Innovative Podcast Series Created by PACE Trainees to Air Across Ghana: Now Live Online
A six-part podcast series produced by PACE trainees will air on Ghana Broadcasting Corporation affiliate stations nationwide starting March 31. Titled “Climate Change and Us: Ghana Ground Zero,” the series covers migration, economics, gender equity, plastic waste, and more as it unpacks how climate change affects the daily lives of Ghanaians. The series is a first-of-its-kind in Ghana: Trainees included three journalists and two community advocates, none of whom had any prior experience with podcasts; training was delivered in a hybrid format, including two in-person workshops with a regional coach and climate expert; and the production style includes a conversational tone and features and interviews that transport listeners—using natural sound and first-person narration—to different sites and communities around Ghana. Explore the series on Buzzsprout and Spotify.
PACE Shares Lessons from Intentional Youth Partnership Model
Long treated as “nice to have but not necessary,” meaningful youth engagement has finally become more than a buzzword as youth leaders call for more equitable partnerships across the international development community. The PACE project has evolved a partnership model that fosters respectful and mutually beneficial partnerships with youth leaders and youth-led organizations (YLOs) by honoring their unique priorities and exploring new approaches. PACE’s new article “Power and Partnerships: Supporting Youth Through the PACE Project” highlights insights and lessons from the project’s intentional approach, which questions traditional strategies, shifts power dynamics, focuses on learning from youth leaders, and capitalizes on the diverse skills and strengths of partners.
2021 IGWG Plenary Meeting Report Provides Recommendations for Advancing Gender Transformative Programming
PACE has released a new meeting report synthesizing discussion points and actionable recommendations to advance gender transformative programming that emerged from the October 2021 Interagency Gender Working Group (IGWG) Plenary, “Exploring Gender Transformative Approaches: Lessons Learned and New Opportunities in Health Programming.” During the event, more than 200 participants from 40 countries explored gender experts’ and advocates’ collective understanding of gender transformative programming. Among the key takeaways: Implementers, advocates, researchers, and donors should build consensus on how “gender transformative” is defined, as definitional inconsistencies can lead to confusion about how these programs are implemented, approaches are applied, and outcomes are measured. Implementers and donors should improve the measurement of gender transformative outcomes to promote the adoption and scale-up of successful approaches and mobilize donor support. Community leadership in the design and implementation of gender transformative programs is critical to ensure that programs are context-specific and realistic.
PACE Launches Training Program Alumni Database
Over the past five years, PACE has partnered with hundreds of highly skilled researchers, decisionmakers, journalists, and advocates through the Policy Communication Fellows, Women’s Edition, Youth Multimedia Fellows, and PED Youth Advocates training programs. The new Alumni Database features current and past participants of these programs and highlights their current work, demonstrating how these accomplished leaders have applied PACE training to improve the health and well-being of people throughout the world. The database represents the plethora of expertise, regions, and topics within the alumni cohorts and facilitates connections among fellows and with shared opportunities of interest.
PACE Partner SERAC-Bangladesh Calls on Bangladesh’s Directorate General of Family Planning (DGFP) to Support Youth Contraceptive Use
On March 4, SERAC-Bangladesh presented a call to action to ensure continued access to contraceptive information and services for adolescents and youth who wish to avoid pregnancy, informed by PACE’s policy brief on sustaining youth contraceptive use, to the DGFP’s Maternal and Child Health Services Unit and the Clinical Contraceptive Services Delivery Program Unit. Jointly developed by SERAC-Bangladesh and other youth-led organizations, the call to action includes seven recommendations, including providing client-centered care that recognizes the diverse needs of young people, providing high-quality contraceptive counseling, and implementing a range of active follow up mechanisms between appointments. Dr. Md. Mahmudur Rahman, Director of the Maternal and Child Health Services Unit, and Dr. Nurun Nahar Begum, Line Director of the Clinical Contraceptive Services Delivery Program Unit, committed to sharing the call to action with the DGFP’s Director General and the technical committee to identify opportunities to implement the recommendations.
