BILL & MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION
At the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation committed to investing more than US$1 billion in family planning, doubling its investment from US$70 million a year to US$140 million a year for eight years. The Gates Foundation is on track to exceed this commitment, investing US$133.6 million in 2013 and US$156 million in 2014.
In recognition of the need to accelerate the rate of progress toward the FP2020 goal, the Gates Foundation will increase its financial commitment by about 25% over the next three years. New investments will focus on three areas that were determined after a careful review of the most recent data, evidence, and the foundation’s own core strengths:
- Catalyzing the growth and quality of family planning service provision in the private sector through an infusion of working capital to social marketing organizations
- Incentivizing the scale-up of proven interventions that improve family planning outcomes among the urban poor
- Scaling successful advocacy efforts in priority FP2020 countries to build stronger political will, increase stakeholder alignment, and ensure resources are available to support successful and sustainable family planning programs
The Gates Foundation will also make a major new investment around a learning agenda for adolescents and youth. This investment will place adolescents at the center of the design, research, and implementation process to develop family planning solutions that meet their unique needs. Promising solutions will be brought to scale in partnership with ministries of health and local partners, leveraging local networks and service delivery channels where possible.
By cultivating high-level political leadership in support of countries’ FP2020 commitments, the Gates Foundation and its grantees work with governments to expand access to family planning. In Nigeria, the foundation is supporting the government to implement the Nigeria Family Planning Blueprint, scale up high-impact family planning approaches, and develop supply chain solutions in Lagos and Kaduna states. In Pakistan, the foundation is supporting Pathfinder International to work with ministers in Sindh and Punjab provinces to develop provincial costed implementation plans for family planning.
In DR Congo, Gates Foundation grantee Advance Family Planning (AFP) worked with partners to garner high-level commitment to family planning from the country’s top leadership, resulting in unprecedented subsequent changes in the policy environment. In the two years since committing to FP2020 in 2013, the government has significantly improved access to family planning services and contraceptives through national policy and funding commitments.
In Uganda, AFP is also working with partners to fulfill President Yoweri Museveni’s ambitious pledge at the 2012 London Summit. Three years later, the president’s leadership and the collective efforts of government, implementing partners, civil society, and donors have carried forward those commitments into concrete, positive changes. In July 2014, the president opened the country’s first national family planning conference by favorably endorsing family planning as a key pillar for the social and economic transformation of Uganda. The Gates Foundation’s advocacy partners supported the participation of both high-level and district-level leaders in the conference, mobilizing them to renew their commitments to family planning and construct a road map to achieve them. The country’s costed implementation plan was launched four months later.
Action2020 is a new 10-country accountability program to ensure that governments and service providers deliver on their FP2020 commitments with full, free, and informed family planning choice for everyone.
Action2020 is funded by the UK government and is being implemented by a consortium of civil society organizations, led by Christian Aid in partnership with Plan UK and the International HIV/AIDS Alliance. Technical support is provided by the Overseas Development Institute. The program is managed from Nairobi and will run in 10 countries: Bangladesh, Bolivia, Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Niger, and Nepal.
Action2020 recognizes that strengthening civil society alone is insufficient to secure accountability; the responsiveness of governments and service providers must be enhanced as well. The program will focus on combining these strategies and on building stronger state-citizen space for political engagement.
The 10 Action2020 countries are currently in the process of conducting country context studies to identify key partners and develop strategic accountability packages. Program implementation is likely to begin in the first quarter of 2016.
USAID also supports the development of new and improved contraceptive methods. The SILCS diaphragm, a one-size-fits-most barrier method, received market clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration and is now available in 14 countries under the brand name Caya™. The novel design means that pelvic exams are not required for sizing and clinics will not need to stock multiple sizes. USAID and its partners also launched the first-ever clinical trial of an intravaginal ring engineered to prevent pregnancy as well as provide protection from HIV and herpes infections.
UNITED NATIONS FOUNDATION
The United Nations Foundation is the hosting organization for the FP2020 initiative. The UN Foundation also serves as the advocacy and communications focal point for Every Woman Every Child, and leads communications and digital engagement for the movement. Through its Universal Access Project (UAP), the UN Foundation has spearheaded a number of innovative initiatives to bolster support for reproductive health, including the Why We Care project and a new Why We Care Youth contest. The UN Foundation’s support for the 2015 International Conference on Family Planning includes press fellowships, a grant to the Youth Pre-Conference, and hosting the CEO Emerging Leaders Roundtables.
The UN Foundation’s Girl Up campaign focuses on empowering adolescent girls and building programs that give girls an equal chance for education, health, and social and economic opportunities. Since 2010 Girl Up has partnered with the UN Adolescent Girl Task Force on comprehensive pilot programs in Malawi, Liberia, Guatemala, and Ethiopia; in 2015 the initiative was expanded to India. The UN Foundation also supports the Girl Declaration Joint Advocacy Working Group, which works to ensure that adolescent girls are prioritized in global development frameworks and meaningfully included in the design, monitoring, and evaluation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The UN Foundation is committed to championing the use of mobile technologies to improve health throughout the world. Through MAMA (the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action), the UN Foundation supports the provision of postpartum family planning messages to women through SMS messages. MAMA is currently working to integrate family planning messaging in its newest country program in Nigeria. This year the UN Foundation also provided grants in Tanzania and Kenya for the implementation of the Mobile for Reproductive Health (m4RH) service, which is an automated, interactive, and on-demand SMS system that provides essential information about the full range of short-term and long-acting contraceptive methods.
In 2015 the UN Foundation entered a new partnership with UNFPA, Merck for Mothers, and Accenture Development Partnerships to expand private sector participation in family planning. The project has resulted in four commitments from businesses in the Philippines to provide access to family planning information and services for women in their workforces and communities.
The UK is very committed to the work of Family Planning 2020—access to rights-based, voluntary family planning is essential for girls and women to have voice, choice, and control across their lives. Family planning is also a great investment—every £1 spent on family planning can save governments up to £4 on healthcare spending, housing, water and other public services. It is great to see the progress we have made to date. But we need to work hard to reach the London Summit on Family Planning goal of providing an additional 120 million girls and women in the poorest countries with the ability to plan their families. If we act now, we can still reach this goal and be on the road to universal access by 2030. It is important that everyone steps up to help make that happen.
The Right Honourable Justine Greening
Secretary of State for International Development, United Kingdom