Envisioning a world in which youth are at the center of their reproductive lives


Improving adolescent sexual and reproductive health in Bangladesh through the Sustainable Development Goals

By Kathrin Tegenfeldt, Bangladesh Country Director and Kate Plourde, Technical Officer, FHI 360

Photo: Shehab Uddin/DRIK

Photo: Shehab Uddin/DRIK

In mid-June, we had the opportunity to attend a national consultation with members of Parliament in Bangladesh on integrating sexual and reproductive health and rights into the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The consultation was hosted by the Family Planning Association of Bangladesh with support from the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

Bangladesh has made impressive strides toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals. It has met the gender parity goals for primary and secondary education and is on track to fulfill the tertiary education goals. Bangladesh has also met the under-five mortality-reduction rate goal and is likely to reach the goal of reducing maternal mortality. (more…)

Math identity is the key to girls’ math success

By Merle Froschl and Barbara Sprung, Co-Directors, Educational Equity, FHI 360

Photo: Jessica Scranton/FHI 360

Photo: Jessica Scranton/FHI 360

Girls get the message — from the toys they play with, the TV shows they watch and the attitudes of their parents, teachers and peers — that math is NOT for them! From an early age, girls are taught that math success is about an innate ability that they lack and that being feminine and being good at math are mutually exclusive.

As a result, girls do not develop a positive math identity — an identity that research tells us is key to their interest, participation and persistence in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and careers. Without a solid background in math, girls will not develop the critical STEM skills that will be required for 60 percent of the new jobs that will become available in the 21st century.

There are two pillars of a positive math identity: the belief that you can do math and the belief that you belong. Identity is fluid and dynamic. It is developed through social practice, and it is through social practice that learners develop a sense of who they are. There is no such thing as a “math gene” or a “math brain,” but the myth is perpetuated, and it is particularly harmful to girls and students of color. Teachers and parents often unconsciously convey stereotyped messages that girls do not need to be good in math. (more…)

A new funding climate demands unlikely partnerships

By Olumide Elegbe, Senior Relationship Manager, FHI 360

A version of this post originally appeared here on InterAction. Reposted with permission.

Olumide Elegbe

Photo: Leanne Gray/FHI 360

The emergence of the private sector as a development actor is a potentially game-changing trend. The reason for its emergence is clear: Official development assistance to the least developed countries continues to decrease and international human development is increasingly becoming part of the core business of corporations. But what remains open for debate is the scope of the private-sector involvement in global human development and whether corporate money should play a role in global development at all.

Partnerships between nonprofits and businesses already exist. They range from corporate philanthropy, to corporate social responsibility, to shared value partnerships. Over the past several years, USAID has established an office for transformational partnerships as part of its Global Development Lab, while organizations such as the U.K. Department for International Development have taken an approach that focuses on poverty reduction through market development and catalyzing private enterprise.

Many large nonprofits are heavily dependent on one donor stream. This means that their systems, processes and tools are geared toward providing services to their largest client, making it potentially difficult to adapt to other partners.

However, a diversified funding base can make an organization more secure, flexible and responsive. The private sector has expertise that can be leveraged to increase the impact of development programs. (more…)

Saplings and contraceptives: Results from a population, health and environment project in Kenya

By Theresa Hoke, Director, Health Services Research, FHI 360

A version of this post originally appeared here on New Security Beat, the blog of the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program. Reposted with permission.

Father’s Day is an opportunity to remind ourselves of the role of male engagement in family planning throughout the world. As FHI 360 expert Theresa Hoke describes in this blog, innovative solutions are needed to support women and couples, including men, in poor, remote rural areas in achieving the number and timing of pregnancies they desire.

GVs-in-red-shirts_540x388East African countries like Kenya have made great strides in recent decades in increasing access to modern contraception, leading to marked declines in fertility rates. But disparities remain.

The 2014 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey showed that rural women have a total fertility rate of 4.5 children per woman versus 3.1 for urban women, and the poorest women have more than twice as many children on average than the wealthiest. Meanwhile, unmet need for contraception among poor and rural Kenyan women is higher than any other groups. Clearly, innovative solutions are needed to support women and couples in poor, remote rural areas in achieving the number and timing of pregnancies they desire. (more…)

Advancing a no-missed-opportunities approach through integrating family planning and immunization services

By Chelsea Cooper, Jhpiego, Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) Advisor; Kate Rademacher, FHI 360 Technical Advisor; Rebecca Fields, John Snow Inc. (JSI), Senior Technical Advisor, Immunization

A version of this post originally appeared here on K4Health. Reposted with permission.

A no-missed-opportunities approach recognizes that every service contact presents an opportunity to comprehensively address women’s and children's health needs. Credit: Chelsea Cooper, MCHIP

A no-missed-opportunities approach recognizes that every service contact presents an opportunity to comprehensively address women’s and children’s health needs. Credit: Chelsea Cooper, MCHIP

When Lorpu*, a mother in Liberia, brought her baby to a clinic to receive routine immunizations, she was also counseled about family planning and offered a contraceptive method. Lorpu expressed relief about having received same-day provision of both family planning and immunization services: “When I go for [my child’s] vaccine, I can also get family planning. I don’t have to leave and come back.”

Lorpu received these integrated services as part of a pilot program in Liberia implemented by the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) predecessor flagship Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP) and the Liberian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. In participating clinics, women who brought their infants for routine immunization services were provided brief messages about family planning by the vaccinator and offered a referral for same-day services. This approach, now used by MCHIP’s successor program, the flagship Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP), has led to substantial increases in family planning uptake, and women have expressed positive feedback about the convenience of having access to both family planning and immunization services during the same visit.