PACE and ISSP Publish New Article “La Polygamie en Afrique de l’Ouest : Ses impacts sur la fécondité, les intentions de fécondité et la planification familiale”
In partnership with the Institut Supérieur des Sciences de la Population (ISSP), PACE published the web article “La Polygamie en Afrique de l’Ouest : Ses impacts sur la fécondité, les intentions de fécondité et la planification familiale” exploring the impact of polygamy on fertility, fertility intentions, and family planning in selected West African countries. The article features original analysis presented at a virtual convening on the implications of polygamy for fertility intentions and family planning, which brought together West African government and civil society stakeholders working on the multisectoral issues of gender, health, and youth. To the best of PACE and ISSP’s knowledge, this is the first multi-national analysis examining the impact of polygamy of fertility intentions and use of family planning. The analysis demonstrates that there are identifiable differences in fertility desires and contraceptive use between women in a polygamous union and women in a monogamous union, which should be integrated into family planning programs and campaigns.
PACE Highlights Insights on PED Successes and Advocacy Opportunities Going Forward
Since 2015, PRB’s Policy, Advocacy, and Communication Enhanced for Population and Reproductive Health (PACE) Project has worked alongside other champions across the globe to integrate population and reproductive health solutions into complex challenges, including climate change and development. PACE’s newest resource highlights the legacy and successes of its PED approaches, with reflections on the challenges and opportunities for PED advocates going forward. This blog post, “Family Planning’s Multisectoral Impacts: Lessons and Opportunities from the PACE Project” offers insights on the changing environment since 2015, and showcases PACE’s support to local and global champions to advance PED approaches.
Nepal’s Dhankutu Province Prioritizes Actions to Address Youth Contraceptive Discontinuation
With PACE support, Visible Impact, a youth-led organization in Nepal, convened a meeting on February 28 with representatives of Dhankuta Province’s Health Directorate. Visible Impact presented the findings and recommendations of PACE’s policy brief on youth contraceptive discontinuation alongside data illustrating that the province’s current contraceptive discontinuation rate is 40%. In response, officials acknowledged that contraceptive discontinuation was a new concept that the province had not yet focused on and discussed improving the quality of contraceptive counseling. Ms. Bijeta Gautam, the Health Directorate’s reproductive health focal person, committed to considering contraceptive discontinuation during the province’s April budget planning meeting. With PACE support, Visible Impact is convening meetings with decisionmakers in four other provinces.
PACE Partner Youth Alliance for Reproductive Health (YARH) Secures Commitment From North Kivu Provincial Ministry of Health to Scale Up Youth Contraceptive Services
On March 1, YARH presented a five-year plan to scale up adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health services, informed by PACE’s policy brief on sustaining youth contraceptive use, to officials from the North Kivu provincial Ministry of Health. Jointly developed by YARH and other youth-led organizations with support from PACE, the plan makes a series of recommendations to address obstacles to sustained contraceptive use, including youth-responsive training for family planning service providers and maintaining the full complement of methods to ensure that youth can switch methods if they experience unacceptable side effects. Following the presentation, Dr. Janvier Kubuya, Chef de Division Provinciale de la Santé au Nord-Kivu, signed a letter of commitment to support youth-led organizations to mobilize the funds needed to implement the plan. The proceedings and outcomes of the meeting were covered by local media (articles here and here). Over the next few months, YARH and the Programme National de Santé de l’Adolescent (PNSA) will sensitize communities about the plan and mobilize resources to support its implementation.
PACE Cultivates Institutional Hubs of Policy Communication Experts in West Africa to Promote Local Leadership and Sustainability
Following a training-of-trainers for professors from the Institut de Formation et de Recherche Démographique (IFORD) in Cameroon, the Institut Superieur des Sciences de la Population (ISSP) in Burkina Faso, and alumni from PACE’s inaugural policy fellows program in Francophone Africa, IFORD and ISSP delivered tailored versions of PACE’s Policy Communication Fellows program to Ph.D. and master’s students within their respective institutions. PACE also provided technical support to the Consortium Regional pour la Recherce en Economie Generationelle (CREG), based in Senegal, to train policymakers and researchers to apply policy communication skills to increase evidence-based policy advocacy in Francophone West Africa. By creating a network of highly skilled partner organizations capable of cascading policy communication capacity building approaches within their region after PACE ends, this activity contributed to local leadership and sustainability.
