The Future of Family Planning

Building upon the “Beyond 2020” session at the 2018 International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP), the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health has announced a multi-pronged approach to bring together representatives from crucial family planning sectors to explore business unusual and positively disruptive ideas to reshape the family planning and reproductive health agenda to ensure universal access by 2030.  

Seven years after the Family Planning 2020 commitments were made during the 2012 London Summit, the world has observed an unprecedented increase of over 46 million additional users of modern contraceptives among women and girls. In some regions such as the Ouagadougou Partnership, the increment of modern contraceptive uptake was much larger than what was observed in the previous 30 years altogether. Nevertheless, the present rates may not be fast enough to meet the 2020 goal. (Although, a new study soon to be published suggests that in Africa the family planning uptake may be progressing faster than what is currently being reported.) The family planning community is at its most challenging stage thus far, attempting to find new ways of doing business to disrupt the “status quo” in family planning programming.

Different systems and communities have been able to harvest the lowest-hanging fruit by developing new policies and establishing programs to accelerate modern contraceptive uptake. However, with the current increase in modern contraceptive users observed, different countries, particularly those with frail systems, are facing challenges in sustaining this growth. The world is facing an increasing shortage in funding relative to need for family planning programs. There is growing insecurity, and there are limited human resources to ensure access to family planning services in many regions; as conflicts intensify, large numbers of women and girls are forced into urban slums and humanitarian settings. Further, global and regional partnerships are critical to successful family planning programs, but some regions are not optimizing such opportunities, with minimal investments in such efforts.

Currently, Gates Institute is soliciting powerful, new ideas from across all sectors of the family planning community and beyond to be presented at a high-level convening of key researchers, advocates, donors, private sector, youth, politicians and policy makers to explore ways we can catalyze progress toward realizing universal access to rights-based family planning by 2030. Ultimately, the goal is to formulate an innovative and inspiring collective “Beyond 2020” vision to inform the FP2020 Core group. The components include:

  • The Future of Family Planning Thought Leadership Funding Opportunity, open to submissions from April 26 through June 11, 2019, will help support the imagination of researchers, scholars, advocates and practitioners – especially those under 40 years of age – to advance cutting-edge ideas born out of the 2018 ICFP.  Participants in the 2018 ICFP (both virtual and in-person) can compete for a cash prize by writing a 3-page (1,500-word) essay outlining their out-of-the-box ideas that they feel could profoundly and positively change the landscape of family planning within the next 10 to 15 years. In addition to the monetary award, recipients will be funded to attend the Future of Family Planning Convening on September 12-13 and a special Future of Family Planning invited session at the next ICFP that will showcase their work. 

    Applications are now closed, as of June 11. Winners will be announced on July 11 – World Population Day.

  • Small convenings are currently being held across the globe by Gates Institute programs (such as Advance Family Planning’s Future of Advocacy, The Challenge Initiative’s Beyond Imagination and the youth-focused gathering for IYAFP and 120 Under 40 winners at the Women Deliver Conference), to dive deeper into the key elements uncovered during the “Beyond 2020” session at ICFP that were found to be integral to our future success. The most important findings and ingenious ideas from these meetings will be showcased at the larger Future of Family Planning Convening.​
     
  • Commissioning of papers, videos and blogs on “Beyond 2020” priorities by Gates Institute and various convening partners, from which the best will be invited to present at The Future of Family Planning Convening. A special effort will be made to ensure that youth voices are represented within these submissions.​
     
  • The Future of Family Planning Convening, a special two-day gathering that will bring together representatives from key family planning sectors to explore new, “business unusual,” positively disruptive ideas that could change the landscape of family planning and reproductive health in the next 10 to 15 years. The Gates Institute will host the convening at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, from September 12 to 13, 2019. To help shape our collective “Beyond 2020” vision, it may include the following topics:
    • Youth leading change
    • Disruptive technologies - i.e. contraceptive, biomedical, information
    • New platforms for scale and sustainability
    • Behavioral approaches that affect change
    • “Business unusual” program design and implementation
    • Accessing existing commercial and governmental financial resources
    • Research approaches that drive policy change
    • Rethinking community health worker models and delivery systems
    • Social media and social movements
    • Next-generation advocacy approaches
    • Women and girls in poor urban settlements and humanitarian settings

This special convening will be held at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and will include experts from across the depth and breadth of the family planning community.

By invitation only.

 

Expected Results

These opportunities and events will initiate a movement that will mobilize the global family planning community, donors and the private sector to achieve our shared vision of realizing universal access by 2030. As recommended during the “Beyond 2020” session at the 2018 ICFP, for family planning programs to attain their objectives beyond what has been achieved thus far, novel approaches are needed, and a global family planning social movement is required to support existing collaboration and partnerships. Among the highlighted drivers of change in family planning programs were the Southern Networks and Consortia, a high level of country-led ownership and investment, equal and meaningful partnerships with youth, continued research and development for new contraceptive technologies and public-private partnerships toward universal health coverage of reproductive health.

 

Partners and Collaborators

To execute a highly successful convening, the Gates Institute will collaborate with its local and global partners, inviting organizations that are renowned for their work in the above-listed areas to provide critical insights on existing work, lessons learned and recommendations. The highlights from these presentations will inform discussions around these topics, and concrete actions will be undertaken for each of the issues. To create the momentum for the convening and to ensure global inclusiveness, the Gates Institute will invite interested partners to commission papers, videos and blogs on the topics listed above; several of the best will be recognized at the Future of Family Planning Convening.

The results from The Future of Family Planning Convening will be compiled in a report that will be shared with key partner organizations before being posted on the Gates Institute website for public access. It will inform the Core Group of FP2020 as it considers key moves in the future. Additionally, a communique will be produced and will be shared with the Institute’s global partners for dissemination. This communique will be translated into multiple languages to ensure the widest audience possible.