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Foreword by Mabingué Ngom, Director of UNFPA West and Central Africa Regional Office (WCARO)

This book of photo essays highlights some of the work that UNFPA’s West and Central Africa regional office has been engaged since it was set up in 2013 in Dakar, Senegal.

It is also in celebration of two milestones of immense importance globally as well as in Africa – the 50th anniversary of the setting up of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).

It was in an African city, Cairo, that 179 governments adopted a revolutionary Programme of Action and called for women’s reproductive health and rights to take centre stage in national and global development efforts.

The resulting Plan of Action has been the steering document for the work of the UNFPA. Its core message is: “The full and equal participation of women in civil, cultural, economic, political and social life, at the national, regional and international levels, and the eradication of all forms of discrimination on grounds of sex.” Now, 25 years later, the ICPD meets in another African city, Nairobi, to review and access the progress these remarkable organisations have made and also to gird up to tackle the challenges that still remain. This book and the exhibition of photographs in Nairobi it complements is part of the exercise.

At UNFPA, our mission is clear and straightforward: to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.