Update: Global Launch of SAFE-ENGAGE

Thousands of women in sub-Saharan Africa die each year from pregnancy-related causes. Unsafe abortions account for one in 7 maternal deaths in Africa, and more than 1.5 million women are treated each year for complications from unsafe abortion. Young African women are especially affected: More than half of unsafe abortions in the region are among women under age 25. Reducing deaths from unsafe abortion requires a policy environment that supports equitable access for women to comprehensive prevention and treatment services—contraception, safe abortion, and postabortion care.

The SAFE ENGAGE project supports access to safe abortion by providing decisionmakers with the latest data on abortion and maternal health, building the capacity of advocates and other decisionmakers to use evidence to achieve policy goals, and working with journalists to improve evidence-based reporting on abortion and related topics. The three-year SAFE ENGAGE project will be implemented in seven countries, including  Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, one state in Nigeria, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. SAFE ENGAGE also contains a rapid response mechanism through which additional country partners can request creative data-driven communications materials to support specific advocacy objectives.

SAFE ENGAGE Global Launch

Within Reach: Expanding Access to Safe Abortion is a multimedia advocacy tool to frame policy discussion around safe abortion, particularly in Africa. Produced by Population Reference Bureau under the SAFE ENGAGE project, the presentation uses the latest data and evidence to illustrate how policy changes can decrease maternal mortality by improving equitable access to safe abortion services. Advocates can use this new resource to make the case for safe abortion with policy audiences and influencers around the world.

The presentation, authored by Lori Ashford, consultant, and Marissa Pine Yeakey, program director, was developed with guidance from a global Technical Advisory Group of researchers, advocates, and medical professionals.



  • Advances policy dialogue for safe abortion by creating compelling, evidence-based multimedia presentations and other materials for policymakers, advocates, and journalists.
  • Builds country-level individual and institutional capacity to use evidence for policy advocacy to promote safe abortion and reduce unsafe abortion.
  • Works with journalists on the ground to increase the quality and quantity of evidence-based news coverage on safe abortion through in-country media trainings and engagement with journalists.