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Youth Family Planning Policy Scorecard: Measuring Commitment to Effective Policy and Program Interventions

The Youth Family Planning Policy Scorecard evaluates the favorability of 28 current national policy and program environments for youth access to sexual and reproductive health services.

The March 2022 edition of PRB’s Youth Family Planning Policy Scorecard evaluates the favorability of 28 current national policy and program environments for youth access to sexual and reproductive health services. The Scorecard allows users to quickly assess the extent to which a country’s policy environment enables and supports youth access to and use of family planning through the promotion of evidence-based practices. Users can explore the digital interface and self-select countries to compile their own Scorecard!

 

Governments around the world are increasingly creating policies to formalize the rights of adolescents and young people to access sexual and reproductive health services. Despite growing commitment from decisionmakers, many barriers remain for young people who want to use contraception. A limited evidence base has hampered systematic assessment and mapping of the key policies and programs that govern young people’s ability to access family planning information, services, and commodities. Governments and their partners lack clear guidance on which interventions will ensure that their commitments to expanding family planning use among young people are realized. Similarly, efforts by civil society to monitor the state of policy environments for youth family planning are needed to understand how countries are addressing these needs and identify areas for improvement.

To address this evidence gap, PRB conducted research and analysis to identify the most effective policies and program interventions to promote uptake of contraception among youth, defined as people between ages 15 and 24. This research has been compiled into the Youth Family Planning Policy Scorecard to evaluate and compare the favorability of current national policy and program environments.

Based on a review of existing evidence and expert consultations, the following indicators were selected as evidence-based interventions for inclusion in the Scorecard:

  • Policy barriers related to consent (parental, spousal, or service provider); age; and marital status.
  • Policies supporting access to a full range of family planning methods.
  • Policies related to comprehensive sexuality education.
  • Policies supporting/inhibiting youth-friendly family planning service provision.
  • Policies related to an enabling social environment for youth family planning services.

The Scorecard can be used by governments, donors, and advocates to evaluate a country’s youth family planning policy environment, set policy priorities, guide future commitments, and compare policy environments across countries.

The March 2022 edition of the Scorecard includes data for 28 countries: Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Guinea, Haiti, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, the Philippines, Senegal, Sindh (Pakistan), Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia.

 


PRB launched the March 2022 Edition of the Youth Family Planning Policy Scorecard on March 9 and March 10 through a webinar delivered in French and English. The webinar shares new country policy analyses and digital platform features. It also features guest speakers who share their experiences using the Scorecard to advance policy change.

 

Webinar: Using the Youth Family Planning Policy Scorecard to Advance Policy Change Video thumbnail

Webinar: Using the Youth Family Planning Policy Scorecard to Advance Policy Change

Webinar: Using the Youth Family Planning Policy Scorecard to Advance Policy Change

The Youth Family Planning Policy Scorecard allows for a quick assessment of the extent to which a country’s policy environment enables and supports youth access to and use of FP, can be used by governments, donors, and advocates to evaluate the inclusion of evidence-based interventions and policy language and set policy priorities and guide future commitments.

This webinar shares new updates and functions from the March 2022 edition of the Scorecard, and features guest speakers from Bridge Connect Initiative Africa and SERAC-Bangladesh sharing their experiences using the Scorecard to advance policy change.

Webinaire: Tableau de bord des politiques de planification familiale pour les jeunes Video thumbnail

Webinaire: Tableau de bord des politiques de planification familiale pour les jeunes

Webinaire: Tableau de bord des politiques de planification familiale pour les jeunes

Le Tableau de bord de la politique de planification familiale pour les jeunes est conçu pour permettre une appréciation rapide de la mesure dans laquelle l’environnement politique d’un pays permet et soutient l’accès des jeunes à la PF et son utilisation, en encourageant des pratiques fondées sur des données probantes. Le Tableau de bord peut être utilisé pour évaluer l’inclusion des interventions fondées sur des données probantes et les politiques avérées efficaces pour réduire les obstacles et/ou améliorer l’accès des jeunes à la contraception dans les pays. Au cours du webinaire, nous partagerons les nouvelles analyses et fonctionnalités du Tableau de bord et comment il a été utilisé pour motiver des changements de politiques.