PACE Policy Fellow Gains Local Leaders’ Support for Youth Family Planning in Pissila, Burkina Faso
With PACE support, Maurice Sawadogo convened an advocacy meeting on March 9 with community leaders from Pissila, Burkina Faso on the importance of expanding adolescents’ and young people’s access to family planning information and services in humanitarian contexts, such as Pissila. He recommended that municipal funding should be dedicated to subsidizing the cost of contraceptives for young people, ensuring that the full range of contraceptive methods is available, and training health care workers on the provision of client-centered care. The prefect of Pissila and the community leaders expressed support for the recommendations and committed to elevating them with the city council.
PACE Expands Contraceptive Use Dynamics Analysis and Visualization to Include Liberia and Rwanda
Since launching in September 2019, PACE has expanded its Choices and Challenges data visualization tool from 9 to 15 USAID family planning priority countries. In the final update to the tool, PACE added new data for two countries, Liberia and Rwanda. As in other countries, findings illuminate potential directions for health policy and service delivery improvements to better meet the needs and preferences of family planning users. In Liberia, among women no longer using family planning at the end of the calendar period, 68 percent of pregnant women and 75 percent of non-users reported discontinuing their most recent method while still in need. In Rwanda, among women who switched methods within the two-year calendar period, over two thirds (70 percent) switched to a more effective method.
PACE Equips Policy Fellows Alumni to Utilize Contraceptive Discontinuation Tools
On February 8 and 9, PACE convened “An Introduction to Policy Approaches on Contraceptive Discontinuation,” a workshop for 16 alumni of the project’s Policy Communication Fellows Program from Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, and Uganda. The workshop prepared the alumni to use PACE’s youth discontinuation policy brief and Choices and Challenges data visualization to package data and evidence on contraceptive discontinuation for policy decisionmakers. Participants noted, “This is an excellent tool because the data is already done! It makes it so much easier to move [research] forward…It’s an easily accessible, sustainable, go-to resource and provides easy evidence for non-scientific audiences…” and “This tool is a nice change from the heavy numbers and statistics that we’re used to seeing [on this topic].” Multiple fellows identified concrete opportunities to use the tools for policy change in their countries, positioning these PACE resources for sustained use beyond the life of the project.
Youth Lead Dialogue on Climate Change and Gender
PACE PED champions, including youth leaders from PACE Youth Multimedia Fellowship partners, were invited by PACE and Knowledge SUCCESS to co-lead the inaugural People-Planet Discourse, a time-bound discussion on the new PED knowledge management space People-Planet Connection in September 2021. After the successful dialogue on the linkages between gender and climate change, PACE senior policy advisor, Tess McLoud, featured the youth champions in a blog post highlighting their experiences and suggestions for next steps from the dialogue, including how they will apply learnings on gender and climate change into their work.
TMCG Launches Update of the Digital Health Compendium With Support From PACE
The Medical Concierge Group (TMCG) of Uganda has successfully assumed leadership of PACE’s Digital Health Compendium, leading an update launched in December 2021. The 14 new case studies of effective digital health technologies used to enhance family planning programs, primarily applied by local organizations in sub-Saharan Africa, include interventions such as telehealth programs to increase male engagement in family planning, mobile applications to strengthen referral systems, and artificial intelligence (AI)-powered social media marketing to promote uptake of sexual and reproductive health services among adolescents. PACE, TMCG, and Knowledge Success hosted a webinar highlighting case studies from the Compendium during Transform Digital Health Week 2021. The webinar, titled “Designing or Implementing a Family Planning Program? How To Introduce Digital Solutions Sustainably and at Scale,” drew participants from over 25 countries.
