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Human Rights and GovernanceAll regionsongoing

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

Strengthening sexual and reproductive health and rights of people in partner countries is an important area of activity in development cooperation and a core component of feminist development policy. By reducing maternal and neonatal mortality, unwanted and early pregnancies, gender-specific violence and harmful practices, German development cooperation aims to reduce structural discrimination against women and disadvantaged groups. DEval currently evaluates this area of activity.

Strengthening sexual and reproductive health and rights of people worldwide is one of the greatest challenges of development policy. Every two minutes, a woman dies during or after childbirth. Every year, twenty-five million unsafe abortions are performed worldwide. One third of all women are affected by sexual or physical violence in the course of their lives (Starrs et al. 2018).

DEval currently examines whether German development cooperation achieves its goal of strengthening the sexual and reproductive health and rights of people in partner countries. Within this sector evaluation, DEval assesses the implementation of measures in this area of action and reports on evaluation results transparently. In this way, DEval also aims to help to improve corresponding measures and subsequently provide insights on how elements of a feminist development-policy goals can be better implemented.


In the wake of global crises, there have been setbacks in combating maternal and child mortality, teenage pregnancies and gender-based violence. In many partner countries of development cooperation, people's sexual and reproductive rights, especially those of women, girls and disadvantaged groups, are severely restricted. The implementation of sexual and reproductive rights is a prerequisite for achieving sexual and reproductive health.

German development policy works to support this through its field of action called 'Population policy; sexual and reproductive health and rights'. It aims to strengthen sexual and reproductive health in partner countries by developing pandemic- and crisis-resilient health and social protection structures. Thus, development policy intends to improve the quality of and access to sexual and reproductive healthcare, and to strengthen the sexual and reproductive rights of vulnerable groups in particular.

This field of action is a key area of feminist development-policy, in which the strengthening of sexual and reproductive health and rights is one of the main objectives of development policy. The overarching goal of dismantling discriminatory structures for women and girls as well as for other marginalized groups is a core component of the field of action.


DEval currently conducts a comprehensive evaluation of BMZ's development-policy measures to strengthen sexual and reproductive health and rights in partner countries.

The evaluation pursues two objectives:

  • to comprehensively assess the implementation of measures regarding sexual and reproductive health and rights in German development cooperation and to transparently report on the results;
  • to contribute to improving measures for strengthening sexual and reproductive health and rights in partner countries.

Overall, the evaluation should thereby contribute to strengthening feminist development policy – among other things, by providing information on how development cooperation can contribute to strengthening rights and dismantling discriminatory structures. It thus aims to contribute to the implementation of a gender-transformative and intersectional development cooperation.

The evaluation comprehensively examines the field of action 'Population policy; sexual and reproductive health and rights' with regard to the relevance, effectiveness, sustainability, efficiency and coherence of the corresponding measures.




In its evaluation, DEval follows the approach of human-rights-based evaluation, which envisages incorporating human-rights standards and principles throughout the evaluation process. Furthermore, it applies a theory-based evaluation approach.

The following methods of data collection and data analysis are used in the evaluation:

  • Case studies: bilateral development projects are selected based on criteria and examined comparatively using qualitative methods. The method focusses on the relevance of the projects for rightsholders in the partner country, especially structurally disadvantaged groups, and on strengthening their sexual and reproductive rights.
  • Secondary data analysis: With this method, DEval seeks to analyse the effects of German development projects on sexual and reproductive health and rights in all partner countries using a quantitative, quasi-experimental approach.
  • Evaluation synthesis: This component comprises an analysis of the results of all project evaluations conducted by the implementing organizations since 2011. This also includes a quality appraisal of the evaluation reports in the first place.
  • Analysis of scientific evidence and the portfolio: Using an evidence map, DEval envisages to systematically collect and record existing scientific studies on projects in the field of sexual and reproductive health, and to subsequently evaluate their results. These results are compared with the portfolio of German development cooperation.


Portrait von Dr. Jan Tobias Polak
© Deval

Dr Jan Tobias Polak

Senior Evaluator, Team Leader, Anti-Corruption Officer

Phone: +49 (0)228 336907-967


[Translate to Englisch:] Portrait Martin Bruder
© DEval

Dr Martin Bruder

Head of Department: Civil Society, Human Rights

Phone: +49 (0)228 336907-970


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