Nigerian woman and baby

Cross River State and Lagos State in Nigeria allocated 362 million Nigerian Naira (NGN) (US $999,000) to family planning for the 2019 financial year. Advance Family Planning (AFP) partner Pathfinder Nigeria led the advocacy process in collaboration with local advocacy working groups (AWGs) to build a compelling case for investment. These budget allocations move Nigeria closer to the Family Planning 2020 pledge to achieve a modern contraceptive prevalence rate (mCPR) of 27% among all women by the year 2020 [1], from 16.1% as of 2019 [2].

Cross River State allocates $517,000

In July 2019, the Cross River State government allocated NGN 187.2 million ($517,000) for family planning activities, a 4,000% increase over the previous year’s budget allocation of NGN 4.5 million [3]. This is the first significant commitment to family planning in Cross River and was achieved through years of engagement with state officials.

The allocation comprises funding from two agencies: NGN 152 million ($420,000) from the State Ministry of Health and NGN 35.2 million ($97,000) from the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency. The funds will support the Cross River State Costed Implementation Plan for Family Planning (2017-2020) (FP CIP).

As part of the advocacy process, the Cross River AWG learned a critical piece of information—the dispersal of funds requires not only a budget allocation, but also activity-based memos. After consultation with the Cross River AWG, the permanent secretary of the state ministry of health issued a directive for program officers to develop activity-based budget memos for family planning and request the release of funds for those activities.

Since last year’s allocation was not released, the directive is a promising sign that the allocations will be disbursed this financial year. The memos will also allow advocates to track budget releases and ongoing program implementation.

Lagos State allocates $482,000

In June 2019, Lagos State allocated NGN 174.8 million ($482,000) for family planning. The funds will be used to train health workers, establish youth-friendly centers, and procure family planning consumables and supplies. The new allocation builds upon Lagos’ strong commitment to family planning as the first Nigerian state to disburse funds specifically for family planning services through a dedicated budget line. This investment will enable the state to achieve its target mCPR of 48%; mCPR currently stands at 29% [4].

Pathfinder Nigeria and the Public Health Sustainable Advocacy Initiative (PHSAI), Lagos State’s AWG, advocated for sustained financial support as well as the timely release of funds in collaboration with other partners such as the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative, Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health at Scale, and MamaYe—Evidence to Action.

For three consecutive years, PHSAI has received invitations to participate in the state budget consultative forum, an avenue for citizens and civil society organizations to provide input on the budget. The inclusion of trained advocates in the budget process signals the potential for sustained advocacy efforts when the state graduates from direct AFP support next year.

Despite this progress, Lagos State’s family planning allocations and expenditure fall short of the total funding need of NGN 1.4 billion. In 2017, NGN 86.7 million was allocated and only NGN 20 million was spent on family planning, representing only 2% of the funding need [5]. The 2019 budget allocation is an 11% decrease compared to the 2018 budget.

As a next step, PHSAI will engage the new state governor to request that 25% of all local government areas and local council development areas allocate family planning funding by 2020.

These two significant state allocations come on the heels of Nigeria’s 2019 Appropriation Bill in which the national government reduced the family planning budget by 90% compared to the 2018 budget. Pathfinder Nigeria and the local AWGs will continue to push for timely release of the allocated funds and monitor spending.


  1. “Family Planning 2020 Commitment Govt. of Nigeria.” Family Planning 2020. Accessed October 1, 2019.
  2. National Population Commission (NPC) [ Nigeria ] and ICF. “Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey Key Indicators 2018.” The DHS Program: Demographic and Health Surveys. May 2019. Accessed October 1, 2019.
  3. “Cross River State 2019 Approved Budget.” Cross River State Internal Revenue Service. July 3, 2019. Accessed October 1, 2019.
  4. National Population Commission (NPC) [ Nigeria ] and ICF. “Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey Key Indicators 2018.” The DHS Program: Demographic and Health Surveys. May 2019. Accessed October 1, 2019.
  5. Lagos State Ministry of Health. “Lagos State Family Planning Costed Implementation Plan, 2016-2018,” March 2016.
Photo by Dominic Chavez for The Global Financing Facility courtesy of Flickr