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Rutgers at ICFP 2018

The International Conference on Family Planning 2018 took place from November 12 to November 15 in Kigali, Rwanda. Rutgers was leading a number of side events at this conference. We summed up our ICFP experiences in a live-blog, which resulted in an inspiring recap.

Thursday November 15 2018: We have a winner!

SAUTIplus wins Packard Foundation Innovation Challenge
Good news on the last day of ICFP 2018. During the closing ceremony of the conference, the SAUTIplus e-referral cards, were announced finalists in the Packard Foundation Innovation Challenge. The proposal, written by Reach A Hand Uganda (RAHU), Reproductive Health Uganda (RHU) and Rutgers, is now in the running to receive a grant from the foundation. The e-referral cards make it easier for young people in rural Uganda to access youth-friendly SRH services.

Trainers Lab
During the last mini event in the GUSO booth, it was announced that the programme will be launching the innovative online platform Trainers Lab in early 2019. The new platform will help find and support SRHR trainers all over the world.

Wednesday November 14 2018

SheDecides Open House
"We are investing in girls and women to safeguard their present and future", said Rutgers Executive Director Ton Coenen on Wednesday night at the SheDecides Open House. Champions from this movement, that exists to support every woman and girl to unleash her power to decide about her own body, including whether and when to have children, gathered to re-affirm their commitment. The Open House was set up as a creative, immersive environment to connect usual and unusual suspects attending ICFP 2018.

Great Lakes Regional Practitioners Conference Report
Earlier this year, Rutgers co-hosted a regional practitioners conference in Kigali, together with SwissTPH, Cordaid and CARE. Today, at ICFP, the report of this conference was launched. It highlights both the impact of comprehensive sexuality education, as the need to combine it with accessible and quality youth-friendly services in Burundi, DRC and Rwanda.


E-Referral cards
The SAUTIplus e-referral cards are an innovative way of increasing the uptake of quality SRHR services in rural Uganda. The system enables young people seeking SRH services, to access facilities without having to disclose too much personal information. Trained peer educators link up young people to relevant services and information. The cards are part of Rutgers' U-Decide programme, and were presented at ICFP by our partner Reach A Hand Uganda (RAHU).

GUSO Chairs meet in the booth
Why is engaging young people in SRHR programming so important? And how do you it successfully? Four alliance chairs, youth country coordinators and Rutgers Executive Director Ton Coenen, met in the GUSO booth to discuss these questions. “When you exclude young people your results will suffer”, said Alhassan Mohammed Awal, Chair of the Ghana SRHR Alliance. “Always create space for young people in your programme design. To engage them meaningfully, it’s important that young people have a seat at the highest level of decision making.” 

GTA in Pakistan
Senior technical advisor, Jeanette Kloosterman, presented examples of Rutgers work in Pakistan, where fathers and religious leaders take part in gender-transformative sessions to prevent gender-based violence (GBV). Responsible fatherhood, placing men and fathers at the forefront, resulted in positive social change. 39% of young men and women showed more positive attitudes.



Tuesday November 13 2018

“Don’t neglect SRHR issues often left in the margins”
Strategic partnership Right Here Right Now (RHRN) hosted a reception in the evening, which focused on next year’s follow-up of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). Youth leaders from several of RHRN’s platforms, shared stories that underpinned the importance of the ICPD agenda. “We’re glad to be working on sensitive issues, because this is the time: right here, right now”, said Robert Aseda from Kenya. Then, Global Programme Manager, Rose Koenders, handed a copy of RHRN’s ICPD+25 shadow report to UNFPA’s Arthur Erken. “We have two clear messages for you”, she said. “Firstly, involve and invest in civil society and youth. Secondly, don’t neglect SRHR issues often left in the margins: comprehensive sexuality education (CSE), youth-friendly services, safe and legal abortion care and LGBTI rights.”

YCC Chat Room
In the afternoon, four Youth Country Coordinators (YCC), held an open session in the GUSO booth about the importance of youth participations. The audience posed questions about their role and how they can ensure young people, especially from marginalised communities, are included. “GUSO is for young people,” said YCC Eka from Indonesia, “so they should be involved from the design phase to the evaluation, and every step in between. We, as Youth Country Coordinators, make sure they are.”

Amplifying Youth Accountability
Strategic partnership Right Here Right Now, held a session in the GUSO booth titled 'Amplifying Youth Accountability'. Young advocates, as well as members of the steering committee, shared very diverse examples of priority areas and strategies on how to hold leaders to account, to advance the SRHR of young people. 

Launch of Rutgers' evidence-based GTA Toolkit
Rutgers comprehensive toolkit on gender transformative approach enables professionals to implement our evidence-based way of working in SRHR and GBV prevention programmes. The toolkit was officially launched today, with Rutgers Executive Director Ton Coenen handing a first copy to Renet van der Waals of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. GTA trainer Vilmer Bonareri Nyamongo, from Kenya, facilitated an eye-opening exercise from the new toolkit.




Monday November 12 2018

GUSO Booth Opens!
The Get Up, Speak Out for Youth Rights (GUSO) programme has alliances in Africa and Asia working on improving the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people. At ICFP, GUSO the programme hosts its own booth, profiling the important work happening across the seven countries. The booth was opened on Monday afternoon and will host several side events during the week. Delegates can visit the booth to learn more about GUSO, but can also actively ‘get up, speak out’ thanks to a green screen that transports people to history’s most famous protests.

GUSO premieres video
Right after the opening of the GUSO booth, the programme's new video was premiered. Watch it below to find out what Get Up, Speak Out is all about.

Sunday November 11 2018: GEAS Pre-Conference

The official conference is yet to start, but today Rutgers took part in the Global Early Adolescent Study Pre-Conference at the Lemigo Hotel in Kigali. Critical debate was held on the evidence, insights and experiences with gender transformative programming for adolescents, and the conditions needed for success. Two main questions posed were: Are changing gender attitudes enough to make the shift to gender equity? Or are structural approaches more effective?

After the debate, Rutgers co-hosted a reception for the conference delagates. Executive Director Ton Coenen thanked the partners for their participation in the important debate and reiterated the importance of GEAS. He gave a special mention to Olgah Namukuza, GUSO's youth country coordinator from Uganda, who made a very strong case for gender transformative programming, before announcing the launch of Rutgers' comprehensive toolkit on gender transformative approach, this Tuesday at ICFP.

Rutgers is part of GEAS through its programme Explore4Action

Sustainable and equal porgress in SRHR

The ICFP serves as a strategic reflection moment for the family planning and reproductive health community worldwide. At this year’s conference, Rutgers will highlight the importance of involving young people and working on sustainable and equal progress in SRHR. "We are excited to have the opportunity to showcase the global impact of our international programmes, and the unique interlinkage of implementation, research and advocacy that characterises our approach", explains Marieke Ridder, Manager International Programmes at Rutgers. Find out more about Rutgers' activities during ICFP.








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