With the support of Global Affairs Canada, and in a partnership with CARE Canada, the Center for Reproductive Rights and other organizations are implementing a new program in Kenya, Uganda, and Zambia to improve adolescent sexual and reproductive health services and rights.
Known as “SHE SOARS”—the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Economic Empowerment, Supporting Out-of-School Adolescent Girls’ Rights and Skills project—the program intends to directly support over 240,000 adolescent girls, including over 200,000 out-of-school girls.
The target areas of SHE SOARS are refugee and host communities in Uganda; urban informal settlements in Kenya; and rural settings in Zambia. The project marks the first time the Center will work in Zambia.
Out-of-school girls often have the least access to, and greatest need for, comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care and information. SHE SOARS aims to address these problems and to enable out of school adolescent girls to realize their sexual and reproductive health and rights by:
- Improving access to high-quality, evidence-based sexual and reproductive health information and services.
- Addressing root causes of gender-based inequalities.
- Increasing adolescents’ ability to make decisions about their bodies.
Specifically, the program will engage with and fund local women’s rights and youth-led groups, train health providers, and work with government ministries to create sustainable change in the social, economic, and legal environments that impact out-of-school adolescent girls.
Expected to continue through 2029, CARE Canada is delivering the SHE SOARS program in partnership with the Center; CARE Country Offices in Kenya, Uganda and Zambia; Restless Development; and the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights.
The Center, along with the Youth Coalition, will co-lead activities to improve the effectiveness of women and girl’s rights organizations to advocate for evidence-based, accountable, and equitable adolescent SRHR policies, legal frameworks and services. The goals of this work are to reduce the barriers girls face when accessing care and to create stronger social, legal, and economic support systems for out-of-school girls.
“Adolescents face significant barriers that undermine their sexual and reproductive health and rights—including lack of access to education and services,” said Enid Muthoni, Senior Vice President, Global Legal Program. “We’re excited to be part of this seven-year project to improve girls’ access to essential reproductive services, empower them to make decisions about their own bodies, and make a lasting impact that improves their lives.”
Program to Have Far-Reaching Impact
SHE SOARS will directly support over 240,000 adolescent girls ages 10-19 — including 203,370 out-of-school girls— and over 63,000 adolescent boys. Indirectly, the program’s activities are also expected to benefit an additional 16,000 girls and over 189,000 boys. Also benefitting directly and indirectly will be over 360,000 women and 338,000 men.
The program will:
- Provide information to girls on their sexual and reproductive health and rights.
- Improve the use and delivery of health services related to adolescent girls’ needs relating to birth control, menstruation, and sexually transmitted infections.
- Involve girls in the program’s decision-making processes through youth-led research and in the co-design of key project activities, and through the SHE SOARS Youth Advisory Board.
- Provide life skills classes, such as financial literacy.
- Equip local women’s rights and youth organizations with training and resources to advocate for evidence-based, accountable, and equitable policies, legal frameworks, and services.
- Bring together key stakeholders from the target communities, local women’s rights and youth organizations, health care providers, government ministries, and human rights organizations to improve girls’ access to care.
SHE SOARS is part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to invest in global health and rights and to center women and girls in its development efforts.
Learn more about the SHE SOARS program here.