IUSSP Collaboration with The Challenge Initiative


Session on Data: Moderator Clea Finkle with presenters Ilene Speizer, Siddarth Agarwal, Beth Blauer, Zeba Sathar, and Thoai D. Ngo


The IUSSP Panel on Family Planning, Fertility and Urban Development* was invited to participate in a Pre-Conference to the International Conference on Family Planning at the Lemigo Hotel in Kigali, Rwanda on 11-12 November. The pre-Conference was co-organized with the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and The Challenge Initiative (TCI) on the theme of Transforming Cities and Saving Lives: Making the Case for Urban Reproductive Health


The Pre-conference brought together over 300 researchers and policy makers as well as advocates and family planning implementors from TCI network cities to discuss the critical role of urban reproductive health to the goal of sustainable cities and urban health (Sustainable Development Goal 11) covering  issues specific to the reproductive health needs of people living in rapidly growing urban cities. (Click on colored text to view individual presentations. A link to all presentations is provided at the end of this article.)

IUSSP President Tom LeGrand gave an opening welcome.  IUSSP Panel member, Sue Parnell (University of Cape Town/University of Bristol) along with Susan Mercado, Special Envoy of the President for Global Health Initiatives in the Philippines, opened with keynotes on the challenges of rapid urbanization. IUSSP Panel members Zeba Sathar and Ilene Speizer contributed their expertise to a panel on Advancing health in cities and urban slums through the use of data that also included Siddarth Agarwal, Beth Blauer, Thaoi d. Ngo.  

The Pre-conference was an opportunity to learn more about TCI, which was launched in 2016 to build on the success of the Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (URHI). Currently TCI is implementing projects to rapidly scale-up access to family planning by the urban poor in 74 cities in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. A key element of TCI is the requirement that cities self-select to participate by putting up their own funds to implement family planning programmes. TCI provides additional financial support and technical coaching to assist in the implementation of family planning programs. For more information on TCI view their video below.


See also:



Slideshow of key highlights  




*This activity is funded by a grant (OPP1179495) from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to IUSSP to support a 4-year project to produce policy-relevant evidence on the effects of family planning and fertility change on urban welfare. The grant will provide fellowships to early-to-mid career researchers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia to conduct research. The project includes mentoring and training activities as well as funds for policy outreach at local, national and international levels. The ultimate aim of the project is to raise awareness of the contributions of family planning to sustainable cities among urban planners and policy makers and to put family planning on the urban policy agenda where it has been largely absent.