PACE Event Highlights Linkages Between Family Planning, Population Age Structure, and Inclusive and Effective Governance
On December 7, the PACE and HP+ projects organized a virtual roundtable, “Family Planning and Effective, Inclusive, and Accountable Governance,” as a side event of the U.S. government’s Summit for Democracy. The PACE project presented new analysis showing how investments in voluntary family planning, which promote changes in population age structure, can enhance countries’ progress in several measures of inclusive, effective governance over the long term. Speakers from HEP+ Guatemala and PACE Kenya shared lessons from family planning programs implemented using approaches that advance civic participation, accountability, and transparency in the short term. To close the roundtable, USAID’s Center for Democracy, Rights, and Governance offered reflections pointing to paths forward in collaboration between the governance and health sectors.
Government of Mauritania Collaborates With Faith and Youth Leaders to end Female Genital Mutilation and Promote Birth Spacing
At a November 30 national launch event in Nouakchott chaired by the General Secretary of the Ministry of Health, the Association des Gestionnaires pour le Développement presented an advocacy video co-created with PACE, Mauritanian faith leaders and youth advocates. The video, available in French and Arabic, demonstrates faith leaders’ support for youth-led community dialogue to end female genital mutilation and promote modern contraceptive use. It also encourages faith leaders to leverage their role to influence community behaviors in respect of laws and policies that promote health and well-being. During the televised launch event, the General Secretary reasserted Mauritania’s commitment for all women and married adolescents and youth to have equitable and sustainable access to quality sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning and birth spacing, by 2030. Participating faith leaders confirmed their willingness to expand dialogue with young people around reproductive health. The video will be translated into the four national languages and disseminated alongside a conversation guide during subnational activities in early 2022.
2021 IGWG Plenary Informs Future Directions in Gender Transformative Programming
On October 28, over 200 participants from 40 countries joined the PACE-convened Interagency Gender Working Group 2021 Plenary: “Exploring Gender Transformative Approaches: Lessons Learned and New Opportunities in Health Programming.” A panel of experts deliberated key elements of gender transformative programming (GTP), discussed the power of GTP to generate systematic change, and provided insights on challenges and opportunities to better measure gender transformative outcomes. In small groups, participants shared lessons and successes in applying GTP. Key takeaways include the importance of shifting existing harmful gender norms and creating new ones; collaborating with communities to define, co-create, and better measure gender transformative outcomes (and indicators); sensitizing health managers to gender issues within the health workforce; and establishing and maintaining strong partnerships with gender champions and allies in civil society, donor institutions, and governments to secure support for GTP. Several members indicated plans to re-evaluate their own programming to ensure they incorporate truly gender transformative approaches that lead to improved gender equality outcomes and to use a gender transformative lens to develop in-country programming and better assess program outcomes. The discussion points from the event will be incorporated into a product to be shared with the IGWG community.
PACE Expands Four Dividends Analysis to Additional Multisectoral Policy Goals
PACE has launched a new edition of the Four Dividends interactive web feature. This resource synthesizes research and presents new analysis that expands the concept of the demographic dividend to four potential sets of dividends: In addition to economic growth, it outlines benefits in health, education, and governance. The new edition elaborates the linkages between population age structure and additional indicators in each sector, many of which are often cited in national vision or development strategies. The additional indicators include: maternal survival, transformation of the economy, government effectiveness, civic participation, and control of corruption. With a broader understanding of the potential benefits of age structure change across key sectors, advocates and policymakers can generate multisectoral commitment to investments in voluntary family planning and girls’ education.
