Network News: First Margaret Pyke Volunteer provides family planning training in rural Uganda

December 21, 2016


In November, Dr. Sue Mann provided contraceptive training in Uganda, becoming the first “Margaret Pyke Volunteer” in a new programme continuing the legacy of a family planning pioneer.


The Margaret Pyke Trust has been a leader in contraception and sexual health for nearly 50 years. Named after Margaret Pyke, a family planning pioneer, the Trust is the UK’s leading provider of contraception training for doctors and nurses. Building on this success, the Trust launched a volunteering programme which places doctors and nurses at sites identified by Population & Sustainability Network members and at the Trust’s own African project sites with significant need for sexual and reproductive health training.

Dr Sue Mann, a Consultant in Public Health and sexual and reproductive health, travelled to Bwindi in south-west Uganda to provide contraception training to healthcare workers and to assist at a mobile health clinic in an isolated village near Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. At 5.8, Uganda’s fertility rate is one of the highest in the world, as Ugandan women, on average, give birth to nearly two children more than they want, and rural women are twice as likely to encounter barriers to family planning than their urban counterparts.

The growing local population also increases pressure on the local environment, and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is home to numerous wildlife species, including endangered gorillas and chimpanzees.

Population & Sustainability Network member, Conservation through Public Health (CTPH), has been working around the national park for over 10 years and Dr Mann accompanied CTPH staff and healthcare workers at a mobile health clinic, a three hour hike through the forest. The mobile clinic was funded by another Population & Sustainability Network member, CHASE Africa, and provided basic healthcare and family planning services, the first time all three Population & Sustainability Network members had collaborated on a single project.

Dr. Sue Mann spent her final week in Uganda providing training to nursing staff at Bwindi Community Hospital. The training is part of a pioneering programme called USHAPE, which strengthens sexual and reproductive health services in rural Ugandan hospitals.
“USHAPE is an excellent holistic training programme, providing a whole institution approach to sexual and reproductive health. All staff across the hospital are briefed on contraception in order to improve the contraceptive use and knowledge of patients. I really enjoyed being a part of the team.” explained Dr Sue Mann.

David Johnson, Chief Executive of the Margaret Pyke Trust said, “We’re delighted that Dr. Sue Mann’s visit to Uganda was such a success and hope more clinicians will volunteer their time to help improve family planning services overseas, as there are an estimated 225 million women in developing countries who would like to delay or prevent childbearing but are not using an effective method of contraception. These women are the focus of the Margaret Pyke Volunteer programme.”



Climate Change: Time to “Think Family Planning”

November 9, 2016


In the run up to COP22, the 2016 United Nations Climate Change Conference, the Population & Sustainability Network and the International Planned Parenthood Federation have joined forces to develop a toolkit for family planning advocates; providing them with the knowledge and tools to engage effectively in climate policy discussions and promote family planning as an effective climate adaptation strategy. 

picture31As climate discussions get underway in Marrakech, family planning advocates are using our toolkit, Climate Change: Time the "Think Family Planning", to impress upon climate change decision-makers the critical need to “Think Family Planning” as they develop plans to address the threats of climate change.

At last year’s Climate Change Conference in France, countries agreed the text of the Paris Agreement, which has now entered into force. This means we must now look to the future and work out how each country is going to implement so-called climate “adaptation” strategies. These adaptation strategies are ways communities can cope better in the face of a changing climate. Family planning has been accepted by UN scientists as one type of adaptation strategy.

It is important that all countries include family planning actions in their national plans and planning processes, and then ensure family planning actions are incorporated into national climate adaptation strategies. Family planning is a human-rights based adaptation strategy, and a particularly cost-effective strategy too. As the global population continues to grow, it becomes harder to meet the needs of citizens. When there are barriers to accessing family planning services, it hampers everyone’s ability to adapt to climate change.

Join us in encouraging leaders that when it comes to climate change, it is time to think family planning.

Download the COP22 Advocacy and Communications toolkit here.

