AFP Fosters Locally-driven Advocacy For Family Planning

Advance Family Planning (AFP) took the 2016 International Conference on Family Planning’s theme of “Global Commitments, Local Actions” to heart by conducting a workshop for action-oriented advocacy entitled "Fostering Locally-Driven Advocacy for Family Planning." In the four days leading up to the conference, 22 family planning advocates from 14 countries learned about and applied AFP’s evidence-based, decision maker-centric advocacy approach to strengthen their local family planning efforts.

“In 2016, AFP plans to expand its evidence-based efforts and accelerate progress toward the Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) goal of reaching an additional 120 million women and girls with access to family planning,” said Duff Gillespie, Principal Investigator for AFP. “Strengthening the skills and effectiveness of family planning advocates—such as through this workshop—are crucial to this effort.”

Called AFP SMART, AFP’s advocacy approach has led to 150 advocacy “wins”—discrete policy or funding decisions—to advance family planning in 15 countries since 2009. Primarily a South-South learning event, the pre-conference workshop featured AFP partners from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya, Tanzania, and Indonesia and their experiences of supporting policy, budget, and visibility advocacy wins.

AFPWorkshop participants received hands-on technical assistance and mentorship as they were led through an AFP SMART facilitation to develop Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound objectives and draft action plans specific to their contexts. They also traveled to Karanganyar district in central Java to observe first-hand how advocacy can improve not only the political environment for family planning in local government but also quality of services delivered by local health staff. Karanganyar’s district head, working group members, and village family planning teams welcomed workshop participants and explained how they became family planning champions.

One participant commented, “The workshop has impacted me. [It] left me with a tool to focus my efforts in family planning advocacy without any room of diversion.” Going forward, AFP will continue to provide mentorship to participants as they apply evidence-based advocacy.

In addition to the workshop, in 2016 AFP is planning to expand into Bangladesh and deepen its reach within 9 focus countries (Burkina Faso, DRC, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda).