Sweden to support sexual health and LGBT rights in Africa

The Swedish government has launched a new strategy for strengthening sexual and reproductive health and rights in sub-Saharan Africa.

Writing in tabloid Expressen, Sweden’s minister for international development cooperation, Isabella Lövin of the Green Party, outlined the new aid programme, which is worth SEK 350 million per year.

Sweden is to sharpen efforts to strengthen girls’ and women’s health with initiatives that will target children and young people in particular. The aim is to help them develop a better understanding of the body, sex, contraception and human rights, Lövin explained.

The new government strategy also involves securing access to legal and safe abortions and preventing child marriages and female genital mutilation. It also involves strengthening LGBT individuals’ access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.

“It is not only in Africa that there is resistance to women, girls and LGBT individuals deciding over their own sexuality and practicing their human rights,” Lövin wrote. “This is a politically sensitive issue that meets resistance both within the EU and the UN. Sweden therefore has an important role to play in actively supporting these causes.”

The government announced the strategy ahead of International World Health Day, which takes place on Tuesday April 7th.