Updates from the International Conference on Family Planning – a focus on young people

Gabrielle Appleford, independent consultant and member of our A360 evaluation team, is at the International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) in Kigali this week. Over the next few days, she’ll be blogging on what she’s seeing and learning at the conference – read on below…

Day 1

I’m attending the ICFP in Kigali, Rwanda, where youth and adolescents are top of the agenda. The ICFP started on Sunday with a series of youth-side events, followed by a youth congress. At the side events, there were many roundtables with young and old participants alike engaged in dialogue and using stick it notes. These were covering the walls!

On Monday, the WHO had a full day session on their new tools and guidelines. These have been developed for best practices in family planning, including adolescent programming. Chandra Moulli gave a very compelling presentation on why adolescents, why now. He highlighted interventions that don’t work and promising practices that have been shown to work. He featured Ethiopia in his presentation as a country that has managed to ‘bend the curve’ in meeting adolescent contraceptive needs through the national Health Extension Programme.

As I write, I am in the youth space, the only place with a free chair. I’ll soon have to give way for the DJ!

Day 2

Presenting during the poster session

Youth and adolescents were still high on the agenda on the Tuesday of the conference. A breakfast session was held, hosted by Marie Stopes International and WHO. This session was in a quiz format asking important questions in relation to adolescent contraception. Country experience from Zambia, Kenya and Burkina Faso was shared. This emphasized the importance of context as well as engagement with adolescent girl influencers – to address her ‘circle of influence’.

The poster session came next which I ‘manned’ for three hours. The biggest challenge was hanging the poster! This required teamwork and a couple of tall men…at various points (as the poster came down once), I had support from Somalia, Egypt, Pakistan and South Africa – true united nations teamwork! Several people, including Ethiopia Ministry of Health representatives, came by to discuss the poster on ‘Get Smart – learning and partnership with Ethiopia’s Health Extension Programme to re-envision contraceptive service delivery to young couples.’ Others came by to discuss human centred design and the challenges of eliciting insights from adolescents.

Gabrielle Appleford, November 2018