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.

New Vice President, International Programs, at PRB

Susan Rich was appointed vice president of International Programs at the Population Reference Bureau, effective Aug. 15, 2013, and will also serve as director of the USAID-funded IDEA project. Rich brings a wealth of experience with her deep and varied background in reproductive health, as well as a commitment to reaching policymakers with sound data and evidence. Most recently, she led the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Program in Family Planning/Reproductive Health and was instrumental in shaping the strategic initiatives to address the need for contraception in low-income countries. Prior to her work at the foundation, she led the program on Women and Population at the UN Foundation, strengthening programs on reproductive health supplies, HIV/AIDS, adolescent girls, and advocacy for the ICPD Programme of Action. And as a director of special projects at the Wallace Global Fund, she managed a broad portfolio that included early marriage, female genital mutilation, and other aspects of international health.

Rich has a bachelor’s in anthropology from Boston University; and a master’s in African area studies and a master’s in public health in population, family, and international health, both from the University of California, Los Angeles. She conducted her field research with traditional midwives in Nigeria. She is widely known for her ability to bring population issues into the global dialogue among researchers, policymakers, funders, and others.

IDEA Project (USAID), The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and The David and Lucile Packard Foundation

2013 World Population Data Sheet

This year we released the World Population Data Sheet on Sept. 12, and held a webinar on Sept. 13. We used several dissemination strategies for the data sheet’s release: an interactive map, a new interactive infographic, interactive graphics, and outreach to organizations (especially media outlets). Wendy Baldwin and Carl Haub co-hosted the webinar; 85 attendees came from 17 countries (Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Malawi, Nepal, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States, and Vietnam). The 2013 webinar was recorded and is now online ( sheet/webinar.aspx).

IDEA Project

Contributing to Journalism Education in Malawi

In August, PRB facilitated a curriculum review for the Malawi Institute of Journalism (MIJ) to update the courses and integrate population and development into some of the curricula. Malawi’s rapidly growing population is an important challenge to the country’s development, and the college wants to ensure that its students understand these issues and how to report on them. For several days before the review began, PRB led discussions with the heads of the leading media houses, both print and broadcast, to learn about the gaps in journalism education in the country and the competencies that media houses want to see in entry-level reporters.

Nineteen individuals participated in the intensive five-day review, including MIJ managers and tutors, managing editors of the largest newspaper and a top radio station, and department heads from Malawi’s other journalism school at the Polytechnic, which is a constituent college of the University
of Malawi. MIJ offers a one-year certificate and a two-year diploma, and many of its graduates later enroll at the Polytechnic to earn a four-year bachelor’s degree in journalism.

By the end of the week, the review team had compiled a list of skills and knowledge that MIJ students will achieve under the new curriculum, developed a list of the required courses that will meet those competencies, and wrote syllabi for four of those courses. Population and development reporting was integrated into many of the courses, and PRB will help MIJ prepare tutors to teach these issues as well as to develop course material and assignments for them to use. The new curriculum is to begin in January 2014.

Policy Fellows

During the first two weeks of August, the 2013-2014 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 11 fellows hail from nine countries (India, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia, Uganda, Malawi, and Palestine). Unlike past years, the majority of this year’s participants attend universities in developing and middle-income countries, from Jimma University in Ethiopia to the International Institute for Population Sciences in India.

Although the program has changed since it began 26 years ago, a few core pieces remain the same: The program has always started 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.

This year, Fellows had the opportunity to meet with Jeremy Shiffman, whose work has long influenced the model of policy change that forms the foundation of the workshop curriculum. Fellows read the article “Generating Political Priority for Neonatal Mortality Reduction in Bangladesh,” which provides a glimpse into a recent instance of policy change in Bangladesh. The Fellows also had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Uzma Sayed, a Bangladeshi physician who played a prominent role in drawing policymakers’ attention to newborn survival in Bangladesh. Shiffman and Sayed provided the Fellows a valuable opportunity to learn from an effective policy champion, and to carry these lessons into their future policy communication.

HoPE-LVB Policy Communication and ENGAGE Presentation

PRB is supporting activities to get the message out about the Health of People and the Environment (HoPE-LVB) project and the integrated population, health, and environment (PHE) approach to decisionmakers at many levels. In September, community-level PHE champions at project sites in Kenya and Uganda were trained to promote the successes of HoPE-LVB using PRB-created talking points. PHE champions, project staff, and other community members spoke with radio, television, and print journalists during media study tours to project sites in both Uganda and Kenya, resulting in a TV station and four radio stations in Uganda, and a TV station and five radio stations in Kenya airing stories about HoPE-LVB in their prime-time or evening news.

At the regional level, participants from the East, Central, and Southern African (ECSA) Health Community learned about HoPE-LVB and PHE from presentations at the ECSA Best Practices Conference plenary and preconference workshop in Arusha, Tanzania. HoPE-LVB staff showed the HoPE-LVB
ENGAGE multimedia presentation and delivered presentations created with technical assistance from PRB. A recommendation for supporting PHE activities will be presented to the Council of Ministers for their adoption in February. Meanwhile, in Nairobi, HoPE-LVB project director Lucy Shillingi showed the ENGAGE presentation to senior officials and secretaries of the Kenyan ministries of Health, Environment, Water Resources, Planning, and East Africa Community Affairs, resulting in a recommendation that the Lake Victoria Basin Commission prepare a concept paper establishing a Regional Policy Steering Committee on PHE.

Outreach Activities in Kenya Reveal Emerging Issues

Between July and September, Kenya’s National Council for Population and Development conducted widespread outreach to stakeholders of several counties throughout the country. Meetings were held to solicit stakeholder input on the Adolescent Reproductive Health and Development (ARHD) policy revisions, to disseminate two ENGAGE presentations, “Kenya Leading the Way” and “Kenya’s Key: Investing in Young People,” and to publicize the new Population Policy for National Development.

Since 2010, the ENGAGE multimedia presentation “Kenya Leading the Way” has been shown throughout the country 77 times in 36 counties (see map:

Attendance at these four ARHD stakeholder meetings and two population policy mobilization meetings included representatives from national and county governments and civil society organizations, including youth representatives. Input from participants revealed several emerging issues throughout the counties visited, including rural-urban disparities, unmet need for family planning, and male involvement.

New Resource, ‘Contraceptive Evidence’

Rumors and incomplete information continue to spread and inhibit clients from making an informed choice and accessing a contraceptive method that works for them. It is the goal of our newest resource, Contraceptive Evidence: Questions and Answers, to help women and men choose a method based on scientific evidence rather than rumors; and to assist policymakers, program managers, and providers in filling those needs. Read online:

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

New Project Increases Information for West and Central Africa

With support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, PRB is working to provide French speakers in West and Central Africa with additional access to materials that highlight population, reproductive health, and family planning issues. In addition, this activity intends to increase access to the translated materials through print and electronic channels; and to provide periodic alerts to funding opportunities for research and fellowships, networking opportunities, events, tips on how to communicate research findings, and a variety of research and data analysis tools disseminated and accessible online in French. Upon receiving the grant, PRB began work immediately to translate materials for distribution at the upcoming International Conference on Family Planning to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in November 2013. To read more about the project, visit: