Annex 2015



FP2020's Rapid Response Mechanism supports projects that respond to emerging and urgent opportunities to expand access to family planning in FP2020’s focus countries.

FP2020’s Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) provides fast resources to meet urgent, time-bound needs. Established in July 2014 by Bloomberg Philanthropies and FP2020, the fund disburses short-term grants in response to critical emergencies, sudden gaps, and unforeseen opportunities to expand access to family planning in FP2020 focus countries. Grassroots organizations, in particular, are encouraged to apply, though larger agencies may also be funded for one-time projects that fall outside regular budgets.

In its first year the RRM funded 18 projects in 15 countries, covering a wide range of initiatives. In Bolivia, Ipas piloted a national plan to reduce adolescent pregnancy, making contraceptive services available to 24,923 teenagers through youth-friendly health care facilities. In Pakistan, Youth Action for Pakistan launched an advocacy campaign to integrate youth- oriented family planning services into the health policies of Sindh Province, where some 10 million people are between the ages of 15 and 29. In Zambia, Chilanga Youth Awake is using innovative Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) strategies to increase access to family planning and HIV services, with the aim of reaching 10,000 young men and women. And in Mali, funding from the RRM is enabling Marie Stopes International to address an urgent gap in clinical skills, training 452 service providers on long- acting and permanent methods of contraception (LAPM).

The RRM fund has tripled in size since its original launch by Bloomberg Philanthropies, with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Brush Foundation, and an anonymous donor joining the effort. To date over US$1.3 million has been disbursed.

RRM Project Spotlight:
The Forum for Family Planning and Development

Project Title: Demand RH: Addressing the SRH Needs of Night High School Students of Cebu City
Grantee: The Forum for Family Planning and Development
Location: Cebu City, Philippines
Start Date: August 2015

“There are 20 babies born to teen moms every hour in the Philippines, and teen moms account for at least 20% of all maternal deaths in the country,” says Maricar “Chi” Laigo Vallido of the Forum for Family Planning and Development, based in Manila. The Philippines has a brand-new reproductive health law that guarantees the right to family planning for adults, but young people under the age of 18 must still obtain their parents’ permission to access contraception. The law does, however, give young people the right to learn about reproductive health in school.

That’s where the Forum comes in. With funding from the Rapid Response Mechanism, the Forum is creating a training curriculum on reproductive health for night high schools in Cebu City. More than 40,000 teenagers attend these schools, which start in the evening so that the students can hold down jobs during the day. Most of the students are very poor; many of them are already parents.

“This group of young people is neglected under the RH law,” Chi explains. The Forum’s new training curriculum will equip teachers to meet the special needs of these students, with information on reproductive health and family planning, a “myths and misconceptions” guide, pointers on the new law, an explanation of the services available to adolescents, online material, and handouts in the local dialect.

“We hope other provinces will be able to learn from this project,” says Chi. “We’re hoping to create a ripple effect in the Philippines. We say the youth is the hope of the future, but we must help ensure a great life for them now.”

Apply to the Rapid Response Mechanism

Photo by: Prashant Panjiar/Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

RRM Project Spotlight:
Visual Hearing Impairment Membership Association

Project Title: Advancing Women’s Participation in Decision Making on Family Planning
Grantee: Visual Hearing Impairment Membership Association (VIHEMA)
Location: Kasungu District, Malawi
Start Date: September 2015

“Deafblind women have a right to family planning,” says Martha Momba of the Visual Hearing Impairment Membership Association (VIHEMA-Deafblind Malawi). “They need sanitary and contraceptive products and family planning services in accessible formats, such as tactile communication and braille.”

VIHEMA advocates for the rights and needs of the deafblind, who are often stigmatized and excluded from society. Deafblind women and girls are an especially vulnerable population in Malawi. Sexual abuse of deafblind women and girls is rife, fueled by pernicious local myths that sex with a disabled person can cure AIDS and other diseases.

“The rate of unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections is very high among deafblind women,” says Martha.

With funding from the RRM, VIHEMA is training community health workers so that they can accommodate the specific reproductive health needs of deafblind women. They are also orienting deafblind women on their rights, and sensitizing key family members on how to guide and manage issues of sexual and reproductive health.

The project will also include an advocacy component, with programs to raise awareness of the issues and mobilize support for the rights of the disabled.

“Deafblind women and girls must not be left behind,” says Martha. “They must be respected and empowered to make decisions about their own lives.”

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