October 2007 in Review





In the spotlight




Washington meeting showcases global lessons from Latin America

More than 80 people attended the Coalition’s eighth semi-annual membership meeting—the largest number of attendees ever. USAID hosted the two-day event (October 24-25), with support from USAID | DELIVER, Population Action International (PAI), and other partners. The meeting focused on key global lessons from Latin America, provided updates on Coalition and Working Group (WG) activities, and gave a glimpse into two new initiatives: The new Female Condom Consortium and a web-based “Dash Board” that promises to track country performance on at least six broad key indicators of reproductive health (RH) commodity security. For the first time, participants also saw templates of the Coalition’s new website, which offers a new look and feel and focuses on showcasing the Coalition’s added value, both locally and at country level. The website will shortly be available to the public.

Guest speakers at the meeting included representatives from seven Latin American countries, as well as Carmen Barroso, Regional Director of IPPF’s Western Hemisphere Region and Kent Hill, Assistant Administrator for USAID’s Global Health Bureau. The event concluded with an invitation to the next membership meeting from Executive Committee member Antoinette Gosses. The meeting will be hosted by the European Commission in Brussels—the date is still to be determined. On the evening of the second day, participants reassembled at a reception given by PAI in honour of the Coalition, held at the historic Stewart Mott House on Capitol Hill.

Content from the membership meeting, including presentations, agenda, and participant list are available on the Coalition website. Contact the Secretariat for more details.






Coalition on the scene




Executive Committee approves new membership policy

The Coalition’s Executive Committee made history on October 23 by voting to open Coalition membership to any organization with a significant programmatic and/or financial stake in RH supply security, and a commitment to the Coalition’s vision, mission, and principles. Under the new policy, member organizations will benefit from access to all Coalition tools and web-based information and will receive Secretariat support in networking with other Coalition members. Members may join and participate in any of the Coalition’s technical WGs and propose topics for follow-up by the WGs, the Executive Committee, and/or the Secretariat. Finally, members will be entitled to a key governance role in the Coalition. They may vote for and serve as the head of any WG in which they are involved, and may serve as a member of the Executive Committee—including the role of Chair.

The Executive Committee also approved new policies relating to governance. Effective immediately, the Executive Committee will comprise 13 non-permanent, rotating seats including, for the first time, the heads of the three WGs and the representation of a South-to-South network. A decision was also taken to establish a five-member nominating committee to identify candidates for the soon-to-be-vacant post of Co-Chair. A summary of the new policies is under preparation and will be available shortly on the Coalition’s website.

Organizations wishing to register for Coalition membership may now do so online by clicking here. Contact the Secretariat for more details.

EOI for Minimum Volume/Pledge Guarantee design study

At the request of the Counterpart Group (CG) for the Minimum Volume and Pledge Guarantee (MVG/PG), the Secretariat will coordinate implementation of the design study to pilot the MVG/PG mechanism. They will be assisted in this effort by David Smith and Morten Sorensen (UNFPA), Sangeeta Raja (World Bank), KfW consultant Sandra Rolet, and a technical expert from USAID | DELIVER. Four Coalition members—the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, KfW, DFID, and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs—have pledged in excess of $350,000 to commission the study.

On November 13, the World Bank published a request for Expressions of Interest (EOI) in the design of a proof-of-concept of the MVG/PG mechanism. The announcement (Selection No. 100011839) is available online through WBG eConsultant, UN Development Business, and the Development Gateway; and in text-only version. Deadline for responses is November 28. Note that all responses must be submitted through the World Bank. Based on responses to the EOI, a shortlist will then be compiled, followed by the issuance of a formal Request for Proposals. Work is scheduled to begin in mid-January, with study results forthcoming in May 2008. For more information on the MVG/PG, contact the Secretariat.

Countdown 2015 Europe off to a running start

"Target your information; be clear when formulating requests for support; and coordinate actions"—these were the key messages that Coalition partners took home from the Countdown 2015 Europe Consortium's first strategic planning session under its new grant to advocate for increased European investment in RH supplies. Held earlier this month in Lisbon, the session brought together European NGOs, UNFPA, and representatives of Project RMA and the Secretariat with a view towards developing a panorama of the challenges and ongoing initiatives in the field of supply security.

To lay the groundwork for more effective coordination and harmonization, the participants undertook a mapping exercise, plotting out the comparative strengths of the different programmes in bringing about change globally, regionally, and at country level. For more information on Countdown 2015 Europe or the Lisbon meeting, contact An Huybrechts, Project Coordinator from the IPPF European Network.

A new look at the Supplies Gap

Since it was first introduced in Meeting the Challenge: Securing Contraceptive Supplies (2001), the supply gap or supply shortfall figure has been an effective advocacy tool for the RH supply issue. But the passage of time and uncertainty over the use of key gap figures and terms has prompted some to question the tool’s long-term utility.

