In partnership with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a Malian NGO and Cordaid joined hands to promote better reproductive health care for Mali’s youth. And to support them in standing up for their rights. The new 5-year programme, called ‘Jigiya!’ or ‘hope’ in Bambara, is launched today in Mopti.
In Mali, 36% of the 15 to 19-year-old girls have already given birth. In some regions, more than 90% of young women are circumcised. Combined with alarming maternal mortality rates (325 maternal deaths/100.000 births) and high youth unemployment rates, this illustrates the predicament and lack of perspective of Mali’s youth. In a country plagued by poverty and violent extremism, they need all the support they can get to carve a viable future for themselves.
“It’s so important to give them access to safe and professional reproductive health services, instead of being delivered to harmful traditional practices and teenage pregnancies.”
Inge Barmentlo, Cordaid programme manager
This is exactly why Jigiya was set up. In the coming years Cordaid and Malian NGO CAEB want to:
- educate 1 million young Malians on matters of reproductive health, modern family planning, and on their rights to protect themselves against early marriage and pregnancy, female genital mutilation, and HIV/AIDS.
- convince half of them to use HIV/AIDS and STD prevention measures.
- train 5000 young leaders, allowing them to influence reproductive health decision-making in their villages, communities, regions, and even on a national level.
- persuade 200.000 15 to 24-year-old girls and young women to use modern contraceptives.
- support 1000 communities in abandoning female genital mutilation and early marriage practices.
Safe reproductive health services
Together with local implementing partners, CAEB and Cordaid will roll out the Jigiya programme in four regions: Ségou, Mopti, Koulikoro, and Kayes. “People in these regions face insecurity as well as a lack of professional reproductive health services”, says Cordaid programme manager Inge Barmentlo. “In some communities, more than 90% of young women are circumcised. And only half of the 15 to 24-year-old can read and write”, she explains. “This is why it is so important to allow them to make informed decisions about their own sexuality. To give them access to safe and professional reproductive health services, instead of being delivered to harmful traditional practices and teenage pregnancies.”
“It’s important to stand with Mali”
Jolke Folkert Oppewal, Dutch Ambassador to Mali, regrets not being able to attend today’s programme launch due to Covid-19.
“But I am very happy to see the programme launched today”, he said when interviewed by Cordaid and CAEB for the occasion of the launch. “Young people are the majority in Mali. We want to support them to take their destiny into their own hands and to make informed family planning decisions. By informing them, by enhancing their leadership role, by providing family planning services. But Jigiya also allows them to empower themselves economically, with the ‘savings for change’ component of the programme.”
“Especially now, in these difficult times, it is very important to stand with Mali”, the Ambassador concludes.
Read more about the Jigiya programma (French brochure, PDF)
Read more about Cordaid’s health programmes.