The Ouagadougou Partnership was launched to accelerate progress in family planning in the nine Francophone West Africa countries.
What’s the Ouagadougou Partnership?
The Ouagadougou Partnership was launched in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in February 2011 at the Regional Conference on Population, Development and Family Planning held by the nine governments of Francophone West African countries and their technical partners and financial resources to accelerate progress in the use of family planning services in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
The Ouagadougou Partnership is based on two principles. It bets on a better coordination between donors, to optimize their support to countries and also on collaboration and cooperation at national and regional levels to avoid high rates of unmet family planning needs. Its vision is a Francophone West Africa where easy access to quality family planning services saves and improves women’s and young people’s lives and serves as a catalyst for sustainable development for all.
The Partnership Coordination Unit, based in Dakar, Senegal, has been responsible since 2011 of coordinating actions and relations between donors and countries in order to achieve the Partnership’s objectives set for 2020, in particular to increase the number of modern contraceptive methods users to at least one million between 2011 and 2015 and 2.2 million between 2016 and 2020.
The Ouagadougou Partnership met and exceeded these goals by helping to reach over 3.8 million additional modern contraceptive methods users in the nine (09) countries.
Its current goal is to reach 13 million modern methods users by 2030, thus doubling the current 6.5 million number.
All technical and financial partners support this initiative. The core partners group consist of the French Development Agency (AFD), the US Agency for International development (USAID), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), the West African Health Organization (WAHO), the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) and the Department for International Development (DFID).
In West Africa, two hundred and twenty-five (225) women die every day while giving birth, and for every woman who dies, there are approximately thirty (30) others who suffer infirmity. These morbidity and mortality rates cause around 5 billion dollars of productivity losses in the region.
This sub-region is also characterized by the highest fertility rates in the world with a very low contraceptive prevalence and an extremely high total fertility rates. About 25% of married women age 15-49 would like to space or limit births but are not using modern contraceptive methods mainly due to the inaccessibility of family planning services.
In West Africa, compared to Anglophone and Lusophone countries, the Francophone countries have the highest rates of maternal and child mortality, the highest fertility rates, and lowest contraceptive prevalence rate.
Moreover, assistance to Sub-Saharan Francophone countries for family planning interventions remains very low. Between 1997 and 2007, this assistance was estimated to be US $ 0.86 per capita compared to US $ 1.25 per capita for Anglophone and Lusophone countries.
The story of a successful partnership
During the first 10 years of the OP contraceptive prevalence rates doubled in most countries. The 9 countries added 4,077,000 million modern contraceptive users bringing the total number of users to 7,033,000 million. 18,848,000 unintended pregnancies averted, 6,697,500 unsafe abortions averted and 63,740 maternal deaths averted.
Taking into account all these advances and the challenges yet to be met, stakeholders are resolutely looking to the next ten years. Innovative strategies have been developed to achieve the ambitious goal of adding 6.5 million additional users by 2030 with a focus on youth, research, social norms, family planning in a recurrent crises context with an increased contribution of Civil society.
At the end of the acceleration phase, precisely in December 2020, the OP reached and exceeded the target of 2.2 million additional users of modern contraceptive methods set, by registering 2.4 million, 184,000 more than expected!
Building on the achievements of the first two phases, and taking stock of persistent challenges and unexplored areas for intervention, the Partnership launched in November 2019 a process named "OP Beyond 2020". This process gave birth to a new vision. This new vision is set to act as a catalyst for a new goal: Reach 13 million total users of modern contraception method by 2030, doubling the current number of 6.5 million.
Two major partners, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) joined the OP.
The partners decided to localize the leadership and management of the Partnership. A new Director, Marie Ba, was appointed to lead a dynamic team, reinforced by Country Liaisons Officers and Youth Leads.
This development has also seen Speak Up Africa, a platform, based in Senegal, dedicated to the implementation of concrete advocacy actions in favor of sustainable development, take over the OPCU support services.
Burkina Faso distinguished itself by taking the decision by decree to make FP free throughout its territory. This decision served as an example to other OP countries. The country had the strongest growth during the acceleration phase with an increase of 4.3% in just 2 years.
A complete and accurate mapping of FP initiatives in the 9 OP countries was established.
Two important events marked the year 2017. The first was the 2nd London Summit during which the Ministers of Health of the nine OP countries reiterated their commitments to family planning and the other was the arrival of two new donors : Canada and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
In 2017, Mauritania adopted the draft law on reproductive health. Senegal reached a contraceptive prevalence rate of 18.5%, doubling that of 2016, which was 9.1%, Côte d'Ivoire has reached and far exceeded its target in terms of additional users. Indeed, out of the 176,400 expected, the country has achieved 271,338, thus exceeding the planned number by 94,938.
The stakeholders marked the end of the "Urgency to Act" phase by celebrating the successes achieved by the nine countries. Indeed, they cumulatively surpassed the goal of 1 million additional users by enrolling 1,306,000 additional users of modern contraceptive methods. With these encouraging results of this first phase, the Ministers of Health of the nine OP countries validated “the acceleration phase”, and set a new goal of reaching 2.2 million additional women by the end of 2020.
To meet the ambition to expand exchange opportunities between the OP stakeholders, the OPCU initiated the Donors' Caravan. It provides an exceptional opportunity to support countries in their efforts to implement CIPs, to celebrate successes, to analyze factors that hinder the acceleration of interventions, and to agree on solutions.
Benin, Mali and Mauritania followed in 2013 and made FP2030 commitments.
The Ouagadougou Partnership Coordination Unit based in Dakar, Senegal, was established with Fatimata Sy as Director. The OPCU is responsible for coordinating the Partnership's actions and relations between donors and countries to achieve its objectives.
It was also in 2012 that the first phase of the OP named "Urgency to act" was launched to enroll 1 million additional users of modern contraceptive methods by the end of 2015. 5.
The Costed Implementation Plans (CIPs) elaboration process also began that same year with partners such as: Health for Policy, FP2030, USAID, Bill and Melinda Gates and UNFPA.
The other major event of 2012 was the launch of FP2020 during the first London Summit where 4 countries: Burkina-Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, and Niger made FP commitments.
The civil society expressed its desire to take part in this noble project. It formed coalitions and received support from the Civil Society for Family Planning (CS4FP), a program funded by the Hewlett Foundation and implemented by IntraHealth International to strengthen the capacity of civil society in OP countries in order to reposition FP.
The nine West African francophone countries and their technical and financial partners decided to invest in FP. They launched the Ouagadougou Partnership in February 2011 at the International Conference on Population and Development in Burkina Faso. This partnership aimed to accelerate progress in the use of family planning services in the sub-region.