The African Federation for Sexual Health and Rights (AFSHR)



Uwemedimu Uko Esiet

Contact email address



AFSHR was conceptualized at the 15th World Congress of Sexology in Paris. Noting the need for a regional body on sexual health and rights, Dr. Uwem Esiet facilitated a meeting the next year in South Africa. The meeting provided the opportunity for intensive dialogue on the creation of an African regional body with the goal of promoting, supporting and maintaining positive sexual health and rights for all Africans. The delegates unanimously agreed on the establishment of the Federation as the networking mechanism.

Today, the Federation works to break the culture of silence on sex, promote sexual health as a human right and advocate for policies that promote sexual rights and health, including the provision of comprehensive sexuality education. The Federation has received expression of interest for membership from over 40 organizations from across Africa and beyond. The Federation has a steering committee with sub-regional representation.

Key Achievements of the Federation

The Federation has to date accomplished the following:

  • The convening of the first Sexual Health and Rights conference in Africa held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in February 2004. The conference was attended by over 300 delegates from across the continent, representing varied organizations and associations working in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights.
  • The Federation participated in the review and launch of the Africa Union Plan of Action on the Family in Africa, held in Cotonou, Benin;
  • Contributed inputs to the Africa Union Protocol for Reduction of Maternal Morbidity and Mortality in Africa;
  • Actively networks and collaborates with various civil society organizations and partnerships e.g. Amanitare, PPFA-I;
  • Actively highlights the need to address Sexuality, Sexual Health and Sexual Rights in Africa pursuant to the WHO consultation on Sexual Health in January 2002.

Key Issues

We wish to bring to your attention some key issues on Sexual Health and Rights as identified by the Federation:

  • The need to recognize the life cycle approach that recognizes all people as sexual beings from birth to death and the changing needs across the lifespan;
  • The importance of recognizing the multifaceted factors that influence sexual health and rights: social, economic, cultural and spiritual factors;
  • The need to break the culture of silence around sexuality in families, communities and society in general.

It is in this regard that the Federation views with grave concern and threat to the continent the paucity of our collective approach to sexuality, sexual health and rights, especially as we review the status of the continent on HIV/AIDS, unwanted pregnancies (especially teenage pregnancies), unsafe abortion, gender based violence and harmful traditional practices. Recognizing these factors and considering initiatives already undertaken by many civil society organizations, the Federation would wish to collaborate with the Africa Union Commission to further bring Sexual Health and Rights to the forefront in Africa, including capacity building and gender mainstreaming.

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