PACE Media Partner and Journalist Fellow Receive Leadership and Reporting Awards
Tidiane Sy, Women’s Edition West Africa trainer and founder of PACE partner l’Ecole Supérieure de Journalisme, des Métiers de l’Internet et de la Communication (E-jicom), won the Media Leadership Award at the October 2021 “Rebranding Africa Forum” in Brussels. According to a published statement, he was selected by the Forum jury “for…his leadership training journalists and communications professionals at E-jicom, an establishment that has become a model with regard to training for media and communication professionals on the continent.” The Rebranding Africa Forum is an economic conference that aims to serve as a platform for exchange and cooperation between African and European leaders from different sectors. This year, it included speakers such as former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair and President of the West African Development Bank Serge Ekue. “PRB as a partner of E-jicom deserves to share in this award,” said Mr. Sy. “Thanks for the support.” In addition, Malian journalist Marietou Konaté was named laureate of the Prix JDH for human rights reporting by nonprofit organization Journalists for Human Rights/Journalistes pour les Droits Humains. Her stories about early marriage completed under Women’s Edition earned her the prize. Ms. Konaté also won a prize from the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) for her coverage of gender equity completed under the fellowship.
PACE and Knowledge SUCCESS Launch 20 Essential Resources on Family Planning Policy Environments
PRB’s PACE project partnered with Knowledge SUCCESS to develop a curated collection of resources, launched on September 30, on family planning policy environments. These evidence-based, actionable resources can help ensure that more women and families are supported by policy environments that enable their access to and use of family planning. The collection offers tools to measure, assess, and influence policy environments alongside resources to improve understanding of key policy topics. Explore the collection here.
PACE Policy Fellows and Partners to Present at the 29th IUSSP International Population Conference
As a result of PACE’s mentorship and technical support to researchers who participated in the project’s inaugural Policy Communication Fellows Program in West Africa, four fellows’ abstracts were accepted for oral presentation at the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population’s 29th International Population Conference in December 2021. Their presentations will include: Sadou Doumbo on the gender differences in the formation of the lifecycle deficit and the demographic dividend in Mali; Maurice Sawadogo on the effects of maternal educational attainment on chronic child malnutrition in Burkina Faso; and Herve Bassinga on fertility and contraceptive practices among women in union in the Ouagadougou Partnership countries. PACE will also support Burkina Faso-based research partner Institut Supérieur des Sciences de la Population to present a joint original analysis on the implications of polygamy in West and Central Africa for fertility intentions and family planning.
PACE Expands Institutional Policy Communication Partnership to Anglophone Africa:
PACE’s flagship policy communication fellowship program has grown to include two new partners in Kenya and Nigeria, joining three institutional partners in Francophone West Africa. Launched on September 16, the Anglophone Africa program trains faculty and researchers from the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), its affiliate Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA), and the University of Ibadan on best practices and essential policy communication skills to promote evidence-driven decision making. Prof. Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue, Professor in the Department of Global Development at Cornell University and himself an alumnus of the policy fellows program, is again serving as the program’s expert trainer. Over the course of the year, PACE will support participants to adapt and cascade their learning within their own training programs and curricula, creating a network of institutionally-based policy communication trainers around the region.
PACE / PASSAGES Webinar Showcases Role of Religious Leaders
On Sept. 27, PACE and the Passages Project convened a webinar, “Faith Leaders: Allies in Youth and Women’s Well-Being,” focused on faith leaders as important allies in promoting positive social norms and behavior change for youth and women’s reproductive health and well-being. Featuring PACE partners Cadres des Religieux pour la Santé et le Développement and Association des Gestionnaires pour le Développement, the webinar highlighted the foundational role of multisectoral partnerships and coalitions to building transformative community dialogue. The webinar took place in English and French with simultaneous translation.
Youth Leaders Gain Skills to Influence Policy
After a competitive recruitment process, PACE has chosen a new cohort of institutional partners for its successful Youth Multimedia Fellowship program. To improve sharing and learning across sectors, we included youth-led organizations focused on environmental advocacy and/or reproductive health to apply. We are pleased to announce Green Girls Platform (Malawi), Break-Free From Plastic (Nigeria), and YUWA (Nepal) as our 2021 Youth Multimedia Fellows. Representatives from each organization are attending (virtual) trainings on storytelling, strategic communication, and multimedia skills and are already hard at work on a video targeting policymakers and the public. The fellows are being mentored and supported by a team of experts, including alumni fellows Sani Muhammad and Mubarak Idris from Bridge Connect Africa Initiative, Tess McLoud of PRB, and Lisa Russell of Create2030.
