Upcoming funding opportunity on addressing neglected areas of sexual and reproductive health and rights

5 February, 2024


By Montasser Kamal on behalf of IDRC

Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are foundational to people living full healthy lives. When people access quality SRHR information and services, and have decision-making power to exercise their rights, they can effectively contribute to their well-being and that of their families and communities.

Opportunities to realize improved SRHR are complicated by the impacts of emerging and existing infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, and the direct and indirect effects of climate change, on already weak health and education systems. Such pressures lead to increased demand, reduction in provision, and increased barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health services.

These challenges are greatest among populations that already face discrimination in securing SRHR. Despite these challenges, many governments and civil society organizations are building more responsive, resilient and integrated responses to address intersecting needs. Targeted investments in SRHR can be an important catalyst to strengthen the existing momentum building across many communities, countries, and internationally.

International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and other funding partners are announcing a new initiative, Addressing Neglected Areas of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Sub-Saharan Africa (ANSRHRA), to support gender transformative implementation research in Sub-Sahara Africa. Focused on investments to transform service design and delivery, strengthen the development and implementation of equitable and sustainable movements, ANSRHRA will contribute to improved health and realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights, while also building systems and structures that enable and support among under-served populations, including women and girls, to demand and enjoy the full spectrum of SRHR.

Preliminary information on this anticipatory funding opportunity is now available to allow applicants time to prepare their applications. The funding opportunity is anticipated to be launched on February 23, 2024. Through the anticipatory call, up to 15 successful teams will be invited to submit full proposals in September 2024.


Priority areas of the ANSRHRA initiative:

ANSRHRA initiative will prioritize projects that address the following five priority areas of SRHR:

· improving access to family planning and contraceptive services

· expanding access to safe abortion where legally permitted and post-abortion care

· upholding SRHR rights and ensuring access to services for adolescents

· preventing and improving services for people experiencing sexual and gender-based violence

· strengthening advocacy for SRHR

This Initiative integrates innovative approaches to address neglected areas of SRHR, including: integrating implementation and gender transformative research which lays a foundation for sustainable and systems-level changes, valuing the experience and expertise of civil society organizations, particularly those led by and/or prioritizing under-served populations, including women and girls, and building capacity for evidence-based advocacy and accountability mechanisms that cross public, political, health, economic and legislative spheres.

Application process

This anticipatory funding opportunity will involve a two-stage process. In the first stage, interested applicants will be required to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI). Only applicants who are successful at the LOI stage will be invited to submit a full technical proposal. Full proposals will solicit submissions for a first cohort of research projects that integrate implementation and gender-transformative research and that lays the foundation for sustainable and systems-level changes.

Successful projects will address at least one of the identified priority areas of SRHR.Project teams must include a researcher at an African-based institution in an eligible country as the principal investigator, a senior member of a civil-society organization led by and/or prioritizing under-served populations, who has been active in supporting priority areas of SRHR as a coprincipal investigator, an independent researcher based at a Canadian institution as a coprincipal investigator, and at least one relevant local, district or national level decision-maker as a co-investigator from the same country as the principal investigator’s institution.

Specific requirements for the application process, including the LOI stage, will be outlined in the anticipatory funding opportunity when it is formally announced in February 2024.All applications will be externally reviewed.

LOIs will be due on April 5, 2024, with up to 15 successful teams being invited to submit full proposals in September 2024. The launch of the ANSRHRA initiative is anticipated to be in fall/winter 2024.

Further information is available :

The preannouncement of this funding opportunity can be accessed here in English, and French.