From 5th to 8th March the Center for Reproductive Rights hosted a workshop of the Africa Reproductive Rights Initiative (ARRI) in Zanzibar, bringing together a network of lawyers, advocates and human rights defenders working to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights.
The workshop started on a high note with various actors contributing to discussions on dialogue on adolescent consent and access to services including strategies on working with different players to ensure comprehensive sexual and reproductive health programs and services meet the needs of women and girls in the region. Inclusion Africa made a presentation on open dialogue on disability and reproductive rights. The presentation engaged participants in understanding sexual and reproductive rights from the CRPD lens looking at articles 6, 12, 19 and 25. In addition the presentation gave a background of the protocol to the African Charter on Peoples and Human Rights emphasizing that the protocol builds on the rights of persons with disabilities in a continental context, drawing from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities but also addressing additional issues specific to Africa. The protocol, accordingly, addresses issues faced by persons with disabilities in Africa, such as increased rates of poverty; systemic discrimination; and risk of violence and abuse, particularly for those with albinism and women and girls with disabilities. Article 13 of the Protocol is on right of health.
Participants then spent the remaining two and a half days undergoing communications workshop. Key sessions included designing communications campaign, use of social media to advance reproductive rights, strategies on managing crisis communication and using technology to strengthen the movement.
The Africa Reproductive Rights Initiative (ARRI) network aims to create opportunities for a more integrated reproductive rights movement throughout Africa, where advocates and human rights defenders can learn from each other’s experiences, share information, and amplify their voices.