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)
E-Forum: Youth, and Policy Change
To build on the tremendous youth presence and energy at the 2013 International Conference on Family Planning, and keep global attention focused on youth sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), PRB proposed and then participated in a post-conference online discussion forum for youth. Hosted by the IYWG and drawing in young people and partners from Pathfinder, Advance Family Planning, the Summit Foundation, PSI, the International Youth Alliance for Family Planning, and others, this e-forum proved to be the IYWG’s most heavily attended webinar.
The forum provided an opportunity for participants to join the discussion by identifying outcomes and opportunities related to policy and youth SRHR that emerged from the 2013 conference. The discussion also included the role of policies in programming and how young people can become involved in the policy change process, as well as how to continue the momentum.
The e-forum is archived at: www.iywg.org/content/e-forum-archive-following-through-2013-icfp-youth-srhr-and-policy-change.
FGM/C Zero Tolerance Day
PRB joined USAID in commemorating Feb. 6, 2014, the 11th anniversary of the first International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation. PRB’s virtual event included the launch of two new publications. Ending Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: Lessons From a Decade of Progress, pulls together the lessons learned from the last decade and crafts a roadmap for how to strengthen future programs to end the practice. The PRB data sheet, Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: Data and Trends Update 2014, contains the latest information available on the practice. This update of PRB’s
2010 wallchart shows that FGM/C is still present in at least 29 developing countries.
Both publications were highlighted on USAID’s Zero Tolerance Day web page. In addition, PRB’s virtual event included an infographic showing key data and trends from the data sheet. The materials are available at: www.prb.org/Events/2014/zero-day-tolerance-fgm.aspx.
A Decade of Research on Domestic Violence in Urban India
On March 10, 2014, the Gender-Based Violence Task Force of the Interagency Gender Working Group hosted a seminar by Suneeta Krishnan,
a social epidemiologist at RTI International and adjunct professor at St. John’s Research Institute. Through a decade of research in urban disadvantaged neighborhoods of Bengaluru, India, Krishnan has documented the prevalence, correlates, and impacts of domestic violence on women’s health. In partnership with the municipal government and local nongovernmental organizations, she is developing and testing interventions addressing domestic violence in primary health care, at workplaces, and through the mobilization of women’s self-help groups. She discussed the Soukhya Project, the municipal primary health system’s response to domestic violence; their recently launched work with women’s self-help groups; and her work with a workplace gender equity and health promotion initiative called “Nammagaagi Naave,” which translates as “It’s our life, It’s our responsibility.”
It is becoming more widely recognized that integrating a gender perspective into international development programs (even those not specifically focused on gender) can enhance program outcomes. What receives less attention is the value of applying a gender perspective to the internal operations and culture of the organizations that implement those programs. To begin to address this, on March 31, 2014, PRB convened a group of experts for a half-day consultation on strategies and challenges to increasing gender equality within international development organizations.
Prior to the consultation, a survey was distributed through the Interagency Gender Working Group listserv to assess the current status of gender integration within its member organizations. Next steps include producing a paper that will synthesize experiences, good practices, and lessons learned for organizations that are interested or in the very early stages of promoting gender equality within their organizations.
Malawi Community Radio Workshop Reaches Youth
Four community radio stations in Malawi are combining their newfound technical skills and knowledge of population to help their listeners understand the consequences of rapid population growth. PRB, along with consultants from Development Radio Partners, sponsored two workshops for staff from the four stations (in November 2013 and March 2014). In the months between the workshops, the stations produced 56 programs on such topics as conservation farming, the importance of prenatal care, child sex abuse, family planning, and the need to keep girls in school.
Another part of the project trains students from schools near two of the stations to produce radio programs on issues important to their peers. So far, 30 students have been trained in basic computer skills, interviewing techniques, digital editing, and storytelling; and they have received information on issues that affect them directly, including early marriage, teen pregnancy, and school dropout. In March, the young team in Nkhotakota District began producing and airing a 30-minute radio program called “Let’s Talk for Change” on Nkhotakota Community Radio Station every Saturday, with support and mentoring from the station’s staff.
