IUSSP Urban Family Planning Fellows participate in the 9th Africities Summit in Kisumu, Kenya 17-21 May 2022
One of the objectives of the IUSSP project on Elevating Urban Family Planning is to inform urban planners and policy makers about the contributions of family planning to making cities sustainable and resilient. What better place for the IUSSP Scientific Panel on Family Planning, Fertility and Urban Development and the Urban FP Fellows to communicate the results of family planning research than the 9th Africities Summit in Kisumu, Kenya.
Africities is a Pan Africa conference convened by the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG-A) to bring together the leadership of cities and sub-national governments and their associations for the advancement of decentralization and local governance aimed at improving the living standards of citizens. The Summit included upwards of 11,000 onsite and virtual participants.
The IUSSP organized two 3-hour sessions on "Family Planning is critical to urban development: What you need to know and what you can do about it" in collaboration with The Challenge Initiative (TCI) on 18 May. The Honorable Esther Passaris, Nairobi County Women Representative, chaired both sessions. The speakers included IUSSP Urban Family Planning Fellows and Panel members, elected officials who have championed family planning initiatives in their local communities, and representatives from TCI and the Ouagadougou Partnership. IUSSP members presented evidence on the causes of rapid population growth in Africa’s urban areas and the ways family planning can contribute to urban development; while local leaders and TCI representatives discussed the measures they implemented to improve access to family planning services in their communities, and why this is important. Click here to see presentation videos and powerpoints.
The sessions opened with a video entitled "When Urban Development meets Family Planning" produced by Faireprod for the IUSSP Panel in collaboration with TCI, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP), and the Union for African Population Studies (UAPS). Trudy Harpham, IUSSP scientific advisory panel co-chair, coordinated the development of the video and also worked with the session presenters to ensure complementary among the speakers.
This was an ideal opportunity for IUSSP fellows and researchers to discuss with policy makers and local officials. At the end of the session the participants with the assistance of APHRC worked on a declaration and set of recommendations to guide UCLG-A’s future work. The issues and information presented in the sessions along with a well-developed press release attracted the attention of reporters attending the event. The press release and the sessions themselves resulted not only in a feature article in the Africities Summit newsletter but also in a number of articles in the national and international press including:
Participation in the Africities Summit was an opportunity for the fellows to put into practice the many skills the fellowship programme sought to develop including effectively communicating scientific evidence to a non-academic audience, engaging with city level policy makers and leaders, and making the urban planning and development community aware of family planning’s contributions to urban sustainability.
Following a day of sessions, APHRC's communications staff led a refresher training workshop for the fellows on policy engagement and communications. Over the past 2 years, APHRC trainers have worked with the fellows on improving their presentation style to more effectively communicate their research results, especially to policy makers.
It was the first time many of the fellows had an opportunity to spend time in person together since the programme began in 2019. The fellows ended the session with a discussion on how the virtual training activities, along with their work with policy makers and community leaders had improved their communication skills and built their confidence to communicate the policy relevant results of their research.
Kudos to the Urban FP fellows, the IUSSP Panel members and coordinator, Judith Helzner, who worked from afar as she was unable to travel to Kisumu, and the trainers at APHRC for organizing the sessions at Africities. This project is funded by a grant to the IUSSP from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.