Youth Sprint, a network of youth-led organizations supported by Ipas DRC in four provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is engaging in 10 days of social media activism to amplify the need for safe abortion as allowed by the country’s laws. Called “Let’s Talk About Abortion,” the online campaign is part of Ipas DRC’s ongoing Makoki Ya Mswasi project, which is being carried out in partnership with the Swedish Embassy.
The four provinces—Haut Katanga, Kinshasa, North Kivu and South Kivu—were chosen because of their dominant youth population and strong social media presence. The campaign launch—September 28—marked International Safe Abortion Day and sparked a flurry of online interactions.
In 2018, the DRC ratified the Maputo Protocol, which specifically addresses the right to safe abortion care and the need for governments to take administrative and regulatory steps to make abortion available under certain circumstances. But implementation has been slow and abortion is still largely perceived and considered illegal by many.
“This youth-led campaign comes at an important time,” says Dr. Jean-Claude Mulunda, director of Ipas DRC. “The need is not only to raise awareness but also to remove the stigma attached to abortion. It is important for the activism and advocacy to continue, as many women who are well within their rights continue to be denied access to safe abortion services.”