First day of the Ouagadougou Partnership Donors’ caravan in Burkina-Faso.

After Niger, Ouagadougou Partnership (OP) donors are currently in Burkina Faso, the second leg of their caravan. Burkina Faso has made great strides in family planning in recent years. In 2016, it set a target of 78,000 additional women using modern contraceptive methods by 2020 counting for the OP acceleration phase. It surpassed that target by reaching an additional 98,000 women, and thus became OP’s largest contributor of additional users last year. The contraceptive prevalence rate is currently 22.5%, one of the highest in the Ouagadougou Partnership. However, the rate of unmet needs remains unchanged since 2012 at 26% and the fertility rate is still high with about 6 children per woman.

It’s in this context that the donors’ delegation, consisting of representatives of Gates and Hewlett Foundations, USAID, France, Canada, the World Bank and many others, began their visit in Burkina Faso. The purpose of the visit is to listen to Burkina Faso stakeholders on their progress and challenges, make field visits in order to see Family Planning services in action, and advocate with decision makers for a better investment in Family Planning.

The visit began Thursday afternoon with a meeting with ambassadors of the United States, France and Canada. The UNFPA regional representative also joined the meeting at the local UNFPA office. Ambassadors Andrew Young (USA), Vincent le Pape (Canada) and Xavier Lapeyre de Cabanes (France), took the floor to welcome the caravan participants and present the positions of their respective governments in the areas of family planning, reproductive health and development in general. Perri Sutton of the Gates Foundation, acting as the donors’ spokesperson, thanked ambassadors before presenting the objectives of the caravan to advocate for all women who want to, to choose the contraceptive methods that suit them. The UNFPA regional representative, Mabingue Ngom, emphasized the African Union’s roadmap for capturing the demographic dividend through investment in youth. Other speakers, including Fatimata Sy, Director of the Ouagadougou Partnership Coordination Unit (UCPO), also took the floor. Mrs Sy explained the history of the OP movement and highlighted the great progress made by the countries but also the challenges still to be overcome in order to achieve the objectives of the acceleration phase by 2020.

Canada, which just joined the Ouagadougou Partnership, was warmly welcomed by all participants for its political and financial commitment to the reproductive health of women, youth and the sexual rights of all people. According to Ambassador Vincent le Pape, access to family planning and reproductive health services is a human right.

Caravan members were invited by the USAID representative in Burkina Faso to his home for a reception. This was an opportunity for donors and other invited stakeholders to discuss and exchange informally. The Ambassador of the United States, Mr. Andrew Young and Ms. Anne Thieba, Wife of the Prime Minister of Burkina Faso and FP Ambassador in Burkina Faso, were also in attendance.

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