Integrated health care delivery is critical in the year after childbirth, when there are numerous opportunities to reach women and their infants with services — including postnatal care, immunization, growth monitoring and family planning. A no-missed-opportunities approach recognizes that every service contact presents an opportunity to comprehensively address women’s and children’s health needs. (more…)

A successful project keeps girls in school in Kenya

By Ahlam Kays, Project Director, Gender Department, FHI 360

Today’s FHI 360 Gender 360 Summit in Washington, DC, will focus on ways to achieve gender equality. Four Pillars PLUS is one of several projects that FHI 360 has undertaken to improve outcomes and increase equality among girls, boys, women and men.

In most primary and secondary schools in sub-Saharan Africa, girls and boys learn math, science, language, art and history along with other subjects. Seldom do they receive the critical information they need to keep them safe, healthy and able to withstand the challenges that threaten their well-being and basic right to education. Completing a full cycle of education can become little more than a dream.

Turning the dream of education into a reality was the driving force behind the Four Pillars PLUS project. With funding from the GE Foundation, FHI 360 launched this robust girls’ education, mentoring and empowerment project in the counties of Kisumu and Siaya in Kenya. (more…)

Cognitive dissonance in the development community

By Patrick Fine, Chief Executive Officer, FHI 360

A version of this post originally appeared here on Devex. Reposted with permission.

Credit: Peeter Viisimaa/iStockPhoto

Credit: Peeter Viisimaa/iStockPhoto

There is an interesting contradiction emerging in the international development community in the run-up to July’s third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and September’s U.N. General Assembly in New York, where member states are expected to adopt the new sustainable development goals.

On one hand, there is growing recognition of the value of more comprehensive programs that integrate interventions such as combining HIV and AIDS and reproductive health services, or nutrition and basic education, or women’s rights and income-generating activities. The planning for the goals has been accompanied by a growing chorus to adopt the common-sense use of integrated approaches.

On the other hand, progressive advocates, having been unable to persuade major donors to channel their funds through direct budget support, are pressing for greater use of multilateral funding mechanisms, à la the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Not only are these vertical funds believed to give more control to governments in least-developed countries or reduce the control of the donor governments, but they also garner support from the advocacy groups championing specific interests.

Read the remainder of the blog here.

Common cause: Linking menstrual hygiene management and long-acting contraception to improve youth reproductive health

By Rebecca Callahan, Scientist, Kate Rademacher, Technical Advisor, and Lucy Wilson, Monitoring and Evaluation Advisor, FHI 360

A version of this post originally appeared here on the blog of This Week in Global Health. Reposted with permission.

Photo: Jessica Scranton/FHI 360

Photo: Jessica Scranton/FHI 360

What do family planning and menstrual hygiene management (MHM) have in common? Beyond a shared purpose to improve the health and well-being of women and girls, some family planning methods can actually improve menstrual hygiene. Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28 offers an opportunity to explore synergies between the two fields.

In recent years, the MHM movement has focused on the critical role that good menstrual hygiene management plays in enabling women and girls to achieve their full potential. Reducing the stigma associated with menstruation and ensuring that adolescent girls and women are able to safely manage their menses can eliminate some of the barriers that prevent girls and women in many countries from participating in day-to-day activities, such as attending school.

At the same time, the effort to increase access to long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) for adolescents and young women has gained momentum. The LARCs for youth movement aims to expand reproductive choice and reduce unintended pregnancy. Around the world, the use of LARC methods, including intrauterine devices (IUDs) and contraceptive implants, has increased in recent years. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommend their use among teens. (more…)

Envisioning a world in which youth are at the center of their reproductive lives

By Kelly L’Engle, Scientist, Social and Behavioral Health Sciences, FHI 360

Kelly L’EngleImagine the potential if each one of the 600 million adolescent girls in developing countries could have full control over her reproductive life. She would be able to stay in school, delay marriage, postpone pregnancy, and support herself and her community. Yet, approximately 16 million girls between the ages of 15 and 19 give birth each year and one-third of girls give birth before their 20th birthday.

To advocate for young people’s access to safe, reliable contraceptive information and services, FHI 360 co-hosted a meeting today on youth and long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCS). With participants including the LARC and Permanent Methods Community of Practice Secretariat, Population Services International, Marie Stopes International and Pathfinder, the meeting highlighted the range of highly effective contraception methods available and provided a platform for tackling tough questions about how to effectively promote LARCs for youth.

With more than 40 years of achievements in providing access to high-quality reproductive health information and services for a range of populations, FHI 360 is committed to enabling young women to make informed choices about their reproductive health. (more…)

A road map to transforming lives

Photo: Jim Daniels/FHI 360

Photo: Jim Daniels/FHI 360

By Mark Viso, President and CEO of Pact

Pact, FHI 360 and several other organizations partnered to create Locus, an initiative that seeks new solutions to old development challenges by focusing on local solutions and an integrated approach to development. FHI 360 will participate in the Locus panel discussion, “Integrated Solutions for Meaningful Change,” at 8 a.m., June 23, 2015, in the Cabinet Room at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC.

A version of this post originally appeared here on Devex. Reposted with permission.

From Kendari to Mosul and Abuja to San Francisco, people across the world will celebrate Dec. 31, the close of another year and the promise of a brighter year to come.

But this New Year’s Eve will be more than a time for personal reflection and writing resolutions. It also marks the end of the Millennium Development Goals and the start of a new chapter for the international development community.

It is the launch of the sustainable development goals — our road map for the next 15 years.

Read the full post.