Youth Leaders and Policymakers Promote Interventions to Sustain Youth Contraceptive Use in West Africa
PACE convened a virtual policy dialogue on youth contraceptive discontinuation in West Africa on May 26, in collaboration with the Réseau des Femmes Sénégalaises pour la Promotion de la Planification Familiale (REFESPF)and Knowledge SUCCESS. Two representatives from youth-led organizations presented key findings on youth contraceptive discontinuation and policy interventions that address barriers to sustained contraceptive use, drawing on a PACE policy brief (also available in French). Alumni of PACE’s inaugural policy fellows program in West Africa shared their analysis of the favorability of national country and program contexts for sustaining youth contraceptive use in Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, and Togo. During a moderated panel discussion several high-level policy decisionmakers—including a parliamentarian from Togo, an official from the Ministry of Health of Guinea, a magistrate from Burkina Faso, and the mayor of the largest municipality of Benin—endorsed the policy brief recommendations offered by youth leaders. The event underscored the importance of involving young people in policy fora. PACE is organizing a follow-up roundtable discussion between the youth leaders and policy fellows program alumni and providing policy communication training to the youth-led organizations participating in the event to support their efforts to translate the recommendations into action.
IGWG Spring Dialogue Led by Members in USAID Priority Countries
On May 26, PACE convened the Interagency Gender Working Group (IGWG) “Spring Dialogues: IGWG Members Lead the Conversation,” a platform for IGWG members based in USAID priority countries to lead discussions on priority issues identified by the network. Over 50 participants representing 12 countries participated in the event. Facilitators based in India and Nigeria led roundtable discussions on the efficacy of gender-transformative approaches in adolescent-focused programs, including during the COVID-19 pandemic; strategies to advocate for gender-transformative change within our organizations; and how to establish referral networks between healthcare and GBV service providers and ensure self-care for providers dealing with GBV issues. Common themes across discussion groups included taking gender equality ideas from “paper to practice” through stronger accountability of decisionmakers at all levels; the essential role of engaging stakeholders from all sectors, including religious and traditional leaders, to advance gender equality and prevent GBV; working within local sociocultural and gender norms for more effective programming; and prioritizing organizational support for gender-transformative approaches, such as offering paid parental leave and childcare and equal pay for women.
District Demographic Dividend Action Plans Shape Priorities in Uganda
With PACE assistance, the National Population Council of Uganda (NPCU) targets national and subnational decisionmakers with evidence-based messages and materials that demonstrate the impact of voluntary family planning for healthy families, communities, and multisectoral development. NPCU is finalizing a suite of advocacy resources and preparing for workshops focused on ensuring that family planning is included as a strategic objective in new five-year district development plans. With support from NPCU, three districts to date have developed Demographic Dividend Action Plans, which include objectives on increasing male engagement in family planning and reducing teenage pregnancy. NPCU has also trained a cadre of 15 “demographic dividend champions” in the Busoga region, who will advocate for integration of key priorities including reducing teenage pregnancy and child marriage, improving access to family planning, increasing male engagement in reproductive health, and improving maternal and child health in district development plans.
Youth Advocates Champion Policy Change
PACE’s capacity strengthening of youth advocates and youth-led organizations to lead targeted, data-driven advocacy initiatives is generating policy change and new financial commitments for family planning and reproductive health. In northern Nigeria, PACE-trained fellows at Bridge Connect Africa Initiative (BCAI) are using mobile technology to create videos and other multimedia tools utilized in campaigns through social media, community platforms, and with local policymakers. BCAI earned commitments from the Governor of Kano State and state House of Assembly leaders to advance the Child Protection Bill, which would criminalize child marriage. The bill passed the lower chamber in February 2021 and BCAI are working to strengthen language around age of marriage and girls’ education as it proceeds to the upper chamber for review. In Uganda, youth advocates trained by PACE and GOAL Malawi on strategic communications and integrated Population, Environment, and Development (PED) approaches have succeeded in securing allocations of municipal funds for PED sectors, including family planning, in two districts in 2020.
