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PACE: Policy, Advocacy, and Communication Enhanced for Population and Reproductive Health

PACE and our local partners build champions, bridge sectors, and distill evidence to ensure that family planning, reproductive health, and population issues are recognized as key to sustainable and equitable economic growth and development.

USAID

The Challenge

Over the last two decades, many countries have realized remarkable increases in the use of modern contraception. More women and couples are using effective methods to choose when and how many children to have—benefiting their health, their children’s health, and their families’ economic prospects. However, this progress varies regionally and within countries, and demand for voluntary family planning is not fully satisfied in many USAID priority countries. To meet this need, development partners and national advocates are mobilizing to ensure that governments honor the policy, financial, and other commitments made through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Family Planning 2020 partnership, and other initiatives.

Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the PACE Project—Policy, Advocacy, and Communication Enhanced for Reproductive Health—ensures these commitments are met at the global, national, and decentralized levels by strengthening capacities in advocacy, policy communication, and negotiation; building bridges between sectors with integrated approaches such as population, health, and environment and efforts to amplify understanding of the benefits of age-structure change across development sectors; and analyzing, distilling, and disseminating evidence and data to engage policy and advocacy audiences to act. PACE integrates the cross-cutting themes of gender, youth, and equity throughout all activities.

Our Approach

PACE activities ensure that family planning, reproductive health, and population issues are at the heart of policies and programs and are recognized as key to sustainable and equitable economic growth and development. Through PACE, PRB can help countries achieve Family Planning 2020 commitments, end preventable child and maternal deaths, and reach the SDGs.

Since the project’s launch in 2015, PACE has advanced political and financial commitments for family planning and reproductive health across 20 countries. In 2020, the project was extended so we can continue to:

  • Interpret data to provide the “so what”—the underlying stories and their implications for policy action.
  • Communicate complex concepts such as the demographic dividend through well-crafted analyses and accessible presentations.
  • Train print, broadcast, and digital journalists to ensure high-quality, relevant, and accurate stories are told about population dynamics, family planning, and reproductive health.
  • Build the skills of new cadres of family planning champions and advocates to use cutting edge tools to ensure advocacy campaigns achieve their objectives.
  • Develop new leaders in family planning and reproductive health through our policy communication trainings.
  • Explain links among population, health, and the environment to inform integrated programs.
  • Sharpen the gender lens and highlight gender’s critical role for nongovernmental organizations, countries, and communities.
  • Ensure that local governments increase financial commitments to family planning, in line with the needs of their populations.
  • Engage religious leaders in support of family planning and reproductive health.

PACE’s intensive capacity strengthening positions partners and individuals, including new cadres of champions, to implement and advocate for multisectoral development solutions that make tangible contributions to countries’ Journey to Self-Reliance (J2SR). Our approach adapts to our partners and is premised on sustainable engagement driven by their needs. We are an active part of the communities we serve, listening and working together.

Across several multisectoral approaches to development—including population, environment, and development (PED); gender; and the demographic dividend—PACE plays a critical role by providing technical expertise; identifying, training, and convening champions; and developing and disseminating cutting-edge knowledge.

PACE generates innovative approaches to analyze, synthesize, and communicate data and information to decisionmakers. PACE co-creates tools and products and applies fresh dissemination approaches in collaboration with local partners, and leads efforts to increase the use and application of data for policymaking.

PRB’s East Africa office, based in Nairobi, oversees PACE’s largest country program in Kenya, a multipronged effort supporting partners across sectors and geographies to create an enabling environment for prioritizing family planning and reproductive health and contribute to implementation of the J2SR.

Impact

PACE’s Budget Advocacy Drives Adoption of Family Planning Line Item and Increases in Samburu County’s Health Budget Allocations

For family planning advocates, no greater success exists than a dedicated and adequately funded line item in the health budget. PACE’s strategic approach to budget advocacy has paid off in Samburu County, Kenya, where concerted advocacy activities led to a first-ever budget line item for family planning, as well as an increased percentage of the county’s budget allocated to health in FY 2020/21. Over a period of months, PACE facilitated workshops to support the county health management team (CHMT), sector working groups, and departmental representatives to identify priorities for county budgeting. This continuous engagement with the CHMT has enabled them to effectively advocate to the Finance Department and County Assembly for increased funding for health and a new budget line valued at approximately $112,000 for family planning.

PACE-Trained Youth Advocates Achieve Policy Pledges in Nigeria

Nigerian youth advocates trained by PACE secured policy commitments from local leaders by creating videos focused on ending child marriage and increasing access to family planning services. BCAI, a youth-led organization launched with support from PACE, aided local youth advocates to widely disseminate the videos across popular social media platforms and in community-level policy dialogues with seven influential leaders from both the traditional and political governing structures in northern Nigeria. Following their outreach, the governor of Kano State made a public declaration to end child marriage by committing his support to the Child Protection Bill. While the legislation is still pending, sections of the bill that provide for compulsory schooling for all children as a method to reduce child marriage have been adopted into a state-level policy.

 

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