Jan 2018 – Jul 2021

Reducing Unsafe Abortion Among Adolescents – an Integrated Response

Africa map


High-burden countries – Africa

A $25 million partnership to reduce unsafe abortion deaths and injury among adolescent girls.

$11,500,000 Grant Value

$1,000,000 evaluation budget


Other funders

  • Matched funding with scope to work with other potential funders

Adolescents in developing countries have critical sexual health needs – across sub-Saharan Africa teenagers are twice as likely to have an unmet need for contraception compared to women in their twenties , they are disproportionately at risk of unintended pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections including HIV. 

The earlier a girl starts having sex the more likely it was forced or coerced, a violation that undermines her choices, her ability to control her sexual health and her future. Girls must also navigate major barriers to sex education, reproductive health services, and social care due to stigma and discrimination associated to their age, gender and sexuality.

Unsafe sex and unintended pregnancy lead to millions of girls in developing countries resorting to unsafe abortions, causing thousands of avoidable injuries and deaths each year .  

The ultimate goal of this investment is to substantially and sustainably reduce unsafe abortion deaths and injury among adolescent girls in countries with the greatest burden in sub-Saharan Africa.

In three focus countries, it will apply a novel approach recognising the unique needs of adolescents, starting with user-centred design to understand a girl’s pathway that leads to unsafe abortion.


The programme will:

  • Increase access to safe, affordable, and high-quality reproductive health services that are designed with girls. 
  • Strengthen referral networks, working with Community Based Organisations (CBOs) so that girls get integrated services.
  • Foster and support a movement that shifts power to girls themselves with more supportive community norms, leveraging ICT platforms and interpersonal networks.
  • Prioritise local solutions to reduce unsafe abortions. CBOs are at the centre of our response: they bring a deep understanding of the barriers girls’ face, the stigma that providers’ experience, and the innovations needed to improve access. 
  • This investment brings together a consortium of partners, including local CBOs, leading technical experts, and social marketing organisations to destigmatize and support girls’ choices creating a ‘network of champions’ to reduce unsafe abortion.