Johns Hopkins University's Advance Family Planning advocacy project began as a program to establish women's reproductive health networks and strengthen sustainable family planning and reproductive health advocacy programs in Africa, Indonesia, Pakistan, and India. With a recent $24 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the project will continue beyond its original three-year plan.
When Johns Hopkins University began its Advance Family Planning project, it received a combined $12 million in grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates and the David and Lucile Packard Foundations. In late 2012, as the project was nearing its three-year mark, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation decided to throw in for $24 million more. Since the foundation's $24 million grant is over five years, it's safe to assume that Johns Hopkins will continue to advocate for women's family planning and reproductive rights in Africa, Indonesia, Pakistan, and India.
The University's objectives are threefold:
- Strengthen sustainable family planning/reproductive health advocacy in Tanzania, Uganda, and Indonesia
- Provide cutting-edge technology to existing family planning reproductive health facilities and programs in India, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, and Senegal
- Give the women living in southern African countries a big, collective voice through its Voices from the South and South-to-South initiatives
The purpose of the southern African-based initiatives is that while studies have documented a need for family planning and reproductive health services in South African countries, these needs go unmet. A Dutch Ambassador of the U.N. states, "We hear from European governments. We hear from NGOs from the North. We don't hear from the South, from the countries affected by our decisions."
The Advance Family Planning advocacy program uses a "one-two punch" approach to affecting the much-needed family planning and reproductive health changes in these areas of the world. It begins with evidence gathering and ends with local community "champions," who act on behalf of the many voices of their communities when presenting this evidence to policymakers.
In addition to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant, the Advance Planning program also received $2 million from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Let's see. Microsoft, Packard, and Hewlett — we're sensing a computer-based theme here. Those techies sure know how to give.
Related: Trevor Mundel