May 2007 in Review



In the spotlight


Nominations for Co-Chair now being accepted

In April 2008, the Coalition’s two Co-Chairs’ terms will officially come to an end. To ensure continuity and a smooth transition period, Coalition policies prescribe that a Chair’s successor be identified six months in advance.

At their April meeting, Executive Committee members discussed the merits of the Co-Chair arrangement currently in place, praised the work of the current Co-Chairs and invited both to consider renewing their terms. The invitation was accepted by Wolfgang Bichmann, who agreed to a one-year renewal of his term.
The Secretariat, therefore, is now accepting nominations for the post of Co-Chair currently occupied by Margret Verwijk. The term for this post will be two years, which would create a staggered incumbency (alternating years) following the end of Bichmann’s term. Any nominations should be sent to the Secretariat.





Coalition on the scene


Tim Wirth visits

On June 1, the Coalition Secretariat received a special visit from Senator Tim Wirth, President of the United Nations (UN) Foundation, along with his colleague Melinda Kimble, Senior Vice President and his wife Wren, President of the Winslow Foundation. The Senator is known to many in the RH field, particularly for his involvement at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in 1994 and the 2001 Istanbul Conference, “Meeting the Challenge”. His visit formed part of a two-week trip to Europe where he engaged in many high-level meetings mainly on the current key issue of climate change.

Secretariat staff updated the visitors on current Coalition priorities and activities, including, at Wirth’s request, a closer look at the Pledge and Minimum Volume Guarantee mechanisms. KfW consultant Sandra Rolet was invited to discuss the Coalition’s work on that front.

Wirth encouraged the Coalition to engage with the HIV/AIDS community, which he said was looking for more effective integration with the broader RH field. He also recommended seeking out opportunities for closer collaboration with the philanthropic community. The UN Foundation, established in 1997, is a permanent member of the Coalition.

Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Planning Committee launches

In April, the Executive Committee approved a USAID-sponsored concept paper summarizing key themes and issues to be addressed at the next October membership meeting. The paper described a forum in which guests from Latin America could share successes and achievements in contraceptive security (CS), assist others to learn from these experiences, and identify ways the Coalition could support further CS efforts.
On May 18, efforts to operationalize the concept paper got underway with a two-hour planning meeting/teleconference among USAID collaborating agencies and the Coalition Secretariat. Despite the forum’s geographic focus on LAC, participants agreed on the need to highlight themes and issues of global significance. They also took note of requests to include within the agenda, topics such as pricing of the female condom and the new RMA Advocacy Toolkit. The next meeting of the LAC Planning Committee will take place later this month.

Strategic Plan nears completion

The Secretariat has incorporated the results of last April’s membership meeting into the working draft of the Coalition’s new Strategic Plan. Input included minutes from the individual breakout sessions as well as transcriptions of each group’s feedback presentation at plenary. Also included were comments submitted by the World Bank and others subsequent to the meeting. The new draft was then forwarded to the three Working Group Chairs and other contributors for validation and, where necessary, subsequent editing.
With this process now complete, the final step in the strategy formulation process remains the refinement of indicators. To that end, a technical meeting of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) specialists will be held next month in Washington, DC to look at indicators and enlist the support of partner agencies in establishing baselines and monitoring indicators.

Addressing membership

Efforts to address membership are moving forward. In keeping with the approach used to develop the Coalition’s Strategic Plan, a task force has been identified, comprising four volunteers (Valerie De Fillipo, Carolyn Hart, Nel Druce and Susan Rich), an independent consultant (David Johnson of HLSP), and Coalition Director, John Skibiak. The task force will be headed by Co-Chair Wolfgang Bichmann and will also involve input from a former Coalition member, Steve Sinding. A scope of work and timeline for the task force is currently under preparation; the first teleconference of the group will be scheduled for early June. For more information, please contact the Secretariat

New Communications Officer starts in Brussels

Catherine Potter, formerly Communications Director at SCA Packaging, has just joined the Secretariat as Communications Officer. Catherine brings with her a wealth of communications-related experience from the business world and publishing/journalism. Catherine ( replaces Cécile Petit-Robert who left mid-May to have a baby.


Latest materials now on the Web

Contents of the Coalition’s seventh semi-annual membership meeting held in London on April 27–28 have been posted on the website. This includes the agenda, presentations, reports of the breakout sessions and the evaluation survey. The minutes and summary of the Executive Committee meeting will be posted to the website shortly.

Sad to see Marian go

Marian Weldin of the Secretariat at PATH/Seattle retired at the end of May after 19 years at PATH. While we are sad that she will no longer be working with us, we are very grateful for all her contributions to the Coalition. Her dedication and support has helped get us off to a good start and has brought good fortune to the Coalition and the Secretariat. We wish her all the best in retirement.






Highlights from the Working Groups


Countries at Risk Group (CAR)

Better information will soon be available to the CAR Group, thanks to a re-design of the old “CPT report”. Last month, Kevin Pilz of USAID circulated the new format for a “Procurement Planning and Monitoring Report” that will indicate the stock status of main contraceptive methods, and provide narrative Contraceptive Security updates on forecasting, donor coordination and product choice. To be collected by USAID | DELIVER PROJECT, the information will enable country managers to monitor national supply status more easily and the CAR Group to better anticipate supply shortfalls.

Market Development Approaches Working Group (MDA WG)

Steve Kinzett has completed a draft scope of work for identifying and evaluating indicators to measure market development approaches (MDAs). The draft builds on the findings of an HLSP-published study which suggested that common thinking around a set of key objectives, success determinants, and indicators would lead to better understanding of MDAs generally, greater comparability across approaches and countries, and a stronger evidence base for assessing the value of MDAs in ensuring long-term access to essential RH supplies. The draft is currently being reviewed by MDA Group Leader, Ben Light, and will be discussed during the next MDA WG teleconference.

Resource Mobilization and Awareness Working Group (RMA WG)

Staff of PAI, Constella Futures and the RHInterchange met to discuss ways of linking the Advocacy Toolkit with the technical resource database being compiled by SSWG/RHI consultant, Jo Annah Jensen. Once complete, materials contained in the Advocacy Toolkit Databank (which include advocacy and policy-relevant documents) will be tagged with keywords so that they can be searched within the technical resource database. Jo Annah and RHI staff will soon engage an IT specialist to create a database and web-interface for posting on the Coalition website.




Upcoming events


8 June

M&E Strategic Plan technical meeting, Washington, DC

19 June

MDA Working Group Teleconference, 16.00-17.00 GMT

20 June

LAC Planning Committee Teleconference, 14.00-16.30 EST

17–19 July &
18–20 Sept

USAID/MSH/DSW virtual conferences on “Re-Positioning Family Planning for Francophone Africa” (contact for more information)

24–25 October

Membership meeting, Washington, DC






Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition

Rue Marie-Thérèse, 21
1000 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 (0)2 210.02.22
Fax: +32 (0)2 219.33.63