Lessons Learned from Maputo Protocol Domestication in DRC

Project Period

May 2021 - October 2021

Lessons Learned from Maputo Protocol Domestication in DRC Statement of Work.

Successful advocacy efforts by the Coalition de Lutte contre les Grossesses non Désirées (CGND), other civil society actors and NGOs, champions in the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo and others led to the gazetting of the Maputo Protocol in 2018, an important step in the continuum of policy changes needed to expand access to safe abortion. Understanding the approach and strategies used by the CGND and others would be useful for neighbouring countries looking to achieve the same policy goal as well as for researchers and advocates seeking to facilitate policy change.

Through a collaborative process involving a series of key informant interviews and workshops, the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) developed and disseminated three complementary products:

A case study documenting the steps that led to this policy success, using Jeremy Shiffman’s framework for policy change.1 The case study identified the lessons learned and showed the various complexities of success like availability of resources, existing and new emerging groups, power dynamics, collaboration, flexibility, trust, values, and interpersonal relationships.

A series of completed worksheets drawn from PRB’s policy communication guide that can be used as a step-by-step policy guide and policy communication training tool. Using the DRC advocacy success as an example, the worksheets covered how to set a policy goal, identify policy audiences, plan a roadmap for action, craft evidence-based messages, and engage in policy communication and dialogue.

A commentary that places domestication of the Maputo Protocol in the context of comprehensive policy change for safe abortion.

The aforementioned products were launched at a high-level regional event convened by PRB and APHRC, in collaboration with the Centre ODAS or another platform. Participants included policymakers from government and parliament, women’s health and rights proponents, medical professionals, and legal experts from neighbouring countries aiming to achieve Maputo Protocol domestication. The event featured a high-level panel discussion that highlights that while achieving domestication is an important milestone, it does not automatically expand access to safe abortion and follow-on work is needed. The products were also rolled out at workshops in three countries during which country-specific barriers and strategy were discussed. The products were also disseminated through existing platforms, including the Centre ODAS, Safe Access Hub, and the International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion.

This body of work will help illuminate: the approach and strategies used to achieve the gazetting of the Maputo Protocol in the DRC; the steps required to support access to safe abortion after gazetting has been achieved; and provide a critical reflection on the use of the Maputo Protocol as a model of law reform for safe abortion.

Additional links:

Report link: Lessons Learned from Maputo Protocol Domestication in DRC