The Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has announced a three-year, $42 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to launch a global urban reproductive health program.
The grant to the Challenge Initiative (TCI) will be used to scale tools and lessons developed through the Gates Foundation's Urban Reproductive Health Initiative, which tested a comprehensive approach to improving contraceptive access in select cities in Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, and India between 2009 and 2015. The strategy was shown to expand access to contraception, especially among poor women, with significant progress in Senegal and Nigeria, where rates of contraceptive use increased by 12.2 percentage points and 11.1 percentage points. The United Nations forecasts that urban areas will be home to two-thirds of the world's population by 2050, with an additional 2.5 billion people living in cities, many in Asia and Africa, by then.
TCI's in-country "accelerator hubs" will work with participating cities to develop proposals for implementing a package of family planning interventions that are cost-effective and customized to their urban needs and circumstances. Cities with the most promising proposals will receive technical expertise during the implementation process, have access to matching funds from a challenge fund seeded by the grant, and benefit from TCI's global community of practice, which will exchange lessons learned and share best practices.
"The future of sustainable development challenges and opportunities will be found in the dynamic growth of cities around the world," said Christopher Elias, president of the global development program at the Gates Foundation. "Meeting the growing demand for voluntary family planning, particularly among the urban poor, will allow more women and couples to plan their futures and break the cycle of poverty."