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)
Population Conference in Malawi
PRB assisted the government of Malawi in planning and facilitating Malawi’s first national leaders’ conference on Family Planning, Population and Development. Khumbo Kachali, vice president and minister of health, opened the conference, and Halima Daug, the deputy minister of health, officiated its closing. Government officials; traditional, religious, and youth leaders; NGO workers; and development partners attended the conference, which focused on repositioning family planning beyond a health issue into a sustainable socioeconomic development strategy. A communique was produced at the end of the two-day meeting in which the 340 delegates agreed on a number of goals, including ensuring that the revised National Population Policy is approved and implemented to guide work on family planning and population issues.
During the conference, PRB launched a multimedia ENGAGE presentation “Malawi: Investing in Our Future Now,” developed in collaboration with a national task force led by the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development’s population unit and the Ministry of Health’s reproductive health unit; a population primer that examines how population issues relate to seven of the priorities in Malawi’s Growth and Development Strategy; and a Malawi 2012 Population Data Sheet. A member of the Malawi ENGAGE task force received a message from the vice president and minister of health stating that he had enjoyed the presentation (which was screened after the vice president’s opening remarks on the first day of the conference).
Women’s Edition Visits Indonesia
Indonesia, which has one of the most successful family planning programs in the developing world, was the site of the latest media training by PRB, under the USAID-funded IDEA project. Graduated from USAID’s family planning program in 2006 because of its achievements, Indonesia was a stimulating environment for the PRB media team and the 10 Women’s Edition journalists from India, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Uganda. The week-long seminar in early June gave the journalists many story ideas and lessons to take back to their own countries—traveling around the country speaking with leaders from Indonesia’s family planning agency and Muslim organizations, visiting contraceptive research and manufacturing facilities, and learning about the groundbreaking midwives program.
The central lessons included the critical role that political will has played in Indonesia’s success, the supportive role of religious groups in the country’s fertility decline, and how a country can turn its large demand for family planning into a commercial enterprise. The journalists’ interest was especially piqued by a day spent with university researchers in Surabaya who are developing a nonhormonal male contraceptive pill from a native plant. This study tour was the final of four seminars for this group of journalists. This summer, PRB will select a new group of 12 to 14 senior-level women journalists from influential media houses in developing countries to participate in the next two-year program.
Family Planning and Gender Equality: Partners in Development
PRB’s latest ENAGE multimedia presentation, “Family Planning and Gender Equality: Partners in Development,” makes the case that in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of reducing poverty by 2015, both family planning and gender equality must be taken into account. Using data and graphics to explain the related roles of family planning and gender equality in achieving development goals, the presentation aims to reposition family planning as a priority on policy agendas in sub-Saharan Africa. Organizations that work in the region will find this tool useful in mobilizing political policy audiences, including government policymakers, civic and religious leaders, health-sector leaders, program officials, family planning and gender advocates, and journalists.
This ENGAGE presentation, funded by USAID under the IDEA project, is available in two formats—with and without narration—and is designed to be used by advocates in a variety of settings and meetings to build commitment for family planning and gender equality. The presentation can be streamed or downloaded from the PRB website or requested as a CD-ROM. A presentation guide is available to provide facilitators with skills to effectively use and discuss data in the presentation.
NGOs Learn to Work With the Media
In April, PRB organized and facilitated the workshop, “Training NGOs to Work with the Media,” in Nairobi, Kenya, and Kampala, Uganda. The workshop gave staff from local nongovernmental organizations a better understanding of what the media is and how it applies to their work; clarified the messages they want to communicate to the media; and built the confidence of participants to approach journalists and advocate for their work and mission through the media. Participants were also given the opportunity to test their interview skills during a mock press conference. A total of 30 participants attended both trainings from a variety of local NGOs working in reproductive health, HIV, emergency relief, youth development, and maternal and child health programming. The evaluation results suggest that the workshop was successful and a valuable learning opportunity.
