Membership meeting draws near
With the guest list for the upcoming membership meeting promising to top all previous records in size, the Secretariat has created a page on the Coalition website with the most up-to-date version of the agenda and other critical information. Guests are encouraged to visit this site regularly before the meeting. Guests will soon receive an invitation to a reception hosted by Population Action International (PAI) on the evening of October 25. Contact the Secretariat for more details.
Maximizing synergies for greater European investment in supplies
The Countdown 2015 Europe coalition of ten European NGOs led by the IPPF European Network has just received a three-year grant to advocate more effectively for increased European investment in RH supplies. The project seeks to strengthen support for supplies among European policy-, decision- and opinion-makers, as well as civil society; and to enhance the collective capacity of the NGOs to advocate for European support more generally.
To ensure coordination and maximize synergies between our two programmes, the ten NGOs have invited the Coalition to participate in a one-day strategic planning session, which will be held in Lisbon, Portugal on October 10. For more information, contact Vicky Claeys of the IPPF European Network.
UNFPA applauds Supply Champions
Earlier this month, the Coalition joined UNFPA in acknowledging the work of "RHCS Champions" from Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the Pacific who have advanced the cause of reproductive health commodity security through country- and regional-level advocacy, policy change, and technical support. At a two-day meeting, held at UNFPA headquarters in New York, the Champions compared experiences, shared ideas, and developed a set of recommendations, which were then forwarded in a written communiqui to UNFPA's Executive Board.
In his presentation to the group, Director John Skibiak described the work of the Coalition, emphasizing the interest of its members to support regional and country efforts to achieve supply security. This view was reiterated by other Coalition partners present at the meeting, including UNFPA, the UN Foundation, and USAID | DELIVER. Contact Beatriz de la Mora for more information.
Female condom mirrors broader supply issues
The inclusion of a session on the female condom at the October membership meeting has spurred new interest in the Coalition by the female condom (FC) community. In September, Director John Skibiak accepted invitations to attend a workshop on the new Dutch Female Condom Initiative, and to visit the offices and manufacturing facilities of the Female Health Company in London. Though the Coalition does not traditionally involve itself in single methods, it is clear that much of the work currently being undertaken within the FC community does have relevance for the broader supplies agenda in manufacturing, supply chain management, and the ethics of method choice and gender equity. For more information, contact the Secretariat.
Coalition welcomes new member to Executive Committee
The European Commission has confirmed the appointment of Antoinette Gosses to the Coalition's Executive Committee. In a letter addressed to the Secretariat, Director Lluis Riera reiterated the importance attached by Commission to the Coalition and to its seat on the Executive Committee. As noted in last month's newsletter, Antoinette replaces Lena Sund who stepped down at the end of August to pursue a new mission in Botswana.
Antoinette comes to the European Commission from Ethiopia where she served for four years as Head of Development Cooperation for the Netherlands Development Programme. Seconded to the Commission by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, she has more than 35 years experience in development cooperation, including gender and governance. Contact the Secretariat for more information.
Systems Strengthening Working Group (SSWG)
A pending supply stock-out has been averted in Rwanda, thanks to the timely intervention of USAID. According to reports from the field, major increases in contraceptive use were threatening to exhaust stocks well before next deliveries were due. During the Countries at Risk (CAR) Group teleconference, USAID announced its decision to move up some scheduled deliveries, thereby solving the problem in the short term. Meanwhile, the effectiveness of the CAR Group should be greatly enhanced by the introduction of USAID | DELIVER's new Procurement Planning and Monitoring report, which will provide detailed data on country stocks and commodity security. The number of countries covered in the new reports will grow each month, with Bangladesh being the first. In the meantime, country supply data will still be available through the old 'CPT status report'. For more details, contact Kevin Pilz.
The terms of reference for the Minimum Volume Guarantee/Pledge Guarantee mechanism study design has been completed by a group of Coalition stakeholders. The group is also close to mobilizing the finances required to issue a request for proposals. Work on the design of the mechanism should start in the last quarter of 2007 for possible implementation in 2008. Contact Wolfgang Bichmann for more information.
Finally, the SSWG has decided to undertake a review of supply chain software tools, with the aim of helping country managers understand what is available and decide on the tools that best serve their needs. The search is underway for a consultant who will undertake two key components of the review process: 1) formulate a common framework for categorizing software solutions by key supply chain function and 2) apply the framework to classify and review existing software tools. In December, UNFPA will host a workshop to finalize the framework, list of tools, and methodology. Contact Alan Bornbusch and Jagdish Upadhyay for more information on the review and/or search for consultants.
Market Development Approaches Working Group (MDA WG)
September saw a major upsurge in activity among the MDA WG as Steve Kinzett, Ben Light, and Lester Chinery took on the task of finalizing the agenda for their MDA meeting on October 1-3 in Washington, DC. The meeting will include three days of discussion, the first of which will feature a manufacturer's forum with selected representatives from Organon, Bayer-Schering, Helm, Famy Care, AltaCare, Fresenius Kabi, and Laboratorios Andromaco. The second day will include a host of presentations on private sector involvement in supplies by groups such as DKT, PSI, Constella-Futures, AED, Chemonics, Marie Stopes International (MSI), Abt Associates, University Research Co., JSI, PATH, and ICON. Day three will entail the formulation of a new WG workplan. A follow-up MDA WG meeting will be held on October 23. For more information, contact Ben Light.
Resource Mobilization and Awareness Working Group (RMA WG)
In September, RMA staff travelled to Tanzania where they met with many RH supply partners including bilateral and multilateral donors, the Ministry of Health, technical agencies, and NGOs. The information gathered will serve as a foundation for country-level advocacy efforts, scheduled to begin in 2008. September also saw the launch of a new e-mail list serve to improve RMA communications.
On September 25, Coalition Partner DSW co-sponsored a Civil Society Forum just prior to the launch of the second Global Fund Replenishment Meeting. The Forum, which assembled 130 civil society representatives, resulted in a series of recommendations to increase civil society involvement in the Global Fund. Meanwhile, RMA WG members continue working to integrate RH into the Global Fund and act upon opportunities to influence Global Fund policy. Advocacy partners are planning a workshop for early 2008 in Africa to apply lessons learned during the Round 7 proposal cycle to the Round 8 cycle.
Project RMA's first regional workshop will take place in early December in Kampala, Uganda. This event, co-hosted by Partners in Population and Development (PPD Africa), will be organised by the East African Reproductive Health Network. Prospective participants include representatives from national governments, regional bodies, international organisations and agencies. This is part of DSW's activities under Project RMA to improve RH supplies through communication on activities, best practices, and lessons learned. The second regional workshop (West Africa) will be held in Burkina Faso in the first quarter of 2008.
Finally, the RMA WG meeting originally scheduled to take place in Washington, DC on Friday, October 26 has been moved forward to the evening of Wednesday, October 24. The meeting will take place at the offices of PAI and will include a review of partner activities, report of Project RMA to the WG, status of advocacy to integrate SRHR into successful Global Fund proposals, and next steps for the advocacy toolkit. Contact Carolyn Vogel for more information.