RESEARCH STUDY ON THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC ON THE SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH RIGHTS OF WOMEN AND GIRLS IN AFRICA

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About Economic and Social Rights Centre-Hakijamii

Economic and Social Rights Centre (Hakijamii) is a National Human Rights Organization that works with marginalized groups to support them in advocating for the realization of their economic, social and cultural rights. Its overriding mission is the strengthening of the capacity of people’s organizations to participate in governmental decision-making effectively and directly on the realization of economic and social rights as well as in holding duty bearers accountable for the realization of these rights through legal, political and social accountability mechanisms. Hakijamii also champions substantive human development through people-led bottom-up developmental policy making, planning, budgeting and developmental implementation that meets the urgent needs of vulnerable and marginalized communities to enhance human dignity and ensure shared developmental prosperity for all sections of society.

Hakijamii has established itself as a leading player internationally, regionally, nationally and locally on advocating for economic and social rights, with its focus areas being land and housing, education and health, water and sanitation, pro-boor bottom-up planning and budgeting, legal and policy advocacy and strategic litigation for socio-economic transformation. Its key competencies include: community training and civic education to empower communities to undertake public participation in legislative, planning and budgeting processes; legal empowerment of communities to utilize available legal frameworks for the protection and vindication of their rights; community emancipation to enhance utilization of social accountability tools and frameworks for effective public service delivery; development of evidence-base through community-led research for legal and policy reform advocacy, among others. Hakijamii has also been actively engaging state and non-state actors as well as local communities and community networks in the quest to achieve its objective of enhancing the protection, promotion, and fulfilment of socio-economic rights in its areas of focus.

Background of the Proposed Research

The realization of Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for women, men, and the youth (boys and girls) require concerted effort between governmental and non-governmental actors as well as a supportive environment where people can access the necessary SRH goods and services. Hakijamii wishes to advance its work in advocating for comprehensive SRH rights through research, awareness, and policy discourse with an aim of championing legal and policy reforms to safeguard constitutional gains on abortion as well as to spearhead opposition mitigation on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Hakijamii aspires to borrow heavily from other jurisdictions who have implemented SRHR effectively with an aim of using the best practices as means of advocacy to advance the realization of such rights in Kenya.

In 2020, the world was faced with the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic that brought everything to a standstill. The effects of the pandemic were far-reaching. The greatest sector that was hit across the world was the health sector. Countries which had superior health systems such as China, the US, Italy, and Brazil could not even manage to control the pandemic as millions of people perished with hundreds of millions getting infected. Unheard of measures were put in place to curb the effects of the vaccine across the world including inter alia, mandatory social distance, working from home, lockdowns of some countries and restriction of travels. Although the effects of the vaccine in Africa were not as bad as compared to countries such as Italy, USA and China, many African countries still strained due to the weak health systems. Countries such as South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, Algeria, and Nigeria were worst hit in Africa. The pandemic necessitated countries to redirect most of their resources to fight the disease. It was thus obvious that some health sectors were not given proper attention. Such included the often not so appreciated Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.

The Assignment

Hakijamii seeks to conduct research to investigate the impact of Covid-19 Pandemic on the Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights of Women and girls in Africa in comparative analysis. The research will draw lessons from Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Nigeria by employing expertise of researchers from these countries. Each of the researchers will consider the following critical areas of exploration, analysis, and assessment to ascertain how Covid-19 pandemic affected the enjoyment of SRH information, goods, and services:

  1. The presence/absence of women and youth friendly SRHR information, goods, and services such as contraceptives, safe abortion services, post-abortion care and how the pandemic has affected access to these services.
  2. The presence/absence of comprehensive sexuality education during the covid-19 pandemic.
  3. The legal, socio-cultural, and religious norms, values and practices that determine (enable or constrain) access to reproductive health information, goods, and services amidst the pandemic.
  4. The impact of the presence/absence of the above to the enjoyment of SRHR of women and girls in the country of focus before and during the pandemic,
  5. The way forward in addressing these challenges at the national and regional level to enhance access to SRH information, goods and services to women and girls.

The multi- country research will basically outline the place of SRH Africa amidst the Covid-19 pandemic with a view of drawing lessons to ensure proper implementation in case of another wave or in case of another pandemic.

 

Expected Outcome

Essentially, each country researcher will produce a report that will be put together for dissemination. Further, the researchers will come up with a short policy brief of the report that is country specific for publication to be shared with policy makers at the national and regional levels for evidence-based decision-making and policy development on SRHR in the context of a pandemic.

Further, a webinar of regional stakeholders will be organized to present these national level research and to discuss strategies for responding to the identified challenges at the national and regional level. It is expected that the consolidated research findings will serve as the evidence-base for the development of a Draft Resolution on the Impact of the Pandemic on SRHR of Women and Girls in Africa and Guidelines to States on how to Address SRHR of Women and Girls in a Pandemic or Emergency Situation. The essence of these regional documents would be to generate norms at the regional level that could percolate to the national/local levels in the different African countries so as to enhance the dignity, wellbeing and socio-economic potential of women and girls in Africa. This is to be done in collaboration with the African Commission’s Special Rapporteur on Women’s Rights and the Secretariat of the African Commission.

Expected Output

–          A country specific report as well as a short policy brief for engagement with national stakeholders.

–          A combined document that will be launched during a regional forum bringing together stakeholders in the SRHR sector.

–          A webinar to present the national level research and discuss strategies for responding to the identified challenges at the national and regional level.

–          Advocacy to ensure SRHR is an integral component of universal health coverage and resilient health systems.

–          Advocacy to ensure a fully protected budgetary allocation for SRHR even amidst pandemics.

Timeline

  1. June 2022: Engagement with potential researchers/consultants and commissioning of the research.
  2. July 2022: Research.
  3. August 2022: 1st draft to be peer reviewed.
  4. September 2022: dissemination of research to various stakeholders.

Qualification of the Consultant

This consultancy assignment shall require:

  1. Advanced Degree in Law, Human Rights and/or Social Sciences;
  2. At least 5 years’ experience in research on SRHR;

iii.                Background in human rights advocacy and research;

  1. Excellent verbal and writing skills with proficiency in English.
  2. Ability to deliver within the strict timelines.
  3. Ability to work with minimum supervision and in a multicultural setting;

vii.              Experience in working with community partners.

viii.            Strong research and analytical skills; and

  1. Proven record of Policy Research, Advocacy, and/or Academic engagement on protection and preservation of SRHR.

How to Apply

Hakijamii is sourcing for Individual consultants. Those interested in the process should send an expression of interest to these Terms of Reference which shall include:

  1. Technical proposal including the understanding of the assignment and their proposed methodology.
  2. Financial proposal showing the total cost of conducting the experience

iii.                Terms of payment

  1. A similar assignment done before
  2. Detailed resume of main consultant and support consultant if any
  3. Name and details of at least three referees.

The Executive Director

Economic & Social Rights Centre – Hakijamii

Email- esrc@hakijamii.com

 

The Email Subject should appear as: “Regional SRHR Research – HJ – regional-2022

Deadline for receiving applications is Close of Business on 28th June 2022, Kindly note that due to the huge applications received only shortlisted candidates will be contacted

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