Since 2011, IntraHealth has been working through the Civil Society for Family Planning in West Africa Project (CS4FP) to establish solid partnerships between governments and civil society groups to help promote the benefits of family planning in a region where use of family planning remains low, to hold governments accountable for the public commitments they made in 2011 at a meeting in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and at the London Summit on Family Planning in 2012, and to advocate for the technical support and resources the countries need to meet their family planning goals. The project began its work in Benin, Mali, and Senegal. In 2014, the project expanded to Burkina Faso and Niger as well.
Civil society organizations in West Africa have achieved successes in areas such as promoting literacy and reducing stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS, but family planning has not historically been high on their agendas. By working with civil society groups and community leaders, the project aims to increase the use and accessibility of family planning services for women, families, and youth, and ultimately improve maternal, newborn, and child health in Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and Senegal.
In all five countries, a coalition of civil society organizations committed to family planning is now operating and actively participating in the guidance, coordination, and management of national family planning activities.
The project is developing family planning advocates among religious leaders and has trained 92 youth ambassadors and 24 adult mentors to support them. The project has also oriented 55 journalists to family planning to spark more media interest and coverage of family planning issues.
The project supported youth ambassadors to lead family planning advocacy campaigns targeting in- and out-of-school youth (e.g. Healthy Vacation without Pregnancy and Valentine's Day without Pregnancy) in all five countries.
At an inter-country meeting more than 100 government, civil society, and key stakeholder representatives from francophone West Africa came together to share how they have engaged civil society in the repositioning of family planning and the progress their countries have made on national family planning action plans.
In collaboration with PAI, the project is training 27 coalition members (including 6 youth ambassadors) in Advance Family Planning's SMART advocacy approach.