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), The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and The David and Lucile Packard Foundation

2012 World Population Data Sheet

This year we continued our successful launch strategy from 2011 to promote the World Population Data Sheet—a webinar instead of a press briefing, a new landing page (unique design from the rest of the site) for the data sheet’s release, an interactive map, a video, and outreach to organizations (especially media outlets) to use the data sheet’s graphics on their own websites.

The 2012 World Population Data Sheet was released on July 17, with the theme “Poor Countries Grow as Rich Countries Age.” The interactive map showed 17 demographic variables. Four factsheets focusing on world population trends, noncommunicable diseases, unmet need for family planning, and the decline in U.S. fertility were also released. We held a webinar on July 18, featuring Wendy Baldwin and Carl Haub. We had 98 people join the live presentation (from 17 countries), and 334 have viewed the recorded webinar thus far on PRB’s YouTube channel.

Wendy Baldwin narrated a short video on noncommunicable diseases and youth. Thus far, the video on noncommunicable diseases has been viewed 830 times; the Data Sheet has been downloaded 31,700 times (we still mail thousands of data sheets each year); and the data sheet landing page has been viewed 46,000 times. The world map and its pages have been viewed 186,100 times; and the four factsheets have been viewed 5,500 times.

IDEA Project (USAID)

ENGAGE Presentation on Malawi TV

To commemorate World Population Day (July 11), PRB produced a television program for broadcast in Malawi showcasing the multimedia ENGAGE presentation—Malawi: Investing in Our Future Now. The presentation was developed by a national task force hosted by the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development’s Population Unit and the Ministry of Health’s Reproductive Health Unit. The video is designed to engage audiences in understanding the importance of integrating population issues in development planning across multiple sectors and to highlight family planning as a key strategy to address the pace of population growth. The television program also included a talk-show component with leaders from different sectors: government, development partners, local nongovernmental organizations, and the religious community, who expanded on some of the issues highlighted in the multimedia presentation.

Malawi’s vice president provided a supportive statement that was included in the broadcast. The subsequent airdates were scheduled to honor Malawi’s celebration of World Population Day on July 25, and World Youth Day on Aug. 12. A Chichewa version of the presentation was aired as a “documentary” on national television on July 25 and Aug. 12.

London Summit on Family Planning: Getting the Word Out

With funding from USAID under the IDEA project, PRB has worked with its cadre of Women’s Edition journalists to encourage and support supplements that spread the messages from the July 2012 London Summit on Family Planning to their own countries.

Two special newspaper supplements have been published in major Ugandan newspapers—The Observer and New Vision—and one in The Nation in Malawi. Each multipage pull-out highlights the pledges made in support of family planning by senior political leaders at the summit: Ugandan President Yoweri Musevini and Malawi’s Vice President and Minister of Health Khumbo Kachali.

The two Ugandan Women’s Edition alumnae who spearheaded these special sections, Cathy Mwesigwa, deputy editor of New Vision, and Shifa Mwesigye, senior health reporter for The Observer, used the opportunity to promote transparency and government accountability on this important issue, and to focus on various aspects of family planning, including barriers and opportunities. A third supplement prepared by Women’s Edition alumna Edyth Kambalame, features editor at The Nation in Malawi, covered her country’s commitments and the impacts that rapid population growth are having, especially on women. A special radio program by a Rwandan Women’s Edition alumna will be aired soon.

PRB Speaks to African Union Commission

In September, Jay Gribble, vice president of International Programs at PRB, spoke to the African Union Commission’s meeting for Ministers Responsible for Youth on the demographic dividend. The meeting was held in Addis Ababa. Gribble was the lead speaker at the meeting’s first session, and focused his comments on the importance of family planning, coupled with health, education, governance, and economic policies as the pathway to achieving a demographic dividend. The ministers and other participants at the meeting were interested to learn more about the demographic dividend; most of them had heard the term but were not clear about what it meant or how to take advantage of this window of opportunity.

25 Years of Policy Fellows

During the first two weeks of August, the 2012-2013 Policy Communication Fellows filled the conference rooms of PRB with lively conversations about family planning and reproductive health research and policy implications. This year’s 12 Fellows hail from nine countries on three continents (India, Bangladesh, Philippines, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Zambia, Kenya, and Peru) and mark the 25th anniversary of the Policy Fellows program at PRB.

Although the program has changed over time, a few core pieces remain the same: The program has always begun with a two-week workshop at PRB during the summer; a shorter one- or two-day workshop in conjunction with the Population Association of America annual meeting in the spring; mentorship from PRB staff through the year; and a strong focus on writing for policy audiences.

