A supportive policy environment is key to improving the health and well-being of societies and populations. Avenir Health contributes towards enabling policy environments for health and development programs by training and supporting country partners in their advocacy efforts and programs. These programs provide information to high level national and decentralized decision-makers in a variety of formats and venues. Our staff has implemented and supported advocacy activities at the international, national, and sub-national levels that have resulted in policy development and reform, improved financing, policy evaluation, and more effective implementation of policies and national strategic plans.
Avenir Health’s distinctive approach to advocacy is to focus on developing and using data driven messages and concepts. This includes creating innovative ways of using and presenting data that produce messages that clearly illustrate technical concepts, problems that require policy solutions, and the impact of policy decisions. Data is drawn from national and local surveys, scientifically reviewed studies, and Avenir Healths projection models. This innovative approach allows us to create messages that are relevant to a variety of audiences and can be delivered in multiple formats, from giving presentations to high level officials to having one-on-one or small group strategic dialogue sessions with key stakeholders.
Avenir Health contributes towards building the capacity of individuals and organizations from the government, the private and NGO sectors, and civil society in developing countries to advocate for improved health systems and increased attention to critical health interventions, such as family planning and HIV prevention and treatment services. Over the years these activities have created a cadre of advocates that continue to positively impact their communities and countries.
Avenir Health implements an advocacy project that supports the Gates Foundation’s Urban Reproductive Health Initiative by building strong commitment and support among national and municipal leaders. The project is in twenty-four cities, six in each of the following countries: India, Kenya, Nigeria, and Senegal. The project develops and disseminates advocacy materials and activities that highlight the negative impact of rapid population growth on overall development. This will include the development of multiple city level RAPID presentations that will be used by both Avenir Health and the country consortiums implementing service related activities. In year one Avenir Health completed baseline assessments in the four countries that collected information on opinions of leaders, current state of the policy environment around family planning, and performed a policy mapping. The information is currently being used in developing themes and messages to be included in the RAPID presentations.
The project is also experimenting with new and innovative ways of transmitting information and messages. This includes integration of dynamic and interactive software into standard PowerPoint presentations and development of standalone tools.
Avenir Health is also building national capacity in each of the four countries by contracting local organizations and building their capacity to implement evidence based, innovative advocacy activities that target relevant decision makers and directly supports both supply and demand activities. Avenir Health has also provided technical support to the implementing country consortiums including data utilization workshops, projections for estimating commodity needs, and estimating potential markets of population sub-groups.
In partnership with Futures Group, Avenir Health is providing technical support to seven Ouagadougou Partnership countries (Niger, Togo, Guinea, Benin, Mali, Mauritania, and Cote d’Ivoire) to produce strategic family planning action plans. Each country is led through a process that brings together country partners who then critically examine the current family planning environment through a comprehensive diagnostic analysis, identify strategic priorities, specify activities that are aimed at addressing existing barriers to family planning services, and produce a comprehensive, multi-level monitoring plan. The results is that each country has a costed, strategic plan that is endorsed by the government, multi-lateral agencies, implementing partners, donors, and other partners.
The Track20 Project, implemented by Avenir Health, monitors progress towards achieving the goals of the global FP2020 initiative. The project supports national efforts to collect, analyze and use data to track progress in family planning and develop effective program strategies and plans. This is achieved by working with governments to transform current practices that rely heavily on large national household surveys conducted every five years or so to a system in which data collected by governments are used to produce annual estimates on a range of key indicators including modern contraceptive prevalence, commodity security, choice, quality and FP expenditures. This approach will make greater use of service statistics and other data collected through the public and private sector taking into account their limitations and will work with governments to install an annual process that reviews the data and issues official estimates.
Avenir Health is a subcontractor to EngenderHealth on the AGIR-PF Project. AGIR-PF aims to increase access and quality of family planning services in urban and peri-urban areas in five West African countries (Togo, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Mauritania, and Niger). The project focuses on service delivery components and the improvement in the enabling environment in all countries through improved policies and greater political commitment. Avenir Health is supporting the policy and advocacy activities through the development of innovative tools, materials, and analysis that advocates for a strong, sustained political commitment for family planning.
Under an Associates Award for the RESPOND Project, Avenir Health is a subcontractor to EngenderHealth on the Mayer Hashi Project in Bangladesh. Mayer Hashi supports the implementation of quality family planning programs, with an emphasis on long-acting reversible and permanent methods of contraception, through both facility and community based programs. Avenir Health provides support for advocacy activities that follow a strategic and data informed approach toward improving the enabling environment. Avenir Health also provides technical assistance to use tools for planning at both the decentralized and national levels.