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Why Policy Matters: Stories of Impact on Health and Wellbeing

As a partner on the HP+ project, PRB contributed to an activity focused on “Why Policy Matters” through visual storytelling. Two stories explore the details of how HP+-supported policy actions in Kenya and Nigeria have impacted lives and provided opportunity for sustained local leadership, illustrating how innovative approaches can make a difference in the health and wellbeing of women and their children.

Why Policy Matters: Free Maternal Health Care in Kenya Saves Lives Video thumbnail

Why Policy Matters: Free Maternal Health Care in Kenya Saves Lives

Why Policy Matters: Free Maternal Health Care in Kenya Saves Lives

Around the world, a woman dies every two minutes from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Giving birth without the assistance of a skilled provider significantly increases these chances. Linda Mama, a new publicly funded health scheme in Kenya, is turning the tide. It provides basic health services to pregnant women and infants for free, saving the lives of women and children across the nation. In Port Reitz subcounty alone, maternal deaths fell by 64% and newborn deaths fell by 87% within two years of Linda Mama’s introduction. Watch this short film to learn more about why policy matters for Kenyans.

Why Policy Matters: Reforms Lead to a Healthy Outlook for Nigerians Video thumbnail

Why Policy Matters: Reforms Lead to a Healthy Outlook for Nigerians

Why Policy Matters: Reforms Lead to a Healthy Outlook for Nigerians

Less than 5% of Nigerians have health insurance and more than half of Nigerians live on less than two dollars a day. These realities, combined with high out-of-pocket health expenses, mean that women, children, and their families are unable to access quality health care. The result? Nigeria has some of the worst rates of maternal and child mortality. Under new reforms aimed at strengthening the country’s primary health system and providing financial protections, this situation is starting to change. Primary health care centers around the country are improving their quality of care. They are beginning to see their electricity restored, more medical supplies stocked, and more patients arriving for services. If implementation is accelerated, these reforms could lead to dramatic drops in child and mortality rates. Watch this short film to learn more about why policy matters for Nigerians.

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Enhancing Youth Advocacy Through Multimedia Campaigns

Enhancing Youth Advocacy Through Multimedia Campaigns

PRB inspired – Let Your Voice Be Heard Video thumbnail

PRB inspired – Let Your Voice Be Heard

This PIA MIMI created video on contraceptives was inspired by the Population Reference Bureau. The initiative began as an idea for meaningful youth participation given that young people’s voices are always sedated whenever it comes to highlighting their thoughts and beliefs. In this video PIA MIMI sought to deconstruct the sedation of young people’s voices and let young people speak their mind and literally take control of your future.

This PIA MIMI created video on contraceptives was inspired by the Population Reference Bureau. The initiative began as an idea for meaningful youth participation given that young people’s voices are always sedated whenever it comes to highlighting their thoughts and beliefs. In this video PIA MIMI sought to deconstruct the sedation of young people’s voices and let young people speak their mind and literally take control of your future.

PACE’s Youth Multimedia Campaigns training program equips youth advocates with the skills to create innovative digital campaigns, tell compelling population health stories, and build movements for policy change within their countries.

PACE’s Youth Multimedia Campaigns training program equips youth advocates with the skills to create innovative digital campaigns, tell compelling population health stories, and build movements for policy change within their countries. Using data-driven multimedia and events, youth participants collaborate with their peers to share powerful advocacy messages focused on the health and well-being of their communities. The PACE training program supports the institutional growth of youth-led organizations as well as a burgeoning network of youth leaders passionate about population dynamics and reproductive health.

PACE has partnered with competitively selected youth-led teams in Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Sudan, and Uganda to amplify their policy advocacy on topics such as youth-friendly family planning services, female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), child marriage, gender-based violence (GBV), fistula prevention, and maternal health.

