WFP and UNFPA join forces with 8 teams to innovate Family Planning

More than 200 million women in developing countries want to avoid, delay, or space their pregnancies, yet are not using an effective contraceptive method. So how can we uphold this right, and protect the health and futures of women, adolescent girls, and their families through innovation?

The Innovation Fund at UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, in collaboration with the World Food Programme’s Innovation Accelerator, is inviting innovators who can help address the challenge to End Unmet Need for Family Planning. Eight carefully selected teams will join us from 22 to 26 July in Munich, Germany, for a high-intensity Innovation Bootcamp. These teams will design, prototype and test bold solutions to help accelerate universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights. Their innovations aim to ensure that no one is left behind, expand access in remote geographies, close the last mile for reproductive health commodities, and leverage low or high-tech possibilities that put rights and choices at the centre of decision-making and service delivery.

At the bootcamp, teams will deep dive into field-level challenges, ideate solutions and fine-tune project plans with the support of mentors and facilitators. WFP’s Innovation Accelerator will introduce teams to innovation techniques such as lean start-up and human-centered design. The week culminates with Pitch Night on Thursday 25 July, where each team will have the opportunity to present their refined solution.

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A health service provider explains to a remote community how to use family planning, and what methods they can choose. Lao People’s Democratic Republic © UNFPA

Meet the eight teams who are joining us to innovate and improve women, girls, and young people’s sexual and reproductive health:

Digital Storytellers

1 in 160 children worldwide has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) which can lead to a lack of social skills in the area of sexuality education and reduced independence in sexual relations. This team from North Macedonia aims to support those with ASD with an assistive technology solution (mobile application) that offers comprehensive sexuality education via digitized stories and over 668 illustrations.

Firefly

Women in Sierra Leone are unable to access contraceptives in health facilities due to weaknesses in the supply chain leading to stock-out and waste. Firefly is an integrated platform which strengthens Logistics Management and Information Systems (LMIS), used by service providers and medical stores for better inventory tracking, enabling women at the last mile to access reproductive health commodities whenever they need them.

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UNFPA Supplies provided contraceptives arrive at Nafaya Health Centre, Sierra Leone. © UNFPA

The Original Nomads

Due to geographical isolation, economic disadvantage, and stigma, young women in remote rural areas within nomadic families of Mongolia often lack access to quality health care. This team is developing a virtual family planning coach for nomadic Gen Z — a machine learning-based online platform for interactive counselling that will deliver spoken advice in native Mongolian language via a privately and instantly accessed Facebook messenger app.

Team $1

Young people in China lack school-based comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) that would give them information about health risks and wellbeing, which contributes to unintended pregnancies. A series of CSE courses, including information on contraception, will be delivered on a live-streaming platform to over 70,000 students from rural areas for an estimated cost of $1 per student, compared to $6–7 through traditional CSE. The aim is to empower young people to make informed and responsible decisions for their own sexual and reproductive health.

BiDafPinas

In the Philippines, there is no complete disaggregation of data on awareness, perceptions and uptake of