In Niger, R4S is engaged in four activities: 1) a mixed methods study to advance understanding of self-care, 2) country equity working group, 3) capturing COVID-19’s impact on FP service delivery and use, and 4) supporting the development of a family planning research and learning agenda (RLA). These activities are part of the four R4S portfolios below. 

Self-Care Portfolio

R4S’ Self-Care Portfolio includes activities aimed at deepening understanding of self-care through a people-centered approach. Countries increasingly seek to integrate self-care into FP policies and programs. But there is little evidence available to create an enabling environment for self-care programming, despite the growing appreciation that self-care is a culturally relative concept. R4S has designed and implemented studies to capture attitudes, preferences and intentions regarding FP self-care from women, men and providers. 

1. R4S is conducting this mixed-method study in Nepal, Niger, and Uganda is to advance understanding of self-care among potential end-users and providers and identify opportunities and barriers for advancing self-care programming. R4S has consulted with the Self-Care Trailblazers Group (SCTG) to ensure that the work complements global and country priorities, and with the MOH and other stakeholders in each country on needs and priorities related to advancing self-care. The study was conducted in 2022-early 2023. Country dissemination in Nepal took place in June and July 2023. 

Equity Portfolio

This portfolio seeks to advance the inclusion and measurement of equity considerations in FP program design, implementation, and monitoring. It brings together country-level efforts to define and measure equity in FP and identify strategies for monitoring when, where and how inequities shift, and global-level efforts to establish the FP/RH Equity Working Group to serve as a hub for thought leadership and knowledge sharing between national, regional, and global-level actors.  

2. R4S supported Niger to establish a country equity group and continues to support its operation. This is part of the Equity portfolio, which builds upon the country-level equity analyses and discussions that were part of the RLAs in four countries (Nepal, Malawi, Niger, and Uganda). The country equity groups work to define, measure and monitor equity in family planning. R4S partner EVIHDAF assists Niger in the equity analysis and dissemination of findings.   

COVID-19 Portfolio

The COVID-19 Portfolio was developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. R4S designed and implemented studies aimed at capturing the pandemic’s impact on FP service delivery and use, as well as documenting and disseminating the lessons learned from program adaptations. Knowledge generated can be used to support mitigation strategies for COVID-19 and future epidemics and emergencies.  

3. To assess the impact of COVID-19 on FP service delivery and use, R4S worked with Viamo to leverage their 3-2-1 Interactive Voice Response (IVR) platform to deploy a panel survey efficiently and safely with women in Nepal, Niger, Malawi, and Uganda. Women who accessed content via their mobile phone on any topic through the 3-2-1 service were recruited for a brief survey. For those completing the survey, and eligible for a panel survey, they were re-contacted through a series of outbound surveys.   This allowed for the documentation of FP access and use over time among the same women, as well as an assessment of barriers to care. Results are presented in this dashboard – COVID-19 Dashboard – and summarized in this blog: What Did We Learn? Women’s Experiences with Family Planning Access and Use During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Country RLAs

This activity supports countries to develop family planning research and learning agendas (RLAs) that will help them meet their national FP program goals.  It also helps to identify research questions that R4S can answer and programmatic and policy areas for which R4S can help produce, synthesize, or apply evidence to improve outcomes. 

4. R4S supported the development of the FP research and learning agenda in Niger, among other countries, via a multi-phase process that involved the review and analysis of data, consultation with local experts, and convening stakeholders to define concrete questions to guide family planning research and ultimately programming. The RLA for Niger was posted to the MOH website in May 2021 and shared broadly with partners. Elements of the RLA were incorporated into the FP Division’s annual workplan and referenced in the country’s costed implementation plan. In October 2022 the Niger RLA was presented at the Ouagadougou Partnership (OP) regional workshop on FP research and will serve as an example for the development of RLAs in other OP countries. R4S partner EVIHDAF supports the MOH in continued dissemination efforts. Details about the process, country context, and main takeaways is found here: FP Research and Learning Agendas and summarized in this blog: Towards 2030 and Beyond.

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