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UNFPA WCARO side event during the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) -

SWEDD: Partnership Changing Lives of Women and Girls

On the sidelines of the 55th session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD 55), UNFPA WCARO will organize a side event entitled, “SWEDD: Partnership Changing Lives of Women and Girls”, on April 27 from 12:00 to 13:45 GMT.

The side event will host a high-level panel composed of the SWEDD line Ministers, Representatives of SWEDD Partners and CSOs. It will bring together Government Officials of the SWEDD countries, UNFPA country offices, RECs in Africa, implementing partners, donor partners, CSOs, the media and the general public.



Introduction and Welcome:


Ms. Marie Chantal Uwitonze, Communication Specialist, UNFPA WCARO, SWEDD Unit




Dr. Joannie Bewa, Expert in Women Empowerment, SRHR related issues, Researcher, University of South Florida


Opening Remarks:

  • Ms. Diene Keita, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and UNFPA Deputy Executive Director (TBC)
  • Mr. Ousmane Mamoudou Kane, Minister of Economic Affairs and Promotion of Productive Sectors and Chairman of the SWEDD RSC
  • Ms. Argentina Matavel Piccin, Regional Director, UNFPA WCARO
  • Mr. Mohammed Dalil Essakali, Operations Manager for Regional Integration for Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and North Africa 


High-Level Panel

  • Ms. Myss Belmonde Dogo, Minister of Solidarity and the Fight against Poverty, Côte d’Ivoire
  • Dr. Idi Illiassou Maïnassara, Minister of Public Health, Population and Social Affairs, Niger
  • Ms. Margareta Norris Harrit, Operations Manager, SWEDD Project TTL, World Bank
  • Mr. Moussa Sidibe, SWEDD Coordinator, Mali
  • Ms. Edichi Yvette N'Tamon, Executive Director of ARSIP (Alliance of Religious for Integral Health and Promotion of the Human Person), Côte d'Ivoire
  • Ms. Tolotra Andriamanana, Youth & Gender Programme Specialist, UNFPA WCARO, SWEDD Unit
  • Mr. Ibrahim Ahamadou Toure, Young Leader, AfriYAN Mali


Closing Remarks:

Dr. Justin Koffi, SWEDD Regional Coordinator, UNFPA WCARO






The Sahel Women's Empowerment and Demographic Dividend (SWEDD) project is a concerted response by Sahelian Heads of State to reduce the vulnerability of women and girls and ensure their empowerment. It is currently being implemented in nine countries, including the G5 Sahel countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

The project benefits from a broad partnership with the World Bank, the United Nations Population Fund, the West African Health Organization, the African Union Commission and the Agence Française de Dévéloppement. It focuses on areas and territories with multiple vulnerabilities, including the high prevalence of child marriage, early pregnancy, girls' school dropout, GBV, etc.

The SWEDD project is targeting adolescent girls to (i) improve life skills and sexual and reproductive health knowledge; (ii) keep girls in school, and (iii) increase economic opportunities; (iv) and fight against GBV. Religious and traditional leaders conduct community dialogue in support of girls' secondary education, women's social and economic empowerment, birth spacing, and advocate against child marriage, early pregnancy and female genital mutilation. Boys and men are involved through community-based interventions for women's empowerment. The project is helping to eliminate systemic bottlenecks in health service delivery and to develop a policy agenda that places population and gender at the center of economic growth.

After six years of implementation, the SWEDD project has successfully empowered girls and women through integrated packages of interventions and tools, including safe spaces and clubs for husbands’/future husbands, school supports (remedial classes, financial assistance, transportation, canteens, gender responsive pedagogy training, etc.). As results, 90% of adolescent girls who benefit from safe spaces have a better knowledge of the harms of early pregnancy, child marriage, GBV and school dropout.

The retention rate of adolescent girls enrolled in secondary schools reached 92%. The rate of first prenatal consultation in the project's intervention zones has increased by 13.4% thanks to the establishment of clubs for husbands and future husbands. The rate of births assisted by qualified personnel has increased from 15.6% (2016) to 27.5% (2020) in Mali and the modern contraceptive prevalence in Chad has increased to 6.0% (2021) from 2.7% (2012). Taboos on SRH and family planning issues within communities have been broken.


The SWEDD project is a powerful contributor to UNFPA's 2022-2025 Strategic Plan andthe Three Transformative Results.