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No Better Time for Canada to Invest in Francophone West Africa

This article originally appeared in The Hill Times.

I have spent many years advocating for access to family planning so that women and girls in my native Mauritania and the wider Francophone West Africa region can lead healthy, prosperous lives. It hasn’t always been easy and West Africa rarely comes to mind as a region where women and girls are flourishing. But, over the last few years, we’ve quietly achieved something great—and we’d like Canada to be a part of it.

It’s fitting that we’re making this appeal on International Women’s Day. Canada has long championed the health and rights of women and girls in Francophone West Africa and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has voiced his commitment to continue this important work. To ensure this commitment translates to impact, I’d like to share a hidden story of success to show how Canada can make a difference for women and girls. Read the full article.

Photograph by Jonathan Torgovnik/Reportage by Getty Images. Women in Lanier, Senegal, participate in a mobile family planning and reproductive health outreach program. The Ouagadougou Partnership includes the country governments of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, and Togo; donors including the US Agency for International Development, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Agency for Development, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; key partners such as the West African Health Organization, UNFPA, World Health Organization, and FP2020; and civil society and private sector representatives. Based in Dakar, Senegal, the Ouagadougou Partnership Coordination Unit is primarily funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and is managed by IntraHealth International.