USAID Launches Resource Guide for Family Planning
Over the last year I worked with my USAID colleague, Shawn Malarcher, and with an outstanding intern who is currently an MSPH candidate at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Selam Desta, to develop a guide to tools and resources to support family planning programming and advocacy in the field. Selam interviewed USAID health officers based in the field and Washington-based staff who regularly provide technical assistance to field programs to find out what they felt were their primary needs for information and resources related to family planning. She also identified a number of possible resources, reviewed each of them and organized them into this guide, which we have titled USAID Resource Guide for Family Planning.
We had heard from our staff in the field and from our partners that field-based staff has information needs that are often time-bound and urgent while, at the same time, they have little time for research or synthesis. In addition, many of them find it hard to keep up-to-date with the tremendous amount of information, tools, and resources that are currently available. We also learned that there is a broad spectrum of technical understanding of family planning among some of USAID field staff, and that they may not necessarily be familiar with the standard resources that those of us working in this field for years take for granted. We also knew that field staff needs access to some specialized information and resources related to program design and to family planning compliance, which is often difficult to find on the USAID website or Intranet. So, we developed this guide in two versions – one directly targeting our own mission-based staff and another with more general resources. The guide posted here on the K4Health site is the more general version. I’m delighted to share it with K4Health’s audience now.
This 32-page guide is divided into eight sections and is designed to pull together in one place key tools and resources, that can largely be used with minimal additional technical assistance or resource requirements, needed in managing a family planning program for USAID. An overview of each section is provided below:
Section I: Gives background information on the guide itself – what is included and why, and an overview of how it is organized.
Section II: Contains some key advocacy resources that answer the question: Why invest in family planning? The resources included in this section are designed to provide general information on the importance of family planning, as well as describe some key USAID achievements in family planning.
Section III: Lists the technical priorities of USAID’s Population and Reproductive Health (PRH) Office with links to resources on each. This section also includes a summary of the Office’s strategic framework and brief descriptions of key initiatives: Global Health Initiative, A Promised Renewed, and Family Planning (FP) 2020.
Section IV: Includes a list of USAID priority countries for family planning, maternal/child health, and PEPFAR as well as a complete list of the current global projects funded by the PRH Office, with contacts and links to websites where possible.
Section V: Focuses on the evidence for what works most effectively in family planning and includes additional information on High Impact Practices in Family Planning (HIPs) Briefs, including related tools and resources on the HIPs, and Elements of Success in Family Planning.
Sections VI and VII are the meat of the guide. Section VI includes links to a series of tools regarded by technical experts and family planning programmers to be those that, if utilized and implemented correctly, can yield far-reaching results in family planning success. These tools are presented for technical areas such as male involvement, client centered programming, leadership and management, youth, costing, scale up, mobile services, and specific contraceptive methods. Also included are links to lessons learned documents and briefs in family planning programming.
Section VII: Contains information on common family planning indicators, program evaluation tools, USAID family planning compliance materials and legislative guidance, resources on integration of services, sustainability, gender integration, private sector engagement, the SEED programming model, and the ‘Guide to Fostering Change.’
Section VIII: Includes a list of policy and advocacy related resources that are designed to inform national family planning guidelines and policies and provide resources for interactions with Ministries of Health.
Section IX: Provides links to a number of key websites with family planning resources.
We plan to promote the guide extensively within USAID through our Intranet, SOTA meetings, and network of country support teams. If you think the guide is useful, please add a link to it from your own website (pointing at http://www.k4health.org/resources/usaid-resource-guide-family-planning), post it on your organization’s Intranet, and share it with your country offices. We plan to update the guide on an annual basis.