Watch our video about how family planning advocates can use our toolkit to encourage leaders to think family planning:

Network news: In rural Kenya, camel clinics bring much needed healthcare to those who need it

October 24, 2016

SOURCE: Lionel Faull/Bhekisisa/CHAT

This month we feature our fellow Population & Sustainability Network member, Communities Health Africa Trust (CHAT), an NGO working to promote healthy, empowered and self-sustainable living among poor and excluded communities in Kenya. This article by the South African Mail & Guardian's Centre for health journalism, Bhekisisa, features CHAT's nurse Pauline Nunu as she travels with her camel clinic, bringing mobile health services to the remotest areas of Kenya. 



Camels bring healthcare to rural communities in Kenya

It's long before dawn in the thorny scrublands of northern Kenya. A recalcitrant camel grunts as nurse Pauline Nunu fastens the wooden boxes filled with medical supplies. Her small team is used to working fast and in the dark: breaking camp and loading the bulky boxes onto the backs of their eight camels. They have to get to the next settlement while the morning is still cool. The terrain ahead is rough and full of dangers.

"Distances are so long," says Nunu, who is in her mid-forties. "Sometimes you have to walk between four and six hours."

In this vast and scenic area of northern Kenya, the mobile camel clinic team treks between communities for up to six hours a day. The area is underdeveloped, remote and vast. When Nunu completed her training in HIV counseling and testing, she never thought she would end up depending on camel handlers' bush tracking skills to avoid stumbling into a herd of elephants. Or, as she says with a shudder, nearly step on a deadly puff adder snake sunning itself in a path.

The seminomadic communities here are peppered across 30 000 square kilometres of arid bush. They sorely need medicine and care. But there is only one doctor for every 63 000 people in the Laikipia and Samburu counties, according to government revenue allocation data. More than two-thirds of the population lives below the poverty line and nearly a quarter of children younger than five are at risk of malnutrition.

"You find that the men make all the decisions," Nunu says. "Women still have no say."

Out in the wild, the medical team rely heavily on the survival skills of the camel handlers. Here, they draw on traditional knowledge to dig a shallow well in a dry riverbed. In these communities, Nunu's camel mobile clinic is often the only health service people access in months. She is a veteran of the Communities Health Africa Trust (Chat), which brings mobile health services to the remotest areas. They focus on family planning and basic reproductive services, but also raise ecological awareness.

The fragile ecosystem here is buckling under alternate droughts and floods. This is exacerbated by environmental degradation, caused in part by a rapidly growing population. Rain upstream can turn this seasonal river into a raging torrent in just a few hours, and delay the mobile clinic’s progress.

"Right now there are floods," Nunu says, "The rivers are swollen all over. We have to wait for the water to go down before we can cross." Intense competition among pastoralist communities for ever-scarcer grazing land has led to "tribal clashes and insecurity", Nunu explains.

Her colleague Violet Otieno says clinic staff is sometimes caught between warring communities: "Most of the time the people we are serving shield and protect us. But we stay close to the chiefs' houses or police posts for security, and the injured then come to us for treatment."

A Samburu moraan (warrior) and his wife accompany the camels to the next clinic. While serving the community, the camel clinic team relies on locals for protection and support.

Chat was started 15 years ago by Sharon Wreford-Smith, who was born in Kenya and has lived in Laikipia most of her life. While the camel mobile clinic operates in remote areas, a purpose-built Landrover mobile clinic criss-crosses wherever it can, in an area where more than 90% of the roads are untarred.

HIV testing on two wheels

The organisation has also developed a network of "community-own resource persons" (Corps) who prepare people in advance of the clinic's arrival. Trained in family planning or HIV testing and counseling, these community members provide ongoing support when the clinic moves on. A recent innovation has been "backpack mobiles", which allow Corps to carry a mini-clinic with them as they go door-to-door in their communities.

Samwel Parare makes a living as a boda boda (motorbike taxi) driver. As a Corp in Laikipia North, Parare's day job melds seamlessly with his HIV testing and counseling work. Parare carries his HIV testing kits with him, provides on-the-spot counseling, and refers anyone who tests positive to their nearest clinic. But the men here, for a variety of cultural reasons, do not approve of their wives, daughters or partners accessing these services.