County Budget Advocacy Garners Family Planning Wins
In the past year, PACE Kenya has amplified its impact by elevating lessons learned in county-level family planning resource mobilization to the national level through a strategic relationship with the Council of Governors. The Council comprises the governors and their offices in Kenya’s 47 counties and provides a mechanism for consultation and sharing of best practices across county governments. In January 2021, in the context of discussions about closeout of World Bank funding for family planning, PACE was invited to share lessons learned on county budget advocacy with the county economic planning teams. During the plenary discussions, the counties committed to PACE’s recommendations to 1) establish designated budget line items for family planning, and 2) sensitize county assembly budget and health committees to the importance and high return on investment of family planning. The Council of Governors has indicated continued interest in close partnership with PACE and will be following up with all counties to ensure implementation of these commitments.
Kano and Kaduna State Leaders Commit to Ending Child Marriage Following Advocacy From PACE-Trained Youth Leaders
Nigerian youth advocates trained by PACE secured policy commitments from local leaders by creating videos focused on ending child marriage and increasing access to family planning services. Bridge Connect Africa Initiative (BCAI), a youth-led organization launched with support from PACE, aided local youth advocates to widely disseminate the videos across popular social media platforms and in community-level policy dialogues with seven influential leaders from both the traditional and political governing structures in northern Nigeria.
Following their outreach, the governor of Kano state made a public declaration to end child marriage by committing his support to the Child Protection Bill, an executive bill co-sponsored with the Office of the Attorney General. The principal private secretary of the Attorney General met with BCAI and PACE-trained advocates for a private screening and confirmed that the governor had seen the online campaign and video before making his declaration. While the legislation is still pending, sections of the bill that provide for compulsory schooling for all children as a method to reduce child marriage have been adopted into a state-level policy. In Kaduna, the governor’s chief of staff committed to sharing a video message to call on the state government to promote availability and access of family planning services for women and young people.
PACE’s Budget Advocacy Drives Adoption of Family Planning Line Item and Increases in Samburu County’s Health Budget Allocations
For family planning advocates, no greater success exists than a dedicated and adequately funded line item in the health budget. PACE’s strategic approach to budget advocacy has paid off in Samburu County where concerted advocacy activities led to a first-ever budget line item for family planning as well as an increased percentage of the county’s budget allocated to health in FY2020/21. Over a period of months, PACE facilitated workshops to support the county health management team (CHMT), sector working groups, and departmental representatives to identify priorities for county budgeting. This continuous engagement with the CHMT has enabled them to effectively advocate to the Finance Department and County Assembly for increased funding for health and family planning. Specifically, in developing the Health Sector Working Group Report, the CHMT, Finance Department, and other sectors recommended that the County Assembly allocate an increased percentage of the county budget to health programs, despite an overall decrease in the county budget, and to dedicate a new budget line and funding specifically for family planning (KES 12,000,000, or approximately $112,000). PACE will be leveraging this important success in Samburu as an example to other counties about what is possible.
PACE Collaboration With National Population Council of Uganda Advances Districts’ Commitment to Family Planning
The National Population Council of Uganda (NPCU) presented advocacy materials co-developed with PACE to district governing authorities at 22 Local Government Budget Framework Consultative Workshops, which are organized by the Ugandan Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development to establish budget strategy and execution for the coming fiscal year. The video and fact sheet developed with PACE draw on evidence about the benefits of age structure change for “dividends” across three sectors—child health, education, and economic growth—to increase multisectoral commitment for family planning. Presentation of the family planning advocacy materials by NPCU representatives at each workshop, including during breakout sessions to address questions from participants, was a strong demonstration of NPCU’s institutional capacity to champion voluntary family planning programs and is expected to lead to increases in district family planning budgets. Through these efforts, NPCU has been invited to provide further assistance to five districts for forthcoming district development plans, an exciting step towards consolidating district-level funding for family planning. The additional technical assistance will include development of tailored advocacy products that contextualize the multisectoral benefits of investment in family planning at the district level, and technical assistance to help the districts identify key demographic dividend investments, especially voluntary family planning, to be prioritized in their district development plans.
