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Climate crisis: Sengalese Women Struggle to Access Contraception

Climate crisis: Sengalese Women Struggle to Access Contraception

By 2080 up to 75 per cent of Senegal’s coastline will be at risk of coastal erosion and up to 150,000 people will have to relocate. Across West Africa’s coastal cities, home to 105 million people, many women face a similar threat.

In recent years, climate change has significantly affected the Joal-Fadiouth Region in southern Senegal. An increase in temperature and rainfall has caused the water to become more salinized. Due to rising sea levels, erosion, and the inflow of seawater and algae into mangroves, many species of fish have been unable to thrive.

This is threatening the livelihoods and livelihoods of communities that depend on the mangroves. They are often forced to harvest shellfish early to prevent them from being destroyed by the algae.

According to women who work in and around mangroves, getting pregnant during a crisis is not something they want. This prevents them from being able do the work that their families depend on and adds to their pressures with extra mouths to feed, medical bills, and so forth.

A woman collects cockles from Joal-Fadiouth’s mangroves

(Randa Osman/MSI Reproductive Choices)

Women return with sacks full of cockles they gathered at the Woman’s House

(Randa Osman/MSI Reproductive Choices)

Coumba Dieng, a MSI team member, and a young girl hailing from a fishing community hold cockles they had collected

(Randa Osman/MSI Reproductive Choices)

Joal-Fadiouth women gather oysters from the mangrove branches

(Randa Osman/MSI Reproductive Choices)

A young woman processes fish in Joal-Fadiouth

(Randa Osman/MSI Reproductive Choices)

Women hold cockles at the Woman’s House

(Randa Osman/MSI Reproductive Choices)

Coumba Manka (19), a fish processor holds cockles that were removed from their shells at Joal-Fadiouth

(Randa Osman/MSI Reproductive Choices)

Access to contraception allows women in fishing and shellfish-harvesting communities to decide when and if they want to have children. This helps them to be more resilient to climate change and to take part in the solutions that are needed to adapt to the changing environment. Women’s groups that harvest oysters, cockles and other shellfish in the area organize regular planting activities to restore and re-grow mangroves. These mangroves are important carbon sinks and absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. Through participating in these activities, they help protect this unique and delicate local ecosystem – an economic lifeline for these communities.

The waiting room at Santhie’s public health site in Joal-Fadiouth is occupied by women.

(Randa Osman/MSI Reproductive Choices)

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After presenting a day of service delivery, Dieng. These days are organized to identify women whose lives and work have been most affected by climate change.

(Randa Osman/MSI Reproductive Choices)

Mother and child attend Joal-Fadiouth service delivery day. MSI hosts around 14 of these delivery days per month.

(Randa Osman/MSI Reproductive Choices)

Fambaye Diallo is the outreach coordinator of the Mbour Outreach team with a client at Santhie’s public health site.

(Randa Osman/MSI Reproductive Choices)

Analysis from MSI, across 26 countries where it works, has found that since 2011 an estimated 11.5 million women have had their access to contraception disrupted due to climate-related displacement. Unless contraceptive access is protected, the global safe abortion and contraception provider expects this number to rise to 14 million over the next decade.

Supporting women in crisis to help them adapt to reproductive choice

There is a lot of attention on the COP26 climate conference. mobilising $100bn per yearto help low-income countries respond to climate change. MSI Reproductive Choices joined 65 partners to call on donors and governments to incorporate sexual and reproductive healthcare rights and rights into their funding commitments to help women and girls adapt to the effects they are currently facing, such as famine in Madagascar and coastal erosion in Senegal.

To find out more about MSI’s work, please click here


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