Celebrating Advocacy Successes: Advance Family Planning’s Results Snapshot Now Available

Jul 7, 2024

From 2009 to 2023, the Advance Family Planning (AFP) initiative has made significant strides in family planning advocacy, securing vital policy and funding gains. Backed by nearly $100 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, David & Lucile Packard Foundation, and William + Flora Hewlett Foundation, AFP has effectively mobilized and sustained advocacy efforts, amplified advocates’ voices, and spread best practices globally.

Advocacy Achievements

Since its inception in 2009, AFP and its partners have recorded 3,454 advocacy wins. These victories include strengthening and implementing over 935 policies crucial for advancing family planning initiatives. Furthermore, AFP successfully mobilized $185.7 million in funding for family planning since 2012, underscoring the power of strategic advocacy.

SMART Advocacy: A Proven Approach

The SMART Advocacy approach is central to AFP’s success, emphasizing specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound objectives. Over the years, this approach has been refined and applied across various health and development issues, from family planning to gender equality and HIV prevention. The integration of monitoring, evaluation, and learning, along with an objective-centered media advocacy approach, has made SMART Advocacy a cornerstone of AFP’s efforts.

Building a Community of Advocates

AFP has fostered a robust community of advocates. Through the Opportunity Fund, 115 small grants have been awarded to over 72 local organizations, enhancing their capacity to drive change. The initiative has trained 677 individuals in SMART Advocacy and engaged 309 organizations across 42 countries, ensuring a widespread and sustainable advocacy network.

Sustaining Advocacy Wins and Local Ownership

A key indicator of AFP’s success is the sustainability of its advocacy wins. Local advocacy working groups have been formalized, with 98% active over three years and 91% receiving domestic funding support. This local ownership is crucial for the longevity of family planning initiatives and highlights the importance of continued investment in advocacy.

Lessons Learned

AFP’s journey offers several critical lessons for future advocacy efforts:

  1. Devolution is Key: Policy and funding decisions are increasingly made at the subnational level, necessitating local advocacy efforts.
  2. Policy Implementation Matters: Passing policies is the first step; ensuring their implementation is equally important.
  3. Beyond Evidence: Advocacy must connect evidence with decision-makers personal beliefs and objectives.
  4. Local Ownership: Supporting local organizations with unrestricted funding allows them to set priorities and strengthen their capacity.
  5. Monitor Outcomes: Increased funding for monitoring advocacy outcomes is essential to measure impact and progress.

The Path Forward

AFP’s experience proves that sustained advocacy can generate essential funding and political commitment to health despite flat donor funds for health and the distractions of global crises. The network of over 677 SMART Advocates is ready to support organizations in honing their advocacy efforts. Investing in advocates is crucial for realizing national and global health commitments.

For more information on AFP and SMART Advocacy, visit SMART Advocacy.

Read TCI’s Full Supplement in Global Health: Science and Practice

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