At United Nations General Assembly, Reproductive Health and Humanitarian Settings Take Center Stage
Health was a headline issue at the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City—specifically, meeting the reproductive health needs of those experiencing displacement. Many women and girls in humanitarian settings have an urgent and unmet need for sexual and reproductive health services, and this assembly demonstrated partners’ dedication to working together to meet the challenge.
The need for accurate and useful data to guide relief efforts was a unifying theme of the many high-level events and meetings on humanitarian settings. Led by the World Health Organization (WHO), FP2020, Population Council, and others co-hosted a convening on the urgent need for good data to support and protect the right of women and girls to family planning services in crisis. This event and many others highlighted the critical need for targeted, evidence-based interventions to ensure that no women or girl is left behind, regardless of her circumstances.
UNGA echoed the themes and outcomes of the Family Planning Summit, emphasizing the power of partners working together to achieve progress, reach the hardest to reach, and meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2030 for everyone.
Excerpt from article by Beth Schlachter and Tara Sullivan:
We often think of [the women that inspired us to work in family planning]. Their stories helped shape our lives and work, and inspire us to this day. But the fact that we are telling their stories, instead of hearing directly from them, is a shame. Everyone has a story to tell and should have a platform to tell it – without fear or discomfort, and with love and support.
Family planning can be a deeply challenging and complex subject to communicate, particularly because in so many communities across the globe, sexuality education, and contraception remain taboo. This is a real challenge for family planning advocates, as we try to break down these barriers to reach women, girls, men, and boys with information and resources that have the potential to improve their lives in meaningful ways.
We have found a powerful communication tool through Family Planning Voices, a global storytelling project that has shared nearly 500 personal stories from people living with these challenges and those working to advance family planning efforts.
Performance, Monitoring, and Evidence Working Group Scrutinizes Data on Progress and Summit Outcomes
The FP2020 Performance Monitoring & Evidence Working Group (PME WG) met from September 6-8 in Washington, DC to discuss the latest data on progress towards FP2020 goals and identify ways to advance measurement improvements on key themes from the Family Planning Summit in July. This was the first working group meeting following the Summit, held in preparation for the launch of the 2017 FP2020 Progress Report later this year. Highlights included discussion of ongoing efforts to address data gaps on adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health; addressing the limited data and evidence on family planning in humanitarian settings; and improving tracking of expenditures on family planning by donors, domestic governments, and consumers. Upcoming FP2020 data and measurement activities include webinars to help FP2020 partners better understand Contraceptive Method Mix data and the SDG indicator Demand Satisfied.
Hundreds of Young People Respond to Grant Opportunity
Last month, FP2020's Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) issued a one-time call for applications (now closed) from youth-led and youth-focused organizations, and we received over 500 applications! The size and scope of this response demonstrate an urgent need to support young people as they work to bring family planning services to their communities.
Of the 500+ applications, a small number of proposals have been shortlisted and are currently under rigorous review. The quality of all applications highlights the dedication and ambition of young people working on behalf of their peers in FP2020’s 69 focus countries. Final awardees will be announced in early October here. Awardees will utilize RRM support to expand rights-based programs and policies that respond directly to the needs of adolescents and young people in their countries.
Most women in the extended postpartum period want to delay or avoid future pregnancies but are not using a modern contraceptive method. When a mother brings her child to a provider for immunizations, it represents a unique opportunity to provide family planning counseling and services. Child immunizations are one of the most equitable and well-used health services globally, and the schedule of shots in the first year of an infant’s life calls for multiple visits to a health care facility. Ensuring that family planning counseling and services are linked to infant vaccinations has the potential to reach many mothers with family planning information at a critical time—12 months following birth. To learn more about this High Impact Practice (HIP), register for the webinar on October 3.