KEEPING HUMAN RIGHTS AT THE CENTER
The FP2020 movement is grounded in a human rights-based approach to family planning. That means investing in programs that honor the rights of individuals to decide, freely and for themselves, whether and when to have children. It means respecting the agency of women and girls, and empowering them with full information about contraception, universal access to services and supplies, and a wide range of choices. But how can policymakers and administrators be sure to incorporate these principles in their programs?
In the wake of the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning, researchers from Futures Group, EngenderHealth and the Gates Foundation set out to answer that question. The resulting Voluntary Family Planning Programs that Respect, Protect, and Fulfill Human Rights: A Conceptual Framework was published in August 2013. The framework presents a practical, holistic approach to developing and evaluating family planning programs through a human rights lens. Over the past year, the process of operationalizing the framework at the country level has begun. In India and Kenya, national and regional stakeholders met with members of the Futures Group/EngenderHealth team in early 2014 to discuss applying the rights- based framework to their family planning programs. These consultations led to the development of a user’s guide, designed to help stakeholders translate the principles in the framework into specific program activities. The Voluntary Family Planning Programs that Respect, Protect, and Fulfill Human Rights: A Conceptual Framework User’s Guide (September 2014) contains an orientation module and a program planning module that covers program assessment, design, monitoring and evaluation and accountability.
The orientation module was field-tested in Togo, where EngenderHealth is applying the rights framework to the USAID-funded Agir pour la Planification Familiale and Fistula Care Plus projects. It received another trial run in Uganda, during an August 2014 workshop conducted by EngenderHealth and the Ministry of Health (with support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and USAID). The purpose of the workshop was to integrate rights into existing programs; the workshop also helped ministry officials understand how to follow through with the rights-based language included in draft versions of their Family Planning Costed Implementation Plan (FP CIP). The resulting recommendations will be included in the final FP CIP.
WHO GUIDANCE ON RIGHTS-BASED FAMILY PLANNING
In March 2014, WHO launched a new guidance, Ensuring Human Rights in the Provision of Contraceptive Information and Services,86 designed to help countries make sure that human rights are respected in family planning programs. The guidance recommends that every person who wants contraception should be able to obtain accurate information and a variety of services and products. It also underlines the need for no discrimination, coercion or violence, with special attention given to ensuring access for those who are disadvantaged and marginalized. To implement the guidance, UNFPA and WHO are developing an operationalization guide that will be launched in countries at the end of 2014.
84. Hardee, K, Newman, K, Bakamjian, L, Kumar, J, Harris, S, Rodriguez, M, and Willson, K., Voluntary Family Planning Programs that Respect, Protect, and Fulfill Human Rights: A Conceptual Framework, Washington, DC: Futures Group. 2013. Now published in Studies in Family Planning: Hardee, K., Kumar, J., Newman, K., Bakamjian, L. Harris, S., Rodríguez, M., and Brown, W. 2014. Voluntary, Human Rights–Based Family Planning: A Conceptual Framework. Studies in Family Planning Volume 45, Issue 1.
85. http://www.futuresgroup.com/files/publications/Voluntary_ Rights-Based_FP_Users_Guide_FINAL.pdf
86. http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/ family_planning/human-rights-contraception/en/