The Population Reference Bureau provides periodic highlights of recent activities among its portfolio of projects. We greatly value all of our sponsors and strive to highlight the newest and most recent project activities. However, we will not likely report on all projects in every edition.

IDEA Project (USAID)

Kenya Receives Resolve Award

On May 22, the government of Kenya received the prestigious Resolve Award, which honors nations for expanding access to essential reproductive health services. The Resolve Award is given by the Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health, a group of 18 sitting and former heads of state, high-level policymakers, and other leaders who advocate for increased support for reproductive health.

The award honors Kenya’s 2012 Population Policy for National Development (PPND), which recognizes that family planning and reproductive health are central to development. The PPND reaffirms that reproductive health is a human right, and that all people, regardless of income, must be able to choose the number and timing of their children—and have access to high-quality reproductive health care.

PRB has maintained a long-standing relationship with Kenya’s National Council for Population and Development (NCPD), supporting their population advocacy and policy reform activities. The PPND grew out of a three-year effort to engage citizens and leaders in developing a visionary new population policy, created by and for the Kenyan people. The NCPD spearheaded the new policy and engaged and informed stakeholders throughout Kenya by organizing the National Leaders Conference on Population and Development, and holding meetings with district and regional leaders, churches, civil society, and government representatives, where they informed stakeholders about population issues in Kenya and showed the ENGAGE presentation “Kenya Leading the Way.”

NCPD Staff Visit Washington

In June, PRB hosted a team from Kenya’s National Council for Population and Development (NCPD) to visit several offices in Washington D.C., including USAID, the Aspen Institute, and the Woodrow Wilson Center. The purpose of the trip was to discuss progress on current IDEA Kenya field support activities, address challenges, and brainstorm ideas for next year’s activities. All activities and discussions were directly related to IDEA and NCPD’s joint effort to reposition family planning as a development priority in Kenya. A second objective was to highlight NCPD’s recent successful efforts in policy communication and advocacy through various presentations and meetings.

NCPD raised the profile of their work through their presentations at USAID, PRB, and at the Woodrow Wilson Center. Aspen Institute interviewed George Kichamu, and the video interview will be posted to the Aspen Institute and PRB websites as soon as it is available.

The Power of a Web Article

PRB’s Policy Communication Fellows Program, entering its 26th year, empowers doctoral students from USAID priority countries with the skills to translate their dissertation research into clear and actionable messages for policy audiences.

One of our recent fellows, Evelyn Sakeah, a Ph.D. student from Ghana at Boston University, had an opportunity to put these newfound policy communication skills to work sooner than expected. Her dissertation research looked at the use of training community nurses as midwives to improve maternal health outcomes. Evelyn has a passion for improving the quality of maternal health care in Ghana, and she was hoping that the Policy Fellows program would be able to help her articulate the steps that policymakers needed to take in order to achieve this goal.

Evelyn shared her web article about her dissertation, written for the Policy Fellows program, with her supervisors at the Ghana Health Service. In turn, they shared it with the president of Ghana during the presidential election. In response to a question during one of the debates about addressing maternal mortality, the president referred to data and recommendations from Evelyn’s article. The president subsequently won the election, and when the EU granted 52 million euros to Ghana to address maternal mortality, he followed through and allocated funding within that grant to train more midwives, as Evelyn had recommended.

Evelyn has since been commissioned by the Minister of Finance to submit a proposal for the national budget to begin the scale up of midwife training in the Upper East Region of Ghana. She will continue to apply her policy communication skills as she presents this proposal to stakeholders within various ministries and around the country.

You can read Evelyn’s web article on PRB’s website:
www.prb.org/Articles/2013/birth-attendants-ghana.aspx.

IDEA Delivers at Women Deliver

The PRB team was highly visible at the 2013 Women Deliver Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, busily building capacity and sharing technical products developed under IDEA.

On the first day of the conference, May 28, our ENGAGE multimedia product, “The Time Is Now: Invest in the Sexual and Reproductive Health of Young People,” was shown to a capacity crowd in the Conference Cinema Corner, a juried event. This 15-minute video delivers compelling, evidence-based messages about how sexual and reproductive health investments protect the health and well-being of young people and, at the same time, advance social and economic development.

On May 29, PRB was chosen to present on the “Tech & Tech: Advancing Advocacy” stage, during which we demonstrated how to use three of our ENGAGE Snapshots, the IDEA-funded 2- to 5-minute videos that convey clear mes- sages, sound data, and stunning visuals in a concise format. These snapshots, about critical family planning, reproductive health, and gender issues, can be used to draw leaders, colleagues, advocates, and students into critical conversations about development in their countries.

