MAPUTO, Mozambique — Mozambique has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in the world, with 40% of girls pregnant by the age of 18 as of 2011, the latest year for which there is comprehensive data.
Join Devex on the ground in Mozambique as we explore the advances and setbacks in the country's sexual and reproductive health and rights efforts.
But recent advancements hard-won by civil society campaigners — including the rollout of mandatory sex education in schools, the creation of a network of youth-friendly sexual health clinics across the country, and the decriminalization of abortion in 2014 — have turned it into one of the most progressive countries in Africa in providing sexual and reproductive health care for its young people.
Yet Mozambique is also one of the poorest countries in the world, and has been heavily reliant on outside help to fund its efforts — leaving it highly exposed when the United States restricted funding for sexual and reproductive health and rights under the “global gag rule,” or Mexico City policy.
NGOs in Mozambique lost millions of dollars. A stream of clinics was closed. Hundreds of jobs were lost.
Two years on, Devex visited clinics, schools, NGOs, and government agencies to understand the impact, and how advocates are trying to recover from the loss.
“We are afraid because we made a lot of progress in the last few years,” said Santos Simione, executive director of AMODEFA, Mozambique’s oldest sexual and reproductive health NGO. “If we stop, what will happen?”
Editor’s note: The reporter traveled to Mozambique with the support of Countdown 2030. Devex retains full editorial control and responsibility for this content.