PACE-Trained Advocate Fosters New Population, Environment, and Development Commitments in Madagascar
Johnnah Ranariniaina, Livelihoods Component Lead with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in Madagascar, shared several exciting outcomes he achieved building on his participation in the 2019 PACE Population, Environment, and Development (PED) Policy Communication training in the six-month post-training survey. Ranariniaina has applied the policy, advocacy, and communication skills he honed during the training in multiple ways that will enhance the protection of Makira Natural Park, a conservation priority in northeastern Madagascar, and improve human health and livelihoods in communities adjacent to the park through an integrated PED approach. Using increased family planning/reproductive health knowledge from the training, Ranariniaina successfully advocated for an updated Makira Natural Park livelihoods strategy to address early childbearing and high birth rates, particularly among adolescents, as a critical health issue in local communities. To address this strategic shift, WCS established an agreement with a private sector family planning partner to provide family planning services in communities around the park. Ranariniaina’s PED advocacy further led to the WCS Madagascar country program adopting PED as a cornerstone of their conservation approach in their new 2020-2025 strategy, which affirms the organization’s commitment to champion an integrated approach to population and development in Madagascar.
PACE Bolsters Kenya Council of Governors’ Case for Prioritization of Reproductive Health Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic
As the Government of Kenya grapples with the impact of COVID-19 on its citizens, PACE analysis helped protect strong commitment to family planning and reproductive health services among subnational decisionmakers. Recognizing the significant pressure on county governors to redirect health funding to the COVID-19 emergency response, PACE conducted a rapid analysis of county health budget planning and Health Information System data in Samburu, Busia, Narok, and Baringo counties after COVID-19 restrictions were implemented. This evidence, which showed a significant disruption in delivery of essential services, informed a May 27th letter to 47 governors from the chairman of the Council of Governors. Advising that county governors “put in place measures to balance the demands of responding directly to COVID-19 while ensuring continuity in essential health service delivery to address the impact of COVID-19 on reproductive, maternal, and child health,” the chairman’s letter affirmed the country’s political commitment to these essential services, despite the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19.
Ugandan Youth Achieve Population, Environment, and Development Commitments in Two Municipalities
Two Ugandan youth Population, Environment, and Development (PED) advocates trained by PACE and GOAL Malawi have successfully leveraged their skills to advance local policy goals. Tonny Muzira successfully advocated to the Nansana Municipality Council in Wakiso District to allocate municipal funds in the FY2020/21 budget to support various sectors relating to PED, including family planning provision. Members of the Municipal Council have invited him to advise on the use of allotted funds to PED activities. James Onono Ojok, a conservation advocate working with a community-based group that protects indigenous tree species, convinced council members in Gulu District of the link between family planning and environment programs to support a healthy community. In response, the council both tripled the budget allocation for family planning to support 31 lower health units’ community outreach during the COVID-19 pandemic and funded a community tree seedling distribution program to enhance sustainable economic opportunities for local households.
PACE Convenes Inaugural Policy Communication Fellows Program in West Africa
PRB’s policy communication training program for young researchers has expanded to Francophone West Africa for the first time. Launched on October 22 in collaboration with the Ouagadougou Partnership Coordination Unit, PACE’s 10-day course trains 15 policy fellows on best practices and essential skills to promote evidence-driven decisionmaking. The West Africa program includes facilitators from three prominent West African research institutions: the Institut de Formation et de Recherches Demographiques (IFORD) in Cameroon, the Institut Superieur de Santé Publique (ISSP) in Burkina Faso, and the Institut de Population Développement et Santé de la Reproduction (IPDSR) in Senegal. Prof. Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue, Chair of the Department of Development Sociology at Cornell University and himself an alumnus of the policy fellows program, is serving as the program’s master trainer. Over the course of the year, PACE will provide further training to the facilitators and participants, positioning them to cascade their learning to graduate students in their respective institutions and creating a network of institutionally-based policy communication trainers around the region.