Marriage’.
6th Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights,
17 – 21 February 2014. (Yaoundé, Cameroon)
Chief host: WAA (Women in Alternative Action)
- Sexual Rights