All in a (half-) Day’s Work: Making the Case for Monitoring Implementation of Family Planning 

A Recap of the IBP Track’s Pre-conference in Pattaya, Thailand 

Sarah Brittingham, Senior Technical Officer, FHI 360

As part of the IBP Network’s pre-conference at ICFP, the FHI 360’s R4S project, in collaboration with several IBP member organizations, hosted a half-day workshop on Monitoring Implementation of Family Planning Practices in Pattaya, Thailand last month. The event brought together stakeholders from across the globe to reflect on why monitoring implementation of FP practices is important and to explore how to do this by identifying current gaps and challenges and sharing promising strategies with each other. The session was designed to be highly interactive and participatory, using an array of knowledge sharing techniques. This blog will highlight the different techniques we used to engage our participants. Ultimately, the pre-conference set out to move the community toward harmonized measurement standards for implementation of FP practices to further scale-up and impact. 

After remarks from Dr. Montien Kanasawadse, Deputy Director-General at the Department of Health in Thailand, highlighting key successes in Thailand’s FP program, stakeholders who weren’t able to join us in person in Thailand presented some opening thoughts via a short video, with a focus on why monitoring implementation is important and what the key challenges are. The video helped bring in perspectives from eight countries, setting the stage for the rest of the day’s discussions.  

Next, we moved to ponder key questions in small groups. Using flipcharts, participants discussed what they currently monitor, what they’d like to monitor, challenges, and support needed. This activity helped to build rapport amongst the participants, get people moving (many had traveled 30+ hours and had a time difference of 12 hours with their home countries!), and provided opportunities to coalesce around the technical content they would spend the afternoon chewing on.  

Sophie Chabeda, from Kenya’s International Centre for Reproductive Health then introduced priority domains for monitoring implementation: 

  • horizontal scale, including reach to certain populations,  
  • vertical scale,
  • cost, and
  • fidelity

using immediate post-partum family planning as an example of how each of these domains could be meaningfully monitored. To further develop the concept and suit different learning styles, participants worked together to define core components of immediate post-partum family planning by reviewing portions of published assessments in small groups.  

To move this knowledge to practice, our next technical focus was the how of monitoring implementation. Experts in various methodologies hosted tables in both French and English in a knowledge café format, sharing concrete tips and tools in small groups, on these topics: 

  1. using routine data such as HMIS,  
  1. facility assessment for quality,  
  1. collecting and using cost information,  
  1. Matrix Tools for Linking Guidance with HIPs 
  1. most significant change for process,  
  1. adaptive implementation and  
  1. the change-oriented approach 
  1. and assessing technical design of policy/planning, which was a last-minute offering from one of our pre-conference participants, Polly Walker (VSO), pictured below.  

After a presentation on how to fail fast and adapt by Ruwaida Salem (Knowledge SUCCESS/JHUCCP), Tanaka Chirombo, a youth trailblazer, hosted a panel with several of our knowledge café hosts. They shared examples of how the methodologies they shared in the knowledge café had led to adjustments of ongoing implementation of FP interventions as well as challenges to applying the methodologies.  

Closing words on monitoring implementation were shared from three vantage points – the country level (Rogers Kagimu, M&E Officer at Ministry of Health, Uganda and Track20), the regional level (presented by Amplify FP Project’s Chief of Party, Dr. Frank Aguima Tankoano), and globally (Dr. Abdulmumin Saad, Senior Program Officer, Impact at Scale at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation). Speakers advocated for harmonization to allow for comparison and learning across regions, projects, and countries, to improve implementation, and ultimately to improve outcomes. 

In the four-hour pre-conference session, we leveraged a wide array of knowledge sharing techniques to deliver technical information about monitoring implementation of family planning. Flowing between technical content and delivery formats, we were able to keep people engaged (and awake!) for the session, priming them for the rest of the conference. 

Following the event, participants were welcomed at the IBP reception where they enjoyed the beautiful view of Pattaya’s harbor, delicious food and drink, music, and opportunities to network with colleagues new and old before the conference opened the following day. 

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