New safe abortion app to be launched in the MENA region

Next month, the RAWSA Network will be launching an innovative mobile application designed to provide people in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with reliable information on their sexual and reproductive health.

RAWSA (Regional Advocacy for Women’s Sustainable Advancement) is a network of feminist and human rights organizations and activists working on advocacy in favour of the right to safe abortion across the MENA region. We seek justice, equality and fair treatment to ensure bodily integrity for each woman in the region and elsewhere in the world.

Now more than ever, we are witnessing severe violations of women’s rights, including denying their inherent right to access safe and legal abortion.

In many countries in our region, abortion is a “taboo” that is held under a system of very restrictive laws. However, abortion happens in every country. And people have a right to bodily autonomy. We believe no abortion should be unsafe. As an alliance of more than 180 NGOs, we therefore work to bust the stigma surrounding safe abortion and to promote sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) more generally.

Thanks to the support of SAAF, we are developing the ‘Rawsa Knows’ mobile app – the first of its kind in the region.

The innovative, easy-to-download application includes a lot of information about very sensitive and critical SRHR and safe abortion issues. This includes how to have a safe abortion; information about STIs for women and men; information about sensitive issues such as masturbation, and much more.  As a mobile app, this information will also be available for women in rural areas to download to their phones.

The content is available in all languages spoken in the region including Arabic, English, French and Amazighi, the language of the minority groups in North Africa.

The application has a unique and useful feature, which is the “Contact us for help” button. This feature will allow any woman to send a question or request for assistance to the RAWSA team, which consists of lawyers, gynecologists and psychologists. According to the query, the relevant team member will be in contact with the beneficiary and provide the necessary consultation.

Of course, every user’s information will be confidential and the application will need only an email address to respond to concerns without jeopardizing someone’s safety and security. We can also provide signposting to our regional focal points and other organisations and resources which may be useful.

We are pleased to be able to launch the app in February 2023 as part of our continuing work to improve access to reproductive rights and health information and support across the region.

By RAWSA Network, SAAF grantee partner

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