And on the last day of the conference, PRB conducted a two-hour small-group capacity-building session, “Train the Trainers: Advancing Advocacy Using PRB’s ENGAGE Presentations.” This session focused on how to use and present multimedia ENGAGE presentations effectively to promote policy discussion on how family planning contributes to development in the areas of poverty reduction, gender equality, child survival, youth, and the environment. Participants acquired skills to effectively deliver the presentations and create action plans for their local settings.

Women’s Edition Goes to Malaysia

In May, PRB’s media team brought 11 journalists participating in its Women’s Edition (WE) program to Malaysia for the group’s second seminar, which focused on the Women Deliver conference. In addition to covering the conference, the group visited some of the country’s reproductive health projects and discussed their own successes and challenges since their inaugural seminar in November 2012. The journalists represented Benin, Ghana, India, Kenya, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Uganda, and Zambia. One of the WE reporters from India was among the estimated 150 journalists who received scholarships from the conference organizers. Among those scholarship winners were six WE alumnae, including one who participated when the project started in 1994.

The conference gave the journalists plenty of stories to cover and ideas to pursue when they returned home. During and immediately after the conference, the journalists produced more than 20 stories. And PRB’s media training received a vote of confidence at one of the conference sessions when a former WE member serving as a panelist was asked for an example of effective media training. She said PRB provides support and training but also enables reporters and media houses to do their own independent reporting with no editorial strings attached.

On the days before and after the conference, PRB organized site visits for the journalists to see reproductive health care in Kuala Lumpur. One of the highlights of the week was a One-Stop Crisis Centre (OSCC) for survivors of violence and abuse at the Hospital Kuala Lumpur. This center was the first of what are now 200 OSCCs in hospitals across the country, and the model has been replicated in other Asian countries. They also visited a teen café offering adolescent-friendly services, a family planning clinic, and an infertility clinic.

Media Activities in Africa

In addition to the Women’s Edition seminar, PRB sponsored about a dozen other activities for journalists in several African countries with funding from USAID missions and the Africa Bureau. In Malawi, we held three workshops for journalists—one in each region of the country—on Malawi’s “youth bulge” and the challenges it poses for the country’s future. Through presentations and site visits during the three-day workshop, the journalists looked at the role that education can play in Malawi’s development.

In Tanzania, education was one of the topics presented to journalists during a workshop that introduced them to the concept of a “demographic dividend”—the economic bonus that can result from rapid fertility decline along with investments in health, education, and good governance.

The demographic dividend was also introduced to editors in Senegal. At a day-long discussion, 10 editors-in-chief learned about the national family planning action plan and its role in strengthening the country’s economic development, and the discussion elicited participants’ ideas about covering these issues. Those editors then chose 10 journalists to participate in a two-day workshop where experts explained the finer points of the demographic dividend; the group also visited a nearby suburb where contraceptive use has increased significantly in recent years. Also in Senegal, PRB held a two-day workshop for 10 journalists from community radio stations located in and around Dakar to help them improve coverage of family planning and the national campaign.

In Benin, PRB sponsored two workshops to familiarize 32 journalists with reproductive health and family planning issues and how to cover them in print, radio, and online.

And in Kenya, where a devolved system of governance is taking shape, journalists in the western part of the country learned about ways in which the country’s growing population can affect life at the county level, including access to reproductive health care and family planning. The three-day workshop and study tour focused on the challenges counties are facing as well as innovative projects that can help improve access to health care.

Panel Addresses Child Marriage

On June 17, USAID and the IGWG’s Task Force on Gender-Based Violence, co-chaired by PRB, hosted “Vision, Innovation, and Action to Address Child Marriage” at the Woodrow Wilson Center (WWC).

With prominent speakers such as Carla Koppell, chief strategic officer at USAID, Jennifer Redner of the International Women’s Health Coalition, and Anju Malhotra of UNICEF, the first panel discussed policy priorities and changes needed to address child marriage. The second panel—Feven Tassew of CARE Ethiopia, Jeff Edmeades of the International Center for Research on Women, Patrick Crump of Save the Children, and Annabel Erulkar of Population Council—described ongoing programs targeting girls vulnerable to child marriage, as well as programs that support girls who are already married.

In addition to the panelists, who represented many organizations, this highly collaborative event was organized by PRB, CARE, and the Environmental Change and Security Program at WWC. The event attracted 170 attendees and an additional 70 who followed it on the web.

New Materials on Noncommunicable Diseases

Two new PRB publications address the topic of noncommunicable diseases in Latin America and the Caribbean with a special focus on youth. The data sheet, Noncommunicable Diseases in Latin America and the Caribbean: Youth Are Key to Prevention, created in partnership with PAHO, provides a
wealth of data for selected countries in Latin America and the Caribbean that document the prevalence of noncommunicable diseases, especially among the region’s youth.

