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Local Group Activity Pack December 2015: Defend Women’s Rights in Burkina Faso

Defend women’s rights in Burkina Faso

When Héléne heard about contraception, she wanted to use it, but her husband wouldn’t let her.

‘My husband didn’t agree, so I couldn’t. Anyway, I didn’t have the money. How was I going to get the money?’

Héléne is now a 25-year-old mother of four children

She managed to access some through a healthcare clinic, but her husband wouldn’t give her the money to renew her contraceptive injection, so she fell pregnant again.

‘It’s difficult to raise the subject [of contraception] with him. He is automatically against it. When the husband speaks, we have to put up with everything… Without money, there was nothing I could do and the last child, which I did not want, was born.’

Héléne’s situation is all-too-common in Burkina Faso, where women are too often unable to make decisions about their body and sexual and reproductive lives. The high cost of contraception is just one barrier for women and girls trying to make decisions about their bodies. Forced early marriage is common: most girls are married by the age of 19 (some as young as 10), and nearly half of all young women are mothers. Talking openly about sex is taboo, and it is difficult to obtain information about sexual health and contraception. In some cases a women needs permission from her husband to use contraception. 

Burkina Faso Dec 2015 Monthly Action