As an outcome of the workshop, a number of participants have disseminated press releases to local media houses. Two participants have been interviewed in the press to address issues around maternal health and youth development and one participant is now a regular blog writer for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s website, Impatient Optimists.
Policy Communication Fellows
Fellows in PRB’s 2011-2012 Policy Communication Fellows program concluded their year of activities with a two-day workshop prior to the Population Association of America’s annual meeting in May in San Francisco. The 11 Fellows made formal policy presentations, based on their research, that were discussed and critiqued by an expert panel.
At a two-week workshop held at PRB in August 2011, the Fellows received training in a variety of techniques to communicate research findings to policy audiences, including how to identify the policy implications of their research, tailor the message to the audience, communicate more effectively with the media, and give a formal policy presentation. Over the past nine months, the Fellows have applied these lessons to carry out research and prepare three policy briefs. The next class of Fellows will begin in August 2012.
Abuse During Pregnancy and Delivery
In honor of Mother’s Day, the Gender-Based Violence Task Force of the Interagency Gender Working Group (IGWG), which PRB co-chairs, held an event on May 10, “Maternal Health and Gender-Based Violence: Research on and Responses to Service Provider Abuse in Childbirth and Intimate Partner Violence During Pregnancy,” at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The event drew 75 participants and featured two panels: an overview of intimate partner violence during pregnancy and of service provider abuse during labor and delivery; and ongoing interventions and approaches, highlighting work with health service providers in Peru and Kenya. PRB produced a short video with panelist interviews for the IGWG website: www.igwg.org/Events/maternalhealthmay2012event.aspx.
Study Tour Generates Media Coverage
In March, PRB supported a Population, Health, and Environment media study tour organized by Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) in Bwindi, Uganda. Following the study, feature stories were published in three major Ugandan newspapers: New Vision, Daily Monitor, and the Observer. Here is a sampling of the stories: “Family planning reduces death among Batwa”; “Recycled fish pond water good for vegetable growing”; and “Family planning gains ground in Kanungu district.”
The work of CTPH was also featured in several television news items on local broadcast channels, plus a radio feature on Kinkizi FM. Additionally, the Uganda Health Communications Alliance online newsletter, “Health Reporter,” with a readership of over 1,000 members, made the event the lead story.
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
PopPov Conference in 2013
Preparations are underway for the Seventh Annual Conference on Population, Reproductive Health, and Economic Development, to be held in Oslo, Norway, from Jan. 23-26, 2013. The annual conference is jointly hosted by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, PRB, the Institute of International Education (IIE), the Research Council of Norway (RCN), and the Fafo Research Foundation, and will bring together prominent scientists from around the world to share ongoing and completed research on population, reproductive health, and economic development.
Research Proposals Under Review
In collaboration with the Hewlett Foundation, PRB issued a call for proposals jointly with the NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Development in the Netherlands, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC, UK), and RCN. The aim of the joint call is to support high-quality scientific research that strengthens the evidence base for policy and practice on how population and reproductive health affect poverty and how investing in those areas might contribute to reducing poverty and fostering economic development and equity. Final decision awards will be made by Sept. 30, 2012.
Preview of PopPov Research Briefs
Under the PopPov dissemination and communication strategy, PRB is developing a series of research briefs in order to showcase key findings from recent PopPov studies. Briefs are currently being prepared for a study examining the costs of induced abortion and the cost-effectiveness of providing universal access to contraception in Uganda; a study analyzing the effect of an increase in contraceptive prices on demand for family planning in Indonesia; and a study examining findings from interviews with women who nearly died of pregnancy-related complications in Burkina Faso. The briefs will be posted on the PopPov website, www.poppov.org.
UNFPA/Arab States Regional Office
A new policy brief examines women’s need for family planning in Arab countries, drawing from national surveys of married women conducted over the past 10 years by the Pan Arab Project for Family Health and the Demographic and Health Surveys. The brief also describes why countries should work to reduce unmet need for family planning by addressing both the demand for and supply of family planning services. Governments and nongovernmental organizations can help remove social and economic barriers to using family planning, expand coverage of family planning services, and improve the quality of information and services.