Three youth-led advocacy organizations—from Malawi, Nepal, and Nigeria—joined the 2021 training program, where they built or strengthened their storytelling, video production, policy communication, and social media engagement skills. Youth used these skills to develop a new multimedia advocacy campaign pushing for advancements in youth sexual and reproductive health or environmental protection in their communities. Alumni fellows from Bridge Connect Africa Initiative were among the training coaches for the 2021 program and presented several sessions.

Participating youth and their organizations receive tailored technical and leadership training and ongoing mentorship around techniques in policy communication, fact-based and data-driven advocacy, and multimedia production (text, graphics, images, video, and audio). Using accessible technology, including mobile phones and social media platforms, PACE-trained advocates build engaging campaigns focused on specific policy advocacy objectives, targeted at their peers, communities, and key decisionmakers. As part of the program, youth advocates are also expected to provide technical assistance and training to other youth in their communities, passing down their skills, expanding the reach of their campaigns, and sustaining local youth-led policy advocacy.

PARTNER SPOTLIGHT: Bridge Connect Africa Initiative

Two Nigerian activists, Sani Muhammad and Mubarak Idris, participated in the inaugural year of PACE’s Youth Multimedia Campaigns training program in 2018 and quickly established themselves as outstanding and committed population and reproductive health youth champions. With support from PACE, Muhammad and Idris successfully launched their youth-led organization, Bridge Connect Africa Initiative (BCAI), and partnered with PACE to lead the 2019 training program for two new youth teams in the Kano and Kaduna States of northern Nigeria.

The two campaigns, focused on ending child marriage and increasing access to youth-friendly family planning services, each generated positive policy change. After seeing the PACE-sponsored video and social media campaign generate broad support, the governor of Kano State made a public declaration to end child marriage through support of the Child Protection Bill. While the legislation is still pending, sections of the bill that provide for compulsory schooling for all children as a way of tackling child marriage have been adopted into a state-level policy. In Kaduna State, 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.

Alumni Showcase

Multimedia campaigns produced by alumni from each cohort of the Youth Multimedia Campaigns training program are highlighted here.

2020 Campaigns: Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, and South Sudan

2019 Campaigns: Kano and Kaduna States, Nigeria

2018 Campaigns: Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda

The Pakistan project team is funded separately by PRB.

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Accessibility of Family Planning Services in Kaduna State: A Story from Rigasa Community

Young people are often judged and misunderstood for seeking information and services relating to their sexual and reproductive health. Working with a team of young people in Kaduna state with support from the Population Reference Bureau, young people are standing up to bring their issues to the fore of government priorities in accessing family planning information and services.

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Child Marriage in Kano Nigeria: A Call for the Domestication of the Child Protection Bill (2018)

Child marriage is one of the biggest problems in northern Nigeria, leading many young girls to drop out of school, and contributing to the high rates of maternal and infant deaths. Working with the Population Reference Bureau, we trained a team of young sexual and reproductive health advocates who used their smartphone to amplify voices of these girls.

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End Child Marriage

End Child Marriage

Meet Zainab! A mother of two who was married out as a child bride. Like Zainab, over 6 million girls in Nigeria are forced into marriage at age 15, and live with dire consequences. Hear and Share her story. #SpeakUp. Let’s join the conversation to end child marriage.

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Investing in Sexual and Reproductive Health to Give Mombasa’s Youth a Bright Future

PRB partnered with Mombasa-based Stretchers Youth Organization to develop an engaging visual presentation and series of WhatsApp videos that call on Mombasa County, Kenya, health and finance officials to improve the budgets for adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health (AYSRH). Specifically, the products seek an increase in the allocation of health budget funds to the line item that houses AYSRH and to allocate part of the AYSRH budget to youth-friendly health services (YFHS).

