Promoting a rights-based response in Africa

The project focused on promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights of LGBT populations in Africa, including prevention of child marriage and sexual and gender-based violence. The project supports national governments in 12 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (Ivory Coast, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria and Uganda, Swaziland, Burkina Faso, Lesotho, Tanzania, Angola, Ghana, Seychelles, Kenya, RSA and Zambia) over three years from 2016 to 2018.

The second phase of the project, with the first phase having run from 2013 to 2015, is premised  on the recommendations from the Mid-term Evaluation of phase 1, and placed an emphasis on national ownership and accountability in implementing countries. This was done by facilitating the undertaking of political and cultural scans as well as legal audits/assessments; and by supporting national governments to action plan for law and policy review.

Based on the End of Project Evaluation, this project has had a range of positive impacts in sub-Saharan Africa, primarily in the focus countries but also extending beyond this by virtue of the regional level activities. The breadth of impact can in large part be attributed to the project’s flexibility, which allows countries to determine their priorities and most promising opportunities for action.

Within countries, the importance of political buy-in, national ownership, and multistakeholder groups to help move work forward is clear. Law and policy reform take a long time, but this project illustrates that it can be achieved if a long-term view is taken where countries are given latitude to create their own pathways to change and where the potentially circuitous nature of these pathways is understood.