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Dick Jungst and Hans Vemer
Consultant Africa and CEO at CONCEPT Foundation
The Netherlands, 06-04-2015

Family Planning: another strategic actor to reach Inclusive Development.


Family Planning with affordable and quality assured products, with help from the private sector, gives women the power to make decisions, leading to stable families, opportunities for education and helping to overcome exclusiveness. This is our conclusion after responding to the five questions put forward by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

  1. What policies and interventions have proved to contribute most successfully to the translation of growth into benefits for the poor? Is there a best policy mix?

Most successful policies so far have been those that did not rely totally on donor funding, but partially or totally on loans, investment, private-private, or public-private partnerships. Best policy mix is probably public-private partnership: The government sets the ground rules: making sure that people at the end of the last mile are reached, with quality interventions, with an affordable cost. Private organization provides products and/or interventions and takes care of supply chain.

In those partnerships a focus on affordable family planning products of good quality provides an optimal return on investment, socially and economically.

  1. Are specific and additional economic, political and/or social measures required to reach the most excluded and disadvantaged groups?

In the most excluded and disadvantaged groups, women are the most vulnerable. They are specifically dependent on access to affordable contraceptives of good quality. High numbers of (unwanted) pregnancies interfere with socio-economic development. Teenage pregnancies hamper education. Secondly, high numbers of unsafe abortions induce high morbidity and mortality, resulting in high costs, and often orphans. Access to products for sexual and reproductive health of assured quality should focus on women in lower income groups. NGO’s must report on the work for these groups, not only on the number of people they serve.

  1. Policies and outcomes for inclusive development are the primary responsibility of national governments. How and in which specific areas can donors contribute to inclusive development? What role can civil society play?

Donors can contribute to inclusive development by donating first to those NGO’s that focus on women in disadvantaged groups and that facilitate SRH. These NGO’s should change targets from numbers to needs. Civil society can support that effort by advocating those efforts to members of parliament . They must ask the government to take appropriate measures conform the Maputo Protocol.

  1. How can the private sector in developing countries take the interests of the poor and marginalized more into account? Which are best practices? How can we further promote this in our cooperation with and support for the private sector?

Involve private sector by giving them a stake in the operations. Use local distributors (instead of white UN 4x4s). Best practices show that one should give even a very small incentive to everyone who does some work. To promote this one should start with taking away the mistrust between the government and NGOs on the one side and private sector on the other side.

It is also important that governmental donors do not mandate that funding is used in the donor’s country or for procurement of goods from the donor’s country. By allowing donated or loaned money to be used in the target country one often gets more value for money, more local motivation, local employment and longer lasting success.

  1. Which additional policy measures and approaches are required to address (horizontal) inequalities in fragile and conflict-affected areas, and to include marginalized groups in interventions that promote stability, security and justice?

Excluded and disadvantaged groups and people become dispirited and rebellious. Adolescents are at risk to become rebels or even extremists because of the ongoing poverty. They are often not well educated and jobless, therefore prone to crime, since they have no other choice.

In these groups mothers are leading to stable families and promote education.  If women have access to healthcare and affordable contraceptives, they can decide to have a smaller, stable and harmonious family, that  can prevent derailment. These women then have time and possibilities to acquire a job and money. If you save a woman, you save a family.

In areas deemed too politically sensitive for “western” , white,  international agencies, regional humanitarian organizations should play an increasingly active role in aid delivery.


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Promoting inclusiveness in the Dutch policy agenda on trade and international cooperation

This contribution is part of a consultation for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs on how to promote inclusiveness in the Dutch policy agenda on trade and international cooperation.
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