"There are many practices – such as female genital mutilation, beading [culturally accepted casual sexual liaisons between young men and girls], early marriages, polygamy, bush abortions and traditional medical beliefs – which make life very difficult for women," Parare explains.

Dispensing medicine provides a pretext for women to come to the clinic for their regular family planning insertions. Men who come to the clinics for basic healthcare are encouraged to have an HIV counseling and testing session, or to sit under a thorn tree listening to Parare explain family planning and ecological awareness.

"They think contraception is a way to stop a woman from giving birth forever," says Parare, who often gives talks to groups of knobkierie-wielding men. "But once we have helped them understand that it's just a matter of spacing, of allowing each child to grow properly, rather than being a permanent thing for women, that's when they allow their woman to access services. They also get a positive response from other beneficiaries, and can start to accept it."


Answering the call

Nurse Pauline Nunu and a colleague examine a patient with a chest complaint. Last year, Chat reached 140 980 people, with the Corps and Landrover clinics serving the majority. But the camel team added a crucial 8 663 people in the furthermost areas who might otherwise not have been served. Nearly 5 000 people received basic medicines for ailments such as malaria, diarrhoea and skin infections. In a day Nunu will provide basic medicines to between 20 and 30 patients and see up to 80 clients for family planning.

"When a client comes for insertion, she decides for how long, and then I do a pregnancy test. If it's negative, she chooses the method she wants. It could be a one-month pill, or a three-month injection or a three-year insertion. Then I do the insertion in the privacy of a tent." Last year, the clinics administered family planning to 40 604 women; more than half of whom chose a three to five-year insertion. It also distributed more than 200 000 condoms.

"When we provide people with it (contraception), maternal health complications go down. Economically, people become better off."

For Nunu, her work is "a passion to serve this community". "You know, when we went for training it was like a call. And when we serve the community to which we are called, we feel content."

You can access the original article here.

Linking reproductive health, sustainable development, and conservation: Insights and experiences from the Population & Sustainability Network and its members

September 30, 2016


PSN's Chief Executive, David Johnson, and Policy and Advocacy Manager, Carina Hirsch, joined PSN members, IPPF and its latest member, PRB, for a webinar sharing insights into the links between family planning and reproductive health to other sectors such as conservation and climate change. 



Linking family planning and reproductive health to other sectors—such as conservation and climate change—to achieve sustainable development is not new, but some opportunities to collaborate may not be well-known. For example, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—the scientific body which reviews existing climate science and informs the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Conference of Parties (COPs)—recognises family planning as a potential adaptation strategy. However, few people in any sector are aware of this opportunity.

In an Africa Population, Health, and Environment (PHE) webinar hosted by PACE, the Population & Sustainability Network (PSN) and two member organisations, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) joined Population Reference Bureau (PRB) to share insights and discuss how PSN and its members advocate for family planning to benefit conservation and sustainable development.

Kristen P. Patterson of PRB welcomed participants. David Johnson and Carina Hirsch, both of PSN, shared the history and role of PSN, which launched in 2004. Its 17 member organizations include national and international NGOs, academic institutions, international organizations, and government bodies. Many of these groups advocate for, design, and implement PHE projects in African countries. PSN advocates for and brings attention to PHE projects in various international forums and brings partners together.

For example, Bridget Corrigan of EWT explained how PSN facilitated and brokered links to organizations that enabled EWT to integrate family planning interventions into programs where communities expressed a need for reproductive health services. One such partnership is the Groot Marico PHE project, now in its early implementation stages.

Similarly, Alison Marshall of IPPF shared that membership with PSN has been an effective way to advocate for voluntary, rights-based family planning with a particular focus on climate change and other environmental issues. PSN and IPPF have jointly advocated at the UNFCCC COPs and are now collaborating on an advocacy toolkit.

Following the presentation, Patterson led a lively Q&A session with questions from the audience, who joined the webinar from various countries around the world, including many in eastern and southern Africa.