Tom Merrick, past PRB president and one of the few people who has been involved with the program since its inception, says another thing has remained true through the years: The “Ah-ha!” moment, when it suddenly becomes clear to participants how much the audience matters, and that their approach to communicating their results must be different for a policy audience. Participants wrote blog posts about their experiences:

HoPE-LVB Project Presented to Ugandan MPs

On Aug. 21, the Ugandan Population Secretariat, together with the World Bank and Partners in Population and Development, sponsored a breakfast meeting for Ugandan Parliamentarians in Kampala. Grace Nagendi, director of the Health of People and the Environment-Lake Victoria Basin (HoPE-LVB) project, was invited to give a presentation introducing the members of Parliament to the project. PRB staff created a modifiable PowerPoint presentation on the HoPE-LVB project and worked with Nagendi to adapt the presentation to fit the audience, goals, and timing of this meeting. The presentation was well-received and the MPs asked interesting questions such as how to become champions for the project, could the project be scaled up in their districts, and could they meet with project leadership for further discussion. HoPE-LVB has been invited to present at a similar meeting in Kenya.

Pakistani NGA Works With the Media

Adnan Khan, a participant from the “Training NGOs to Work With the Media” workshop at the 2011 International Conference on Family Planning in Senegal, has been putting his training into action. He recently shared an article that was printed in the newspaper International: The News in Pakistan in July, in which the head of his organization, Research and Development Solutions (RDS), was interviewed in the article, “Story of Failures: Pakistan Poor Health Indicators Call for No Celebration as the World Population Day Approaches.” Since the workshop in Senegal, RDS has been working closely with two senior journalists who want to write about social issues. RDS supplies them with material and reliable sources and data. RDS has also recently begun working with a journalism school to provide a mini-fellowship for in-school and early career journalists. RDS conducts a workshop to train these journalists on how to report on social issues relevant to Pakistan, including family planning. The trainees then work with the two senior journalists to begin reporting.

New Policy Briefs on Diverse Topics

PRB published two policy briefs addressing issues critical to population and development. When Technology and Tradition Collide: From Gender Bias to Sex Selection focuses on the motivations and mechanisms behind the increase of sex selection; outlines regions and countries that have skewed sex ratios at birth; and explores the negative social, economic, and development effects on individuals, communities, societies, and countries.

The Challenge of Attaining the Demographic Dividend explains the connection between the demographic dividend and investments in voluntary family planning; highlights Africa’s particular challenge in achieving the demographic dividend; and underscores the investments in health, education, and gender equity, as well as subsequent economic policies, that are needed to take advantage of this window of opportunity.

UNFPA/Arab States Regional Office

Cairo Workshop

In support of UNFPA’s mandate to strengthen sexual and reproductive rights and health in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and in response to the needs expressed by a number of countries on strengthening their capacities to communicate about reproductive health, PRB and UNFPA/Arab States Regional Office facilitated a seven-day policy communication workshop in Cairo. This workshop was the second in the successful collaboration between UNFPA and PRB and welcomed 15 participants from Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, and Iraq. The workshop helped participants identify the policy implications of survey data and research findings, especially related to family planning and reproductive health, and learn skills for data dissemination and communication. To achieve these goals, PRB staff tailored the materials, exercises, readings, and handouts to focus on family planning and reproductive health.

The participants represented a variety of institutions: NGOs, ministries of health, academic organizations and universities, and UNFPA country offices. Workshop highlights included an enthusiastic group discussion about the assumptions between researchers and policymakers; a lively interactive session with participants delivering a 60-second elevator speech to a “minister”; a hands-on training exercise to improve the skills of the participants to design effective PowerPoint slides and visuals; the creation of country-specific policy briefs about family planning or reproductive health; and an individual policy presentation from each workshop participant. Throughout the workshop, participants expressed their gratitude and enthusiasm for what they were learning. Many participants inquired whether it would be possible to conduct the same workshop in their own home country. PRB and UNFPA anticipate that the participants will continue to work on their country-level policy briefs during the course of the next year. In addition, some participants intend to use their individual policy presentations at upcoming events such as the International Day of the Girl Child.

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

New PopPov Research Briefs Published

Under the PopPov dissemination and communication strategy, PRB recently published the research brief Beyond Maternal Mortality: Surviving an Obstetric Complication in Burkina Faso. Globally, the number of maternal deaths has decreased by nearly one-half over the past two decades. However, there are still adverse consequences for women experiencing near-fatal complications during pregnancy or childbirth. This brief summarizes findings from one study that qualitatively examines how some women in Burkina Faso fared after such “near miss” life-threatening experiences.

Additional briefs were also published on examining the costs of induced abortion and the cost-effectiveness of providing universal access to contraception in Uganda; analyzing the effect of an increase in contraceptive prices on demand for family planning in Indonesia; and examining the associations between reproductive health, fertility, and economic outcomes for women living in the urban area of Accra, Ghana. These four briefs showcase key findings from recent PopPov studies and are posted at