Mombasa County has a youthful population, with more than 240,000 people between the ages of 15 and 24. Among this age group, 38% of women want to delay or prevent pregnancy, but only 6% of young men and women accessed contraceptives in 2019. Strengthening youth-friendly service delivery is proven to increase youth’s access to and use of contraception. Mombasa County allocated KES500,000 to AYSRH in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019/20, but more investment is needed to ensure contraceptives are available and accessible to all young people.

The presentation that PRB and Stretchers Youth Organization developed illustrates the barriers that prevent young people from accessing and using contraception—such as provider attitudes and social norms—and emphasizes that youth’s need for contraceptives will grow over time. Acknowledging the county’s allocation to AYSRH in FY2019/20, it highlights examples of youth-friendly service elements that the county could fund and that are proven to increase contraceptive use among young people. The presentation also shows that although the county health budget is increasing, in the last three years less than 1% of it has been allocated to Preventative and Promotive Health, the budget line that houses AYSRH. It concludes with a call for the Mombasa County Executive Committee Members for Health and Finance and Mombasa County Assembly Health Finance Committees to:

  • Increase allocation of health budget funds to the Preventative and Promotive Health program line to at least 5% over time.
  • Allocate part of the AYSRH budget specifically to youth-friendly health services.
Invest In a Bright Future for Mombasa's Youth Video thumbnail

Invest In a Bright Future for Mombasa's Youth

The WhatsApp videos—in both English and Swahili—encourage county health and finance officials to allocate funds for YFHS.

Each of the four videos uses data to focus on a theme and make the case for investing in YFHS: spending cost effectively, reducing teenage pregnancy, honoring county commitments, and empowering the future of girls and the county.

Save money for Mombasa County (English) Video thumbnail

Save money for Mombasa County (English)

Save money for Mombasa County (English)

Decrease the teenage pregnancy rate in Mombasa County (English) Video thumbnail

Decrease the teenage pregnancy rate in Mombasa County (English)

Decrease the teenage pregnancy rate in Mombasa County (English)

Honor Mombasa County’s commitments to AYSRH (English) Video thumbnail

Honor Mombasa County’s commitments to AYSRH (English)

Honor Mombasa County’s commitments to AYSRH (English)

Empower the future of girls and the county (English) Video thumbnail

Empower the future of girls and the county (English)

Empower the future of girls and the county (English)

Save money for Mombasa County (Swahili) Video thumbnail

Save money for Mombasa County (Swahili)

Save money for Mombasa County (Swahili)

Decrease the teenage pregnancy rate in Mombasa County (Swahili) Video thumbnail

Decrease the teenage pregnancy rate in Mombasa County (Swahili)

Decrease the teenage pregnancy rate in Mombasa County (Swahili)

Honor Mombasa County’s commitments to AYSRH (Swahili) Video thumbnail

Honor Mombasa County’s commitments to AYSRH (Swahili)

Honor Mombasa County’s commitments to AYSRH (Swahili)

Empower the future of girls and the county (Swahili) Video thumbnail

Empower the future of girls and the county (Swahili)

Empower the future of girls and the county (Swahili)

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Understanding Local Variation in How Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting Declines, Changes, or Persists

Population Reference Bureau (PRB) is a core partner on the Population Council’s Evidence to End FGM/C: Research to Help Girls and Women Thrive—a UKAID-funded research consortium to help end female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) within one generation. Our role is to build the consortium’s capacity for research utilization and develop innovative tools and products to improve how researchers communicate their findings about FGM/C to key decision makers.

A new PRB-prepared Evidence Brief, “Understanding Local Variation in How Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting Declines, Changes, or Persists: Analysis of Household Survey Data for Kenya, Nigeria, and Senegal,” summarizes the research consortium’s recent findings related to geographic differences in FGM/C trends among girls under age 15.

The researchers used advanced statistical modeling to show that FGM/C prevalence among girls tends to be concentrated in certain subregions and locations in Kenya, Nigeria, and Senegal—with local social norms driving the practice. Their findings underscore the importance of subnational policies in initiatives to end FGM/C and provide evidence for investing in community-level interventions that promote shifts in social norms, including religious norms.