On October 22, PAI and USAID | DELIVER invited 18 Coalition members, demographers, and advocates to a half-day meeting to assess the need for updating the original gap analysis. The guests discussed the strengths and shortfalls of the current gap model; and examined its potential to reflect a broader range of considerations such as country-specific gaps, total unmet need, the role of the private sector, general programme costs, new financing environments, and changes in national method mix. By the end of the meeting, participants agreed on the need to update the gap statistic, paying closer attention to the context in which the figure is placed, and to improve the figure by considering unmet need and other parameters, including the UN's medium population projection. The importance of calculating gap figures for individual countries was also acknowledged, and while the resources are not currently available to do so, this is something that should be taken up as a later phase. A scope of work to update the gap is currently being prepared for implementation by USAID | DELIVER. Meanwhile, detailed minutes of the October 22 meeting are available on the Coalition website.





Highlights from the Working Groups


Systems Strengthening Working Group (SSWG)

On October 26, the SSWG met to review progress on their ongoing work streams. The meeting opened with a presentation by Dr. Sandor Boyson, Co-Director of the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, which has been selected to undertake the upcoming Supply Chain Management Tools Software Review. Following the presentation, WG members discussed the appropriate parameters to be covered by the review; the content and geographic focus of relevant tools; and the kinds of technical input required by the review team.

In early October, the RHInterchange (RHI) celebrated its third year online. Mimi Whitehouse discussed the group’s new M&E plan, their long-term strategy to transition the RHI to UNFPA, their future collaboration with the Secretariat to achieve long-term sustainability of the RHI, and their plans to conduct a mid-term review during the first quarter of 2008. Mimi also described plans to include third-party UNFPA procurements in the RHI database, as well as ongoing discussions to do the same with procurements by PSI and Crown Agents. Finally, she discussed the selection of the RHI’s last two focus countries: Nepal and Burkina Faso, the latter of which is also a priority country for the Global Programme and Project RMA. For more information on SSWG, contact WG leader Alan Bornbusch.

Market Development Approaches Working Group (MDA WG)

From October 1-3, the MDA WG met in Washington, DC for a three-day session that included a manufacturer’s forum; an information exchange; and a closed session of WG members to formulate a new work plan. A final report of the three-day event, soon to be released, highlights the manufacturers’ satisfaction at being acknowledged by the Coalition as genuine development partners. It also notes the significance of the event as a complement to the general membership meeting, which until now has been the only forum for assembling a critical mass of stakeholders to share technical information.

Members of the WG re-grouped on October 23 to elaborate further on their draft work plan. They saw the expansion of Coalition membership as a positive opportunity to broaden their remit, launch new initiatives, and revitalize others. Among the latter was the theme of demand creation, which members of the manufacturer’s forum concluded was the greatest threat to meeting RH needs. For more information, contact MDA WG leader Ben Light.

Resource Mobilization and Awareness Working Group (RMA WG)

The RMA WG met on the first evening of the membership meeting to review partner activities and the three areas of Project RMA—at global (PAI), regional (DSW) and national (IPPF) level. They discussed efforts to integrate sexual and RH rights into Global Fund proposals, the NGO advocacy sub-grant proposals, and next steps for the newly presented advocacy toolkit. Project RMA members PAI, DSW, and IPPF then held an internal meeting on October 26. Contact Carolyn Vogel for more information.


Project RMA Global: The first Annual Global Civil Society meeting for RH supplies advocates will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia during the week of January 14-18, 2008. This meeting will bring together a diverse group of NGO networks engaged in RH supplies advocacy to share information, explore collaboration, and learn about the ever-changing global landscape of RH supplies advocacy.


Project RMA Regional: The first regional meeting in Kampala, Uganda will take place from December 3-6. Participants will include the Minister of Health from Burundi and representatives from corresponding ministries in Kenya and Ethiopia, as well as representatives from regional bodies and the Hewlett Foundation, Global Health Action, and Family Health International. The meeting aims to fortify regional networks in Africa and lay the foundation for South-South exchange partnerships. For more details, contact Pam Foster.

Project RMA National: IPPF has hired a Resource Mobilization and Awareness Officer, Sarah Shaw, to coordinate national-level efforts under Project RMA. Sarah, who has been with IPPF for four years, will support the establishment of national advocacy networks, provide them with ongoing assistance, and help synergize the national, regional, and global elements of Project RMA.





Upcoming events



6-8 November


USAID/MSH/DSW virtual conference on "Re-Positioning Family Planning for Francophone Africa"


20-21 November

Population and Development (PPD) International Forum on Universal Access to Reproductive Health for the Attainment of ICPD Goals and MDGs; Rabat, Morocco

3-6 December

Project RMA regional meeting; Kampala, Uganda


14-18 January

Project RMA Annual Global Civil Society meeting; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia







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
Email: rhsccommunications@path.org