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Global Family Planning Monitoring Groups Collaborate to Shine a Light on Data at the Family Planning Summit

On World Population Day July 11, Performance Monitoring and Accountability (PMA2020), Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) and Track20, alongside the global family planning community, gathered in London for the Family Planning Summit – a follow-up to the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning, during which PMA2020 was conceived to monitor performance on key indicators and ensure accountability toward set targets.

The one-day event brought together ministers of finance and health, the United Nations, donors, private actors, civil society and youth to re-energize the global commitment to family planning by sharing lessons learned, strengthening networks and taking stock of progress made to date.


A recurring message throughout the Summit was the need for accelerated progress in the next three years, to achieve the ambitious goal of reaching 214 million women with unmet need for family planning. It was reiterated, that as data suggest, greater political leadership and increased investment are required to get on track toward making the goal a reality. And, family planning data play a key role in reaching the goal, as World Bank Chief Executive Officer Kristalina Georgieva‏ explained, “If we don't know the direction to travel, how will we know when we get there?”

To this end, PMA2020 has been generating publicly available data on progress in 10 countries for the past four years, allowing program managers to make operational changes; enabling policymakers to make informed decisions; and, empowering advocates with rigorous evidence to make the case for better policies.

Innovative approaches to monitoring–including PMA2020, which uses mobile technology and employs local women as data collectors–are catalysts that can accelerate progress toward family planning goals by revealing where program efforts and investments need to be targeted.

PMA2020, FP2020 and Track20 participated in the “Advances in Monitoring Progress” booth at the Summit, which shined a light on the life of a data point from collection, compilation, analysis, dissemination and use. The jointly developed booth was part of the Family Planning Inspiration Hub, a marketplace of ideas where attendees were able to partake in a three-minute simulation of a PMA2020 smartphone survey and watch videos featuring field staff from Ethiopia and Ghana.

These and other initiatives of the data revolution are important not only for tracking progress and inspiring action – they also empower and embolden the data collectors themselves, as Melinda Gates explained at the opening ceremony. london-summit-booth-image002_3.jpeg 

Mrs. Gates, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, spoke about her experience meeting the PMA2020 Kenya team last year, with the late Executive Director of UNFPA Babatunde Osotimehin:

"When Babatunde and I were in Nairobi last summer, I followed a [PMA2020] data collector around. Her name was Christine. We went door to door conducting exactly the surveys we had intended to set up in the family planning community back in 2012… And what I learned following Christine around is that we’re doing a lot more than collecting data. By talking to these women about their health and their needs, we are giving voice to their stories. We are telling women that their lives matter. That, also, is empowering women and emboldening them. We are telling them that they will not be forgotten. We know who they are."

Learn more about PMA2020.

PMA2020 uses innovative mobile technology to support low-cost, rapid-turnaround surveys monitoring key indicators for family planning, water, sanitation and hygiene and other health and development indicators. PMA2020 is led by the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Photo 1: Left to right: Dr. YJ Choi, PMA2020; Dr. Emily Sonneveldt, Track20
Photo credits: FP2020
Monday, July 24, 2017