An accompanying policy brief, Noncommunicable Diseases and Youth: A Critical Window of Opportunity for Latin America and the Caribbean, discusses how building a healthier future depends on effective interventions starting from a young age. The publications are available at: www.prb.org/Publications/Datasheets/2013/noncommunicable-diseases-latin-america-youth-datasheet.aspx/.

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

PopPov Conference in 2014

Preparations are underway for the Eighth Annual Research Conference on Population, Reproductive Health, and Economic Development to be held in Nairobi from Jan. 22-25, 2014. The conference is sponsored by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation as part of the Population and Poverty Research Initiative (PopPov), hosted by PopPov’s Secretariat, the Population Reference Bureau, and hosted locally by the African Population and Health Research Center. Prominent scientists from around the world will share ongoing and completed research on population, reproductive health, and economic development. More information on the conference can be found at: http://poppov.org/PopPovConferences/8thAnnualPopPovConference.aspx.

Research Dissemination

PRB staff presented a poster at the Population Association of America’s annual conference in April. The poster provided an overview of PopPov and its research findings relevant to the major areas of analysis within the network—macro-level analyses and micro-level or behavioral analyses. The poster was based on the forthcoming State of PopPov report, which will draw on selected findings from PopPov research results most pertinent to the questions outlined by the Center for Global Development’s expert working group.

New interviews with researchers and partners from the PopPov Network have been posted on the PopPov website. PRB staff interviewed Jan Monteverde Haakonsen, special adviser in the Department of Cooperation and Development Research at the Research Council of Norway (RCN) about RCN’s role in the PopPov research initiative. They also spoke with several researchers supported through RCN’s ECONPOP initiative. Anne Kielland spoke about her project on the roles of children in household risk-management strategies in rural Senegal and Benin. She discussed her research methodology and survey strategy, along with findings regarding the effect of poverty on child mobility. Researchers An-Magritt Jensen and Anne Khasakhala also talked to PRB staff about their project on fertility and poverty in two areas in Kenya. They highlighted findings regarding spousal communication and fertility intentions and some of the policy implications of their research.

In addition, Véronique Filippi discussed her research on severe obstetric complications in Burkina Faso. This project, supported by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council, followed women who had experienced near-fatal (“near-miss”) complications during childbirth up to four years after delivery, and documented the socioeconomic and health consequences of having a complicated childbirth.

Read more about the researchers and listen to their interviews at: www.poppov.org/Research/ResearcherInterviews.aspx.

Health Policy Project (USAID)

Family Planning Advocacy Toolkit

On July 11, a new Family Planning Advocacy Toolkit was published by the Knowledge for Health (K4H) Project. PRB played a pivotal role in developing the design and content for the toolkit through the Health Policy Project. The Family Planning Advocacy Toolkit provides advocates at all levels, including international, national, and community leaders, with the information and tools they need to make the case for improved access to voluntary family planning. The toolkit contains a carefully selected collection of state-of-the-art information and tools for effective family planning advocacy at all levels. Several PRB publications related to family planning advocacy including relevant ENGAGE presentations are highlighted within the resources of the website. Download the toolkit at: www.k4health.org/toolkits/family-planning-advocacy.

Workshop With Afghanistan’s Gender Directorate, Ministry of Public Health

In April, PRB conducted a two-day monitoring and evaluation workshop with the Gender Directorate of the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) and Gender Team of the Health Policy Project, Afghanistan. This activity was carried out under the Health Policy Project to encourage better use of gender-sensitive data within the MOPH. The topics covered during these two days included an overview on monitoring, designing a monitoring plan, data demand and use, stakeholder analysis, frameworks (focusing on conceptual frameworks and logic models), characteristics of good indicators and different types of indicators, as well as common data sources and data collection methods. The team used the skills they learned by applying them to their specific activities, as well
as performing many monitoring exercises. The workshop was followed by a day-long training by the Health Management Information System (HMIS) department on how to use the HMIS data. This training brought two departments within the MOPH together, thus improving inter-institutional relationships and sharing of data.

Ford Foundation/Cairo


Ending Child Marriage in the Arab Region

A new PRB policy brief, Ending Child Marriage in the Arab Region, presents the latest data on child marriage in the region and explains how ending child marriage would help countries achieve their Millennium Development Goals that aim to combat poverty and improve health and quality of life for all. The brief is available at www.prb.org/Publications/PolicyBriefs/child-marriage-mena.aspx.

Findings from the policy brief were presented at an expert group meeting organized by the Doha International Family Institute. The meeting, “Protecting the Arab Family from Poverty: Employment, Social Integration and Intergenerational Solidarity,” was held June 2-3 in Doha, Qatar, and was convened as part of the preparations for the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family, in 2014.

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