INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE FOR FAMILY PLANNING, KIGALI, RWANDA NOVEMBER, 2018

We were delegates at the International Conference for Family Planning 2018. With support from Population Reference Bureau, we screened our video on child marriage in northern Nigeria and talked about adolescent and young people sexual and reproductive health and rights in Africa between 12-15 November. We had opportunities to discuss communities can be involved in amplifying reproductive health advocacy, information and services especially in rural communities in northern Nigeria at the PRB Booth.

At the official launch of the ICFP 2018 with the theme “Investing in a Lifetime of Returns” focused on how nations and organizations can support SRHR issues.

Highlights of our activities were:

Meeting with the Population Reference Bureau President, Jeff. And the President and CEO of DKT International Chris Purdy discussing contraceptive use in the context of northern Nigeria and use of data to inform family planning interventions which Population Reference Bureau provides.

We were together with the Country Director of IPAS Nigeria, Mrs. Hauwa Shekarau. IPAS works in 3 continents with over 40 years of experience helping to improve health systems ability to provide safe abortion services. They help improve reproductive health knowledge and as well work on sexual and reproductive rights advocacy.

We attended the day 2 plenary on “Investing in Family Planning for a Lifetime of Returns” moderated by Dr. Chris Elias (President of Global Development Division for Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation). It was an informative plenary that focused on the vast returns on investment in family planning both locally and globally. It was very clear that women empowerment is very important in improving the human capital index of any nation.

The first discussants at the plenary included Dr. Uzziel Ndagijimana, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning of Rwanda; Ernesto Pernia, Director of National Economic and Development Authority of the Philippines; and Ms. Kate Hampton, CEO of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation. This discussion highlighted the role of policies, practice and the demographic dividend in the return on investment in family planning.

The second roundtable included invited discussants Dr. Hans-Peter Kohler of the University of Pennsylvania and Ms. Jane Nyathi, a selected ICFP Youth Leader who is a District Facilitator with FHI360 in Zimbabwe.

The “Women of Impact: Global Leaders Creating Positive Change” was one of the best sessions at the conference. The panel discussion focused on women in leadership roles around the world who are agents of change in their communities and countries. Through their philanthropic achievements, work within humanitarian settings, youth outreach efforts and beyond, women have impacted the family planning, economic empowerment and social justice fields in extraordinary ways. These high-profile female leaders from the social, economic and political spheres discussed how to create a culture that empowers women to become positive disruptors. The panel included: Her Excellency, Mrs. Jeannette Kagame, First Lady of the Republic of Rwanda; Her Excellency, Martine Moise, First Lady of Haiti; Her Royal Highness, Sarah Zeid, Princess of Jordan; and Her Excellency, Toyin Ojora Saraki, Founder of the Wellbeing Foundation, and Wife of the Senate President, Federal Republic of Nigeria. The session was chaired by Dr. Alma Golden, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator, USAID Bureau for Global Health.

We attended the Population Reference Bureau’s session on “People and Planet” in which Burkina Faso Reference Group meets to lead the way in Universal Healthcare and family planning.

At the end of the 2nd day of the conference, we celebrated with our esteemed Prof. Oladapo A. Ladipo and Chief Dr. Ebun Delano of ARFH on their lifetime achievement awards on family planning and reproductive health.

On the 3rd day of the conference, we attended the youth plenary where energetic, passionate and powerful youths who will inherit the world are already taking action to promote and advocate for increased investment and access to services and products for Universal Healthcare and Family Planning.

We screened our #SpeakUp video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DvWidLqycM and had over 40 people from across the world who dropped by to watch. We had the then Kano State Director of Public Health and Disease Control, Dr. Tijjani Hussaini who watched our video and pledged to use his office to support and accelerate & promote advocacy for the passage of the child protection bill.

We also met with Senator Dr. Jean-Damascene Ntawukuliryayo who described to us how the leadership in the Rwandan parliament integrates population, health and environment from top-down. Also, at this engagement was Dr. Margaret Edison, an Assistant Director, Planning and Research at the National Population Commission, Nigeria.

The closing of the ICFP 2018 ended with style with awards and recognitions to countries, teams and individuals whom have dedicated themselves to advocating better access to sexual and reproductive health services and performances from Yvonne Chaka Chaka and a host of youth artistes. The team also visited historical sites like the Kigali Memorial at the close of the event.