January 2009 in Review
In the spotlight
2009 Annual Membership Meeting

The Coalition's Tenth Membership Meeting will take place in London on June 4th and 5th, 2009.  The meeting will be hosted by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and will cap a full week’s worth of Coalition-related events and activities. DFID, IPPF, and Marie Stopes International have generously offered to host preliminary meetings of the Coalition’s three Working Groups, while the Executive Committee will meet at the offices of DFID on Wednesday, June 3rd. Additional activities may be scheduled depending on member interests and requests.

To facilitate communication, a new page has been posted on the Coalition’s website that will provide the latest information on meeting events, agendas, venues, and hotel accommodations. Although updates will be communicated via emails and subsequent issues of the SupplyInsider, the website will remain the best source for the latest information. Should you have any questions concerning this year’s meetings, please contact Gloria Castany at the Secretariat.

Coalition on the scene
Shaping this year’s Membership Meeting: Call for ideas

In early March, the Secretariat will present the Executive Committee with a list of possible issues to be addressed at this year’s Membership Meeting. Suggestions have already been put forth to explore the broader implications of the global economic downturn and the changing U.S. political scene on our work and commodity security in general.  To ensure that all Coalition members have input into the shaping of this year’s meeting, we invite everyone to forward their ideas and suggestions. These may include presentations, panel discussions, activity updates, or input from specific global regions. Please forward ideas to Gloria Castany at the Secretariat by February 27th.

Coalition welcomes five new members

Five new members have joined the Coalition, bringing the total number to 79. The new members are:

To apply for membership in the Coalition, click here.

Journalists get a news flash on RH supplies

In mid-January, four Coalition partners gave a lively and thought-provoking presentation to journalists at the European Commission Press Centre highlighting Contraceptive Commodity Security and the impact of RH supplies on attainment of the MDG’s. Led by Antoinette Gosses of the European Commission, with support from Sietske Steneker of UNFPA, Maaike Van Min of Marie Stopes International, and Steve Kinzett of the Secretariat, approximately 15 journalists attended a question and answer session on reproductive health, RH supplies, and the assistance provided by members of the European Community. This presentation was part of a larger seminar for journalists on EU External Co-operation in Action and helped to highlight reproductive health as a critical component of the total international development package.

Innovation Fund update

This month, the Coalition received a number of excellent proposals for its new Innovation Fund. The Fund, which is made possible by a generous grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will provide over US$2 million in grants to support new initiatives carried out under the Coalition’s Working Groups. Applications for the next round of funding are due May 1, 2009. Please contact the Secretariat or innovation@rhsuplies.org for more information on the next round of funding.

Highlights from the Working Groups
New and Underused RH Technology Caucus - Highlight on CycleBeads®

The Coalition’s Strategic Plan identifies four guiding principles, one of which is about choice and the ability of individuals to access a broad range of RH products. In 2008, the New and Underused RH Technology Caucus was established at the Coalition’s Annual Membership Meeting to reinforce this principle and to ensure that efforts at achieving commodity security are informed by the demands and needs of individuals throughout their reproductive lives.

Caucus member Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH) has announced that the RH device known as CycleBeads has recently been included in USAID’s contraceptive and reproductive health commodity procurement system, thereby making it easier for country programs to include them as a contraceptive option. CycleBeads are a color-coded string of beads that helps women plan or prevent pregnancy using a natural method of family planning known as the Standard Days Method. 

Further information on CycleBeads can be found on the IRH website. Links to a demand estimate model and a toolkit to help establish an initial supply are also available on the Coalition's website.

Resource Mobilization and Awareness Working Group (RMA WG)

Project RMA: Project RMA partners IPPF, DSW, and PAI are working to place Reproductive Health Supplies on the agenda of the next annual meeting of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) to be held in New York on 30 March through 4 April, 2009. Members of Project RMA and the RMA WG will host a series of conference calls to coordinate and mobilize action through networks and partners worldwide. A newly-created CPD list serve will also aid in the exchange of information and strategy development. To sign up for the listserve and become involved in CPD RH Supplies advocacy efforts, contact Susan Anderson and Mercedes Mas de Xaxas at PAI.

Project RMA messaging workshop: This month Reproductive Health Uganda held a workshop on the development of RH supplies messages and the formulation of communications strategies to advocate for increased budget lines for family planning and improvements in the RH supply chain. Delegates identified targeted, evidence-based messages and communications channels to reach different stakeholders. A follow-up meeting will be held to review draft messages, which will be disseminated by civil society partners. The messages will then be used during the 2009 national and district budgeting process to advocate for increased funding for RH supplies and to improve the coordination of supply procurement and distribution.

Upcoming Events

5 Feb MDA WG Teleconference
9 Feb RMA WG Teleconference
20 Feb Deadline for submission of edits to the Executive Committee meeting minutes
25 Feb CAR Teleconference
5 March MDA WG Teleconference
12-13 March Project RMA Partners Meeting, Brussels
25 March CAR Teleconference
1 May Innovation Fund deadline, Round 2
1-5 June Coalition Annual Membership and Working Group Meetings, London

For more details on the above and other events, see the events calendar on the Coalition website.

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