Uganda Radio Net Work Meets With District Officials
Staff from 20 Uganda Radio Network stations across the country gathered in Kampala for a workshop that included exchanges with district health officers and other district representatives responsible for reproductive health. The head of the network reported that this interaction succeeded in improving communications between the health and media communities, which will also improve news reporting and programs. The workshop also served as another distribution channel for a PRB-sponsored edition of a magazine called The Health Digest, produced by Ugandan journalists who reported on reproductive health from a policy perspective. PRB’s program director for international media training and a consultant mentored the journalists and helped to edit the publication, which has been distributed countrywide.
Workshops for Malawi Journalists
In February and March, PRB sponsored workshops for journalists in three regions of Malawi on gender and family planning, including strategies that can encourage men to discuss family planning with their wives. The workshops were held in Lilongwe in the central region of the country, Blantyre in the south, and Mzuzu in the north. Fifteen to 20 journalists participated in each workshop, and they produced a variety of stories on topics ranging from myths about vasectomy to the number of lives that could be saved by avoiding unintended pregnancies. All workshops included presentations by reproductive health experts and male-engagement leaders, as well as site visits that gave the journalists an opportunity to see successful projects and talk to people influenced by them.
New E-Bulletin for African Journalists
PRB has launched monthly e-bulletins for journalists in sub-Saharan Africa to update them on reproductive health research and reports. The bulletins summarize the latest reports and studies and provide links to Internet sites where they can be accessed. An English-language bulletin, African Development Insider, provides information relevant to Anglophone countries in western, eastern, and southern Africa; and another e-bulletin targets journalists in Francophone West Africa.
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
PopPov Conference in Nairobi
The Eighth Annual PopPov Conference on Population, Reproductive Health, and Economic Development was held Jan.
22-25, 2014, in Nairobi. The conference was co-sponsored by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, PRB, and the African Population Health and Research Center (APHRC). Ninety researchers and policymakers from sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, the United States, and South Asia attended the conference, where they discussed ongoing research on topics ranging from the employment consequences of a woman’s reproductive history to the effect of changes in population age structure on youth unemployment.
Both the keynote speaker, Jotham Musinguzi, and a panel spoke about the potential for a demographic dividend in Africa. The panelists included John May, PRB; Eliya Zulu, the African Institute for Development Policy; Jane Kiringai, World Bank; and Alex Ezeh, APHRC. One common message from these speakers was the need to assess the trajectory of individual countries.
A summary of the conference, including the agenda and abstracts of papers, can be found on the PopPov website, www.poppov.org.
PopPov Research Findings
PRB recently published Investigating Elements of a Population, Poverty, and Reproductive Health Research Agenda, which provides an overview of the PopPov Research Initiative and research findings relevant to the major areas of analysis within the network—macro-level analyses and micro-level or behavioral analyses. This report draws selected findings from PopPov research results most pertinent to the questions outlined by the Center for Global Development’s expert working group in their 2005 report. The full report and its appendices can be found at www.poppov.org/Background/About.aspx.
French Translations of PRB Materials
Using its international mailing list for Francophone West Africa, PRB recently distributed French translations of the PRB Population Bulletin on the demographic dividend as well as a compilation of articles on family planning and contraceptive use in West Africa. Announcements about these and other French articles were sent to several relevant listservs, and will help to increase PRB’s French email list for future products—recipients can send an email to email@example.com to be added to the list. These activities were undertaken as part of the Hewlett Translation Initiative, which aims to provide French speakers in West and Central Africa with access to materials that highlight population, reproductive health, and family planning.
Cairo Policy Communication Workshop
In January 2014, PRB facilitated a five-day policy communication workshop in Cairo on the theme of reproductive health. The nine participants represented researchers from universities, NGOs, and government agencies in the capital.
The participants came to the workshop with a set of expectations: to learn how to communicate with policymakers, how to write a policy brief, and how to transform their research results into language that a policymaker can understand. Through a post-workshop evaluation, the participants reported that they learned new verbal and written skills to communicate with policymakers. Many stated that they now feel they have more skills to write a policy brief, and to deliver their messages to policymakers.
Interactive Map on Status of Youth in Sub-Saharan Africa
Working with UNFPA, PRB expanded the data and features
of its existing interactive map for youth in sub-Saharan Africa: updating existing indicators with new data, adding trend data for selected indicators, adding five new indicators, and adding trend graphs for selected countries and indicators. The map, in English and French, can be found on PRB’s website: www.prb.org/Publications/Reports/2014/status-report-youth. aspx#/map/population.