A regional sharing workshop on the engagement of civil society in the repositioning of Family Planning in West Africa took place from 1 to 3 November in Dakar. Initiated in 2011 by Intrahealth International and funded by the Hewlett Foundation to strengthen civil society engagement in the repositioning of Family Planning (FP), CS4FP (Civil Society for Family Planning) is a coalition of different Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) from five Francophone West African countries namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Senegal.
It is within this framework that the stakeholders met in the Senegalese capital to discuss the successes of the interventions of the coalitions of the CSOs in the process of repositioning of the FP. The objectives of the meeting were also to exchange innovative strategies for the involvement of young people and religious leaders in the repositioning of FP in the countries of the Ouagadougou Partnership (OP), to identify for each coalition country the objectives of Advocacy and priority actions for the 2017-2018 period, to share best practices and finally to exchange views on the functioning and governance of country coalitions.
Dr. Moctar Diallo, CS4FP Regional Coordinator returned to the motivations of such a meeting: » For three decades there have been many programs that have summers launched the PF but we realized that there Had little progress in terms of contraceptive prevalence and even understanding of the value of FP. Hence the strong mobilization of civil society from September 2011 in Saly. Once the Ouagadougou partnership had been put in place, the objective for us was to get this civil society to better engage with governments and to support them in the implementation of the FP action plans. Civil society also has a very important role to play in monitoring governments, to ensure that they comply with the commitments they have made, and also with the technical and financial partners. So we hope that at the end of this workshop we will find an optimal working model for the coalition. We are looking for coalitions that will be operational with a good governance and development framework. «
The member countries presented their coalition activities and their exact role in the repositioning of family planning, respectively. In a country like Mali, collaboration between CSOs and government has allowed the coalition to have more visibility and credibility. The First Lady of Mali has also engaged with these organizations by participating in activities of the recent national campaign for FP.
In Burkina Faso, CSOs participate in the Steering Committee of the Reproductive Health Product Safety Plan. The Burkinabe coalition also supports advocacy for Burkina Faso’s private sector commitment to funding FP.
The meeting also allowed participants to exchange ideas on the best practices of each country through exchanges and working groups created from time to time. The young ambassadors of the Ouagadougou Partnership presented the « activity Saint Valentine without pregnancy » is a campaign organized with the approach of Valentine’s Day and the disclosure is done on social networks.
The opportunity was presented by Mr Senam Beheton, Executive Director of EtriLabs, to acknowledge the commitment of young people and to stress the importance of new information and communication technologies in conveying awareness messages and A large number of public, to strengthen advocacy.
In the Plenary on Regional Initiatives in Family Planning Mr Rodrigue Ngouana, Country Relations Officer of the PO shared the experiences and activities of the Ouagadougou Partnership Coordination Unit and expressed the expectations of the OP In relation to the role of civil society. Mr Ngouana proposed to the coalitions to set up a reflection group and to revisit their fields of intervention in order to optimize the results.
During the three days, the exchanges made it possible to see clearly the concrete actions carried out by the CSOs, but also how to strengthen the coalitions in order to make them more functional. The meeting was closed on Thursday in the presence of Senegalese Minister of Livestock, Mrs Aminata Mbengue Ndiaye, replacing her colleague from the Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene prevented.