Break the barriers for women and girls in Burkina Faso

Imagine not knowing that sex could make you pregnant. Imagine finding out how to prevent a pregnancy only after you'd had your third or fourth child. Now imagine being refused contraception - the pill or condoms - just because you don't have your partner's or in-law's permission.

This is the reality for many women and girls in Burkina Faso today.

Even if they have permission, they may not have enough money to pay for it: emergency contraception can cost as much as one-fifth of your monthly income if you're earning minimum wage.

The consequences of these barriers to contraception are unwanted, unplanned and sometimes risky pregnancies.

In the end, women and girls are denied the right to make crucial choices that belong to them - an abuse of their sexual and reproductive rights.

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Message Recipients: Président du Faso
Burkina Faso has one of the lowest rates of contraceptive use among women in the world: 17% at last count in 2014. It also has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. By the time they are 19 years old, most girls are married, and nearly half of them are already mothers.

Under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Burkina Faso's Constitution, women and girls are entitled to the same human rights as men and boys. But in practice, they are discriminated against and denied their rights. They are too often unable to make decisions about who they can love, who they have intimate relations with, who they marry, and about whether to have children and how many.

Access to contraception is central to preventing unintended pregnancies, reducing the number of abortions, and enabling women to time their births. But women and girls in Burkina Faso are denied access to contraception because of cost, lack of information, travel distances, and men and boys' attitudes.

By denying them access to contraception information and products, Burkina Faso prevents women and girls from fully enjoying their human rights.

It is time to act on promises made. I urge you to break the barriers to contraception for women and girls by:
  • - Making contraception free for all women and girls in Burkina Faso
  • - Improving the accessibility of sexual health information and services for women and girls
  • - Guaranteeing their right to decide if and when to have children and if so, how many.
Please make the choice to give them a choice.
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