March 2009 in Review
In the spotlight
The Strategic Plan comes alive
Since its publication in 2007, the Coalition’s Strategic Plan has had a profound influence on our work and what we do. It inspired the expansion of our membership in 2008, has influenced the formulation of new workplans and Working Group workstreams and has guided the allocation of resources, such as those currently available through the new Innovation Fund.
For many Coalition members, however, the Strategic Plan and its accompanying logframe remain a forbidding and arcane document—something best left for others to interpret and apply. To minimize any lingering mysteries about the document and to help members make better use of it, the Secretariat has developed and put online a new interactive flash presentation. By means of a simple 3x3 matrix, the presentation allows readers to see at a glance the significance of our three strategic goals, how we plan to achieve them, and how we measure the success of what we do.
Coalition on the scene
Lyn Thomas to join the Executive Committee
The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) has nominated Lyn Thomas to the Coalition’s Executive Committee. Lyn Thomas brings to the Committee a wealth of experience and knowledge. For over a decade, she served as Europe Regional Director in Brussels, and in 2002 moved to London to assume her current post as Deputy Director General. Lyn serves as IPPF’s Chief Operations Officer and oversees the work of the recently established Safe Abortion Action Fund.
Tenth Membership Meeting details
Book your hotel now! Members wishing to attend the London Membership Meeting are encouraged to book their accommodations as soon as possible to ensure access to the preferential rates of £145 (standard single) and £155 (standard double), including breakfast. Under the terms of our agreement with City Inn Westminster, 25% of all unsold rooms will be released to the general public on April 20. So the time is now to guarantee the best available price. To receive our promotional rate, bookings must be made directly with the hotel, using the promotional code NEGRH5. Please view the meeting webpage for more information.
Invitations in the mail. Invitations to the Coalition’s Annual Membership Meeting will be arriving in your inbox in early April, with full details on the meeting events, venues, and accommodations. Gloria Castany at the Secretariat can provide further information.
Ensuring availability of hormonal contraception
Earlier this month, the Secretariat’s Steve Kinzett traveled to UNFPA/Copenhagen to attend a meeting on possible shortfalls in the availability of quality hormonal contraceptives. Recent corporate mergers in the pharmaceutical industry, coupled with the fact that no hormonal methods have yet been prequalified by WHO, could leave donors with no other choice than to continue procuring non-prequalified hormonals or stop buying them altogether. The Concept Foundation is preparing a report that will explore the implications of this development and outline possible strategies to address it.
Final teleconference of AccessRH/Pledge Guarantee (PG) Advisory Group
Members of the AccessRH/PG Advisory Group met this month for the last time. Created with the aim of shepherding the development of the two financing and procurement mechanisms, the group has successfully worked itself out of a job with management of the mechanisms now resting fully with UNFPA and the UN Foundation, respectively. During the teleconference, representatives of both institutions outlined the progress now underway to institutionalize the mechanisms and described the growing interest in them by countries and international financial institutions. While the Advisory Group itself may no longer continue to meet regularly, its members agreed that the Coalition will continue to play a critical role in raising awareness of the mechanisms and in generating customer need. Both UNFPA and the UN Foundation have agreed to work together with the Secretariat to encourage Coalition members to familiarize themselves with the mechanisms at the London membership meeting.
Highlights from the Working Groups
Market Development Approaches Working Group (MDA WG)
Leader nominations: Ben Light, Technical Advisor for UNFPA, was reelected this month for a two-year term as leader of the MDA WG. Respondents stressed their desire for continuity of leadership and the value they attach—especially in this field—to an impartial public sector representative. Many thanks to those who participated in the election process.
Resource Mobilization and Awareness Working Group (RMA WG)
Your vote counts: Active RMA WG members are asked to respond to WG leader Sandra Jordan’s March 24 email on whether to hold a Training of Trainers session on the Advocacy Toolkit either before or after the Coalition’s June membership meeting. Please send your input to Sandra Jordan, who can also provide further information.
Project RMA and the Coalition: Steve Kinzett attended a consultative meeting of Project RMA, held earlier this month in Brussels. During the two-day event, participants emphasized the importance of civil society participation in the Coalition and the critical role advocacy can play in furthering Coalition initiatives such as AccessRH and the Pledge Guarantee, as well as in drawing attention to critical supply issues.
Project RMA in the headlines: Project RMA and its partners are receiving impressive press coverage in both Ghana and Uganda. Sarah Shaw of IPPF has forwarded to the Secretariat a set of six articles, all of which can be accessed on the Project RMA country level advocacy homepage. The articles cover a wide range of supply-related issues, including the impact of RH supplies shortages in Uganda, the involvement of Ghana’s first lady in promoting the inclusion of family planning on Ghana’s National Health Insurance scheme, and supply-related advocacy at the district level in Ghana.
Systems Strengthening Working Group (SSWG)
Countries at Risk (CAR): The CAR continues working to address emergency stock issues and requests for shipment information. During this month’s teleconference, UNFPA reported approving a large centrally funded shipment of contraceptives to Kenya to relieve impending stockouts of various methods. UNFPA also approved an emergency shipment of 6,000 IUDs to Ghana, which will ensure that stocks remain sufficient while USAID finalizes registration of its new IUD. Meanwhile, USAID | DELIVER issued early warnings of potential stock crises in Malawi and Tanzania, due to funding shortfalls. And lastly, shipping updates were provided by USAID and UNFPA to country program mangers in Ethiopia, Ghana, and Kenya.
In Latin America, Paraguay’s central warehouse has stocked out of emergency contraception. Additionally, emerging challenges regarding registration and supply have hindered UNFPA’s ability to expedite shipments. CAR members discussed these issues and communicated their thoughts to local program managers. Finally, in Asia, Bangladesh remains stocked out of implants, and no resources are currently at the CAR’s disposal to address the issue. Contact Kevin Pilz for more information.
RHInterchange (RHI) Update: The RHInterchange welcomes the participation of the Kenyan government in providing order and shipment information to the database. The newly uploaded data represent shipments of 83,600,000 male condoms procured in 2008 and 2009 by the Procurement and Supply Chain Management Consortium, using funds from the Global Fund.
For more details on the above and other events, see the events calendar on the Coalition website.
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