Advocacy Country Spotlight: Mauritania

Issue: At the end of 2016, the Mauritanian government approved a new reproductive health bill that included groundbreaking provisions on reproductive rights and family planning, including recognizing them as constitutional and universal rights. To help the country deliver on its FP2020 commitment, support was needed to operationalize and disseminate the new law, including ensuring clear communication on execution and mitigating risks of resistance from subnational authorities, religious leaders, and conservative groups.

Action: With funding from FP2020’s Rapid Response Mechanism, StopSIDA convened meetings between key ministries, including the Ministries of Social Affairs, Islamic Affairs, and Health, to develop strong ownership from high-level decision-makers. Meetings with religious and parliamentary leaders were convened to clarify provisions of the new law and ensure reception from leadership. The policy was also translated into Arabic and disseminated by StopSIDA and partners. Lastly, StopSIDA developed and implemented a communications plan using radio, TV, and print to inform national and local audiences of the new reproductive health law.

Impact: These efforts helped created an enabling environment for the adoption of the execution of the new reproductive health law by the Ministry of Health. By improving policy communication, the project saw strong ownership and reception from religious and parliamentary leaders on the main provisions of the RH law. This provided a legal framework for Mauritanian women to access modern contraceptive methods and reproductive health services.