This webinar is part of the Africa PHE webinar series implemented under the Policy, Advocacy, and Communication Enhanced for Population and Reproductive Health (PACE) Project.

Network News: Integrating tree conservation and mobile health clinics in Kenya

September 23, 2016


This month we feature an update on a new programme of our fellow Population & Sustainability Network member, CHASE Africa, an NGO working to improve access to family planning and healthcare, and increasing the resilience of the natural environment in Kenya and Uganda. CHASE Africa’s innovative approach, combining support for mobile clinics and tree planting projects, is helping to make this a reality. Robin Witt writes about his experiences in Kenya and the success of CHASE’s integrated health and conservation projects.

CHASE Africa, originally called the Rift Valley Tree Trust, was established in 2000 to encourage tree planting around the fast disappearing Mau forest in Kenya. Starting tree nurseries was easy but finding secure land to plant the trees on proved much more difficult. Many schools have relatively large plots and we have now completed tree planting projects at more than 90 schools, with plots ranging from a half to two acres. Some of the first schools to take part in the planting project are now beginning to harvest their trees. Some schools have chosen to sell the timber, some use it to cook the school lunch and two had the timber milled and built new classrooms.

One of the ideas behind the school tree project was that the timber produced would take some pressure off the indigenous forest. However, the forest seemed to be disappearing at an ever-increasing rate and the size of a farm holding was becoming ever smaller. The reason behind this was Kenya’s population was growing by around one million a year. This coupled with the fact that many rural women had no access to family planning, and were having more children than they wanted, we decided to shift the main focus of our work to helping meet the unmet demand for family planning. The Kenyan Government is now strongly in favour of ensuring family planning is available to everyone. However, in rural areas provision of services is weak due to economic and logistical difficulties. Today, we work with four partners in Kenya and one in Uganda, and over the last four years, we have helped over 54,000 women to have access to family planning.

One of our partners, Dandelion Africa, works in Baringo County in Kenya. This semi-arid county has a contraceptive prevalence rate of only 33%, which is the percentage of women who are currently using, or whose sexual partner is currently using, at least one method of contraception. Dandelion is enabling many women who have never had access to contraception the chance to plan their family size by running mobile clinics that come to their communities. Dandelion, working in conjunction with the Ministry of Health (MoH), decides which communities are to be visited by first holding a meeting with the area Chief and other relevant individuals, to discuss the forthcoming clinic. Key to the success of a clinic is the work of the community health workers who, in the weeks leading up to the clinic, spend time discussing all the benefits family planning can bring and dispelling many of the myths that abound. Local radio in these rural areas is a key form of communication and Dandelion advertises where and when clinics will be happening. On the actual day of the clinic, eight staff are contracted from the MoH on a locum basis. These include two doctors, three family planning and cervical cancer nurses, one antenatal care officer, one HIV/AIDS tester and counsellor and one pharmacist. Often a church hall or school buildings will be used to house the clinic but if these are not available small pop-up tents are taken.

A typical day-clinic comprises the following services, general GP services, immunization, deworming, cervical cancer screening, family planning, and HIV/AIDS testing and counselling, generally with over 1,000 people attending. Family planning patients can choose between different contraceptive methods, including the pill, a 3 month injectable contraceptive, Depo-Provera, a 3 or 5 year contraceptive implant, or an IUD. Female and male condoms are also distributed. The number of women attending for family planning normally varies between 100 and 200.

There are many benefits of enabling women to have the chance to choose family planning, the main ones being maternal health is improved, abortions are reduced and there is a positive impact on under-fives mortality. Traditionally in these rural areas, parents could often not afford to send their daughters to secondary school, sending their sons in preference. When parents can choose how many children they have, all of their children stand a much better chance of being educated and it is well known that one of the key things in reducing total fertility is the education of girls.

CHASE Africa is a small NGO with limited funds but what it has shown is there is a very high unmet demand for family planning in rural areas of Kenya, and for relatively modest sums, that demand can be met and a family’s fortunes, and perhaps the planet’s as well, can be changed for the better.


Welcome to the Population Reference Bureau – our latest member!

September 14, 2016


We are delighted to welcome the Population Reference Bureau (PRB) into our Network. PRB works to inform people around the world about population, health and the environment, and empowers them to use that information to advance the well-being of current and future generations.


Based in Washington, DC, in the United States, PRB is committed to empowering people with knowledge. It analyses and interprets demographic, health and environmental data and trends, and shares that information with people and organisations at all levels. From decision makers and community leaders, to youth in the US and internationally, the information PRB shares helps advocate for and enact policy changes, advancing the health of people around the world.

Kristen P. Patterson, Programme Director for Population, Health and Environment at PRB said, “I appreciate the Population & Sustainability Network’s enthusiasm to further engage the conservation community to support reproductive health and sustainability by recently joining the IUCN. I look forward to collaborating with PSN and its Members to promote positive messages around population, reproductive health, and sustainability and expand support for integrated population, health, and environment approaches to sustainable development at the country level as a means of efficiently and effectively achieving the SDGs.”

Jeffrey Jordan, President and CEO of PRB said, “We are proud to add our evidence-based research, capacity-building and advocacy voice to the Network and look forward to continued collaboration with PSN and all its Members.”

David Johnson, Chief Executive of PSN said, “We are not only excited that PRB have become our latest Member, but also that we will be marking that membership tomorrow, when we host our first joint webinar.” On Wednesday 14 September 2016, PRB in partnership with PSN and fellow PSN Members the International Planned Parenthood Federation and the Endangered Wildlife Trust, are hosting a webinar on the links between reproductive health, sustainable development and conservation. Topics discussed will include past and future advocacy activities on the connections between family planning and climate change, COP22 activities, FP2020 linkages, and a new population, health and environment project being implemented by PSN and the Endangered Wildlife Trust in South Africa.

The webinar will take place between 4pm and 5pm East Africa Time (Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda); 3pm and 4pm South Africa Standard Time; 9am and 10am Eastern Daylight Time (Washington, DC); and 2pm and 3pm (London). 

The partnership between PSN had PRB pre-dates PRB’s formal membership of PSN. PSN’s Projects and Communications Manager, Kat Lloyd, said, “Back in 2015 PSN was honoured to be invited to participate in a PRB expert working group on population dynamics and climate compatible development, which comprised experts from the climate change, family planning, and development assistance communities and we’re pleased that we can today announce we are deepening this collaboration further.” The expert working group recommended the inclusion of universal access to voluntary family planning in climate compatible development plans. PRB and PSN anticipate that PRB’s membership will only enhance the two organisations’ work together on these critically important issues.

The Population & Sustainability Network joins world’s largest environmental alliance

August 31, 2016


The Population & Sustainability Network is proud to announce its membership of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). Created in 1948, IUCN is the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network, harnessing the knowledge, resources and reach of 1,300 member organisations and some 15,000 experts.


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In becoming an IUCN member, the Population & Sustainability Network aims to influence global conservation policy, to ensure sexual and reproductive health and rights are given due prominence by the conservation sector. Almost invariably it is rural communities in the developing world which face the greatest barriers to unrestricted access to contraceptive services. These same rural areas, where the conservation sector operates, are those where the inextricable links between poor health, unmet family planning needs, population pressures, environmental degradation, vulnerability to climate change and food security are most obvious.

David Johnson, the Population & Sustainability Network’s Chief Executive, said, “In a world with a population projected to increase by a third, from today’s 7.4 billion, to 9.9 billion in 2050, unrestricted access to family planning information, rights and services are not only critical for women’s health and empowerment, but also many other development issues too. That includes environmental and conservation challenges.” The Population & Sustainability Network questions whether many existing traditional conservation programmes can possibly be successful in the long term, unless these demographic realities are taken into account in conservation programme design. One way to take them into account is to create new partnerships between the conservation and health sectors.

The Population & Sustainability Network is the international programme of the Margaret Pyke Trust, a UK charity founded nearly fifty years ago. The Trust has been at the forefront of contraceptive developments since its foundation, from provision of clinical services in its early days, to academic research, programme delivery and international reproductive health advocacy more recently. Carina Hirsch, Advocacy and Policy Manager said, “We believe we are the first IUCN member, of the 1,300 existing members, with a primary mission focussed on reproductive health. We’re excited about using our specialist expertise to help shape the conservation policies of the future”.

The Trust launched the Population & Sustainability Network in 2004, at the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, and has promoted reproductive rights as part of sustainable development ever since. David Johnson concluded, “Having already built a reputation in United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change processes, such as at the recent COP21 in Paris, IUCN membership builds on the Trust’s advocacy strategy of promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights to a broader audience.”

The IUCN provides a neutral space in which stakeholders including governments, NGOs, scientists, businesses, local communities, indigenous peoples organisations and others can work together to forge and implement solutions to environmental challenges and achieve sustainable development. The Population & Sustainability Network’s IUCN membership will bring a new and distinct voice to discussions about how to implement those solutions.

Network News: Integrating wildlife conservation and human health in Uganda

August 22, 2016


This month we feature an update on a new program of our fellow Population & Sustainability Network member, Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH), an NGO improving the lives of the people and wildlife in East Africa. Gladys Kalema Zikusooka, the founder and chief executive of CTPH, writes about her experiences in Uganda, a country with significant barriers to unrestricted access to family planning, and where UN medium variant projections are for the population to quintuple by the end of the century.


CTPH Logo 250x250

The first time I ever went to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park I was 24 years old, as veterinary student. The rainforest was lush and beautiful—unlike anything I had ever seen. And deep within that forest resides a gentle giant—the Mountain Gorilla. After my first encounter with the gorillas I knew I wanted to dedicate my life to their conservation and I have never looked back.

My first job was working as a veterinarian with the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) at Bwindi. It was there that I experienced first hand how fragile the balance between wildlife and human health is. In 1996, I led the first team managing the scabies skin disease outbreak in the gorillas. I’ll never forget seeing Ruhara, an infant gorilla, become so weak from the disease that he couldn’t even hold onto his mother. After his death from scabies I began to ask myself how it could have been prevented. Scabies is a disease of poor hygiene and crowded conditions. The rural communities around Bwindi are some of the poorest and most population dense communities in Uganda. I knew then that poor health is a strain on both the communities and gorillas alike.

Driven by my love for wildlife and conservation and my passion to improve the health of my fellow Ugandans, I founded Conservation Through Public Health in 2003. CTPH has an innovative methodology that focuses on the integration of wildlife and human health and conservation. Our mission is to promote biodiversity conservation by enabling people, wildlife and livestock to coexist through improving their health and livelihoods. We are spearheading gorilla conservation through a multi-disciplinary population, health and environment approach because we know that these challenges are all inextricably linked.

We have worked with communities around Bwindi for years training Village Health Teams (VHTs) to integrate conservation and sustainable livelihoods into their public health outreach. Through training, communities learn about conservation and how public health including disease transmission and family planning can affect the environment and wildlife. Thus VHTs add conservation to their work and are transformed into Village Health and Conservation Teams (VHCTs). Furthermore, we provide VHCTs with capital to start Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) through a group project that generates income and allows them to provide loans to community members so that they can continue working in a sustainable way.

One of the projects supporting this VHCT approach is funded by The Global Development Network, which awarded CTPH the Japanese Most Innovative Development Project Award. This award has enabled CTPH to scale the VHCT and VSLA approach to another district around Bwindi, and resulted in additional funding to scale this integrated approach to Mt. Elgon National Park in Eastern Uganda and Western Kenya, and the Virunga Mountains in the Democratic Republic of Congo. With this approach, we aim to try and transform the lives of the people and wildlife at this additional project area.


I recently returned from Mt. Elgon where my team visited three districts and trained more than 80 VHTs in our innovative program to become VHCTs. Communities in Mt. Elgon have similar needs for family planning and improved hygiene and sanitation as those in the Bwindi region. They also live near a national park where they continue to access resources from the park illegally. That drove our need to bring the integrated approach to human and wildlife Health and conservation to these communities because we know they can really benefit from learning more about the interconnectedness of their health and conservation.

In our Mt. Elgon program we are also trying something new—we want the government to take up more responsibility of the program so we are working more closely with district health and natural resource officers as well as Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). This will benefit communities in creating a sustainable program run by the government that will continue well after donor funding ends. Furthermore, by involving UWA in the program it opened up a much-needed dialogue between them and the VHCTs. UWA and communities around Mt. Elgon have clashed over land use in and around the park for a long time, sometimes leading to violence and loss of lives. It is our expectation that through this program VHCTs will begin to bridge the gap between their own communities and UWA, eventually leading to peaceful relations and better understanding of how communities and UWA can work together to conserve the park and improve livelihoods.

CTPH began as a need to protect the health of people and gorillas. Through our hard work and dedication we have taken our vision and have begun to spread this to other communities living around protected areas in Africa. I am excited to see the future that we are able to build in Bwindi, Mt. Elgon and beyond.

You can read more about CTPH’s work on their website:

Margaret Pyke Trust, with the Population & Sustainability Network makes FP2020 pledge to reach 9.5 million women and girls by 2020

July 14, 2016

SOURCE: PSN and FP2020

The Margaret Pyke Trust, with the Population & Sustainability Network has become one of Family Planning 2020’s (FP2020) commitment makers by pledging to reach over 9.5 million women and girls through improved access to sexual and reproductive health services and information and improved quality of care.


FP2020 logo

The Trust joins over 90 commitment makers, including 38 countries, in a global movement that supports the rights of women and girls to decide freely and for themselves, whether, when and how many children they want to have.

FP2020 works with governments, civil society, multilateral organizations, donors, the private sector, and the research and development community to enable an additional 120 million girls and women in the world’s poorest countries to use modern forms of contraception by the year 2020.

An outcome of the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning, the FP2020 global partnership is based on the principle that all women, no matter where they live, should have access to lifesaving contraceptives. Achieving the FP2020 goal is a critical milestone to ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and rights by 2030, as laid out in Sustainable Development Goals 3 (good health and well-being) and 5 (gender equality), and is key to unlocking all development priorities.

The Trust’s commitments

  1. Education and Training: To provide up-to-date SRH training courses for not fewer than 3,250 UK based medical professionals between the beginning of 2016 and end of 2019. Training activities will be expanded and delivered to not fewer than 300 doctors and nurses in FP2020 focus countries, with tailored training to meet local capacity needs, and impact 9.5 million and girls.
  2. Program and Service Delivery: To design and implement not fewer than three integrated development programs in FP2020 focus countries between the autumn of 2016 and the end of 2019.
  3. Issue and Policy Advocacy: To undertake advocacy activities for health and gender organizations, policy makers and funding partners and also for other sectors including environmental and climate change audiences, to help build a broader coalition of organizations working to ensure universal access to comprehensive and voluntary family planning services.

“We’re delighted to be part of the significant global movement that is FP2020, and to join over 90 other governments and organizations across the globe committed to enabling 120 million more women and girls to use contraceptives by 2020”, said David Johnson, Chief Executive of the Trust. “The family planning community recognizes that programs and services must be designed and implemented with the highest attention to quality and the right principles if we are to realize our promise to millions of women and girls in countries where the need is greatest,” said Beth Schlachter, FP2020’s Executive Director.

FP2020 applauds this new commitment from the Trust, which will help catalyze progress and build sustainability for future generations by focusing on three key pillars of education and training, program and service delivery, and advocacy.”

The Margaret Pyke Trust, with the Population & Sustainability Network is a UK NGO with a vision of a world where everyone can decide freely whether, when, and how many children they want, for the benefit of all people and the planet. Since its foundation in 1969, when the Trust opened its London clinic, which for a period of time became the world’s busiest family planning center, the Trust has been at the forefront of developments in sexual and reproductive health. Today, in the UK, the Trust continues to support contraceptive research and provide SRH training for clinicians, but it is internationally, in FP2020 focus countries, that the Trust is becoming most active.

The Trust’s international program, the Population & Sustainability Network, is a network of 17 diverse organizations, from governmental bodies (like the UK’s DFID), to international SRH NGOs (like the International Planned Parenthood Federation) and even major environmental NGOs (such as Friends of the Earth), which all share the Trust’s vision. With members of this program, the Trust promotes sexual and reproductive health and rights as part of sustainable development. The Trust also works in partnership with Population & Sustainability Network members to implement programs integrating SRH actions with those of other sectors, for even greater impact. In 2016 the Trust formally changed its name to ‘The Margaret Pyke Trust, with the Population & Sustainability Network’, given the Trust’s growing focus on the developing world, FP2020 countries and its work with these partners. “We have translated our work into FP2020 commitments and very much look forward to working with the FP2020 community to further family planning and women and girls’ empowerment”, said Mr. Johnson.

Investments in entertainment education as a way to catalyse and sustain social and behavioural change

July 7, 2016


'Entertainment education' success stories will be showcased at an event at the Rockefeller Foundation Office in New York on July 12, 2016. The event will feature case studies from our Network members, Population Foundation of India and Population Media Center.

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‘Entertainment education’ (EE) is used across the world to educate, inform and influence social and individual behaviour. Through carefully crafted stories, social issues are woven into popular dramas, which have the potential to reach millions and bring about social change.

As the field of edutainment and its allied investments grows globally, questions of evaluation, evidence and sustainability become paramount. Recognising this, the Rockefeller Foundation, in partnership with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Ford Foundation, UNICEF and UNFPA, are convening a day-long meeting on “Investments in Entertainment education as a way to catalyze and sustain social and behavioral change,” at the Rockefeller Foundation Office in New York on July 12, 2016.

At this meeting, three case studies from three continents – Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon (I, A Woman, Can Achieve Anything) from Asia, Soul City from Africa and East Los High from North America - will showcase how EE formats, particularly, “soap operas” are being used in very different socio-economic, cultural and geographical contexts to engineer change on a wide range of social and health issues.

Evaluation specialists will engage with communication researchers and various EE programmers to examine the existing evidence of change, identify gaps and discuss robust evaluation techniques for digital media interventions.

This event on EE will provide an opportunity to not just share learnings, discuss evaluation and devise strategies for growth and sustainability, but also provides a forum to explore synergies for those working in the field of development and EE around the world.

Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon (I, A Woman, Can Achieve Anything)

Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon (MKBKSH) is an Indian trans-media (TV, radio, internet, mobile phone and social media) edutainment initiative launched by Population Foundation of India (PFI) in 2014 to challenge the prevailing social and cultural norms around family planning, early marriage, early and repeated pregnancies, contraceptive use, domestic violence and sex selection.

The key plot elements in MKBKSH are based on real life situations and characters, which serve as role models to bring important family planning concepts to life. Positive storytelling and an easily relatable and captivating storyline are used to build women’s agency and steer people’s perceptions on various social determinants of health.

Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon revolves around the inspiring journey of Sneha, a doctor working in Mumbai. She represents the young Indian woman of today, who thrives on challenges.  As the story progresses, Sneha returns to her village and finds herself embroiled in a series of family dramas. Her sense of family responsibility, along with her no-nonsense approach to responding to the drama around her, makes her a role model for many young Indian women who face similar realities

Emotionally torn between family and society, between professional aspirations and personal commitment, her struggles and triumphs form the core of this memorable soap opera. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, but it will also make you think. It is entertainment like you’ve never seen before.

PFI is a national non-governmental organisation at the forefront of policy advocacy and research on population, health and development issues in India. It leads advocacy efforts and works as a think-tank dedicated to promoting and advocating for the effective formulation and implementation of gender sensitive population, health and development policies and national programs.

PFI addresses population issues within the larger discourse of empowering women and men, so that they are able to take informed decisions related to their fertility, health and well-being. It works with the government, both at the national and state levels and with NGOs, in the areas of community action for health, urban health, scaling up of successful pilots and social and behaviour change communication.