Eliminating poverty remains one of the greatest challenges of the 21 st century, because it contributes to political instability, violence and conflict. For instance, pove1ty is most concentrated in Sub-Saharan Africa where support structures are fragile. Reducing poverty under a gender equality lens is the core goal of the United Nations' (UN) Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development ("the 2030 Agenda"), adopted by Canada and all 192 other members of the UN General Assembly. Canada has accepted the UN's agenda to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls as a lever for poverty reduction and economic development. Research has proven that empowered women lead to empowered communities, and are the best engines of development. To realize their full potential, women must be able to manage their sexual reproductive health (SRH). Consequently, improved maternal health and SRH, and the reduction of maternal mortality are key components of achieving gender equality and, ultimately reducing poverty.
The government of Canada is taking steps to re-establish Canada's leadership in this sphere through a refocused assistance framework titled the Feminist International Assistance Policy, which was guided by the 2030 Agenda. This Capstone reviews the policy landscape and the research on effective interventions that could be employed by the government of Canada to better serve the SRH of women and girls in Sub-Saharan Africa. The aim is to provide Global Affairs Canada decision-makers, policymakers, and advocates with evidence-based recommendations to reduce the incidence of maternal mortality caused by unsafe abo1tions in Sub-Saharan Africa as a way to achieve gender equality and reduce poverty.
Given the political and legal barriers to abortion in Sub-Saharan Africa, the policy recommendation is for Canada to reduce maternal m01tality by increasing its' investing in fami ly planning. This will target greater contraceptive accessibility and increased sexual education for Sub-Saharan African women, girls, men and boys. This policy option is best as it gives Canada value from its aid investment by addressing one of the root causes of unsafe abortion through the reduction of unintended pregnancies by more than 2.7 million. It is recommended that Global Affairs Canada utilize the Global Financing Facility (GFF), a multi-donor financing platform, as the policy recommendation's implementation tool. The GFF is an innovative platform that brings together the broad set of stakeholders that will be required to accelerate efforts to end preventable maternal deaths, and improve the quality of life of Sub-Saharan African women. By adopting the policy and implementation recommendation, the government of Canada will position itself as a global leader in advancing gender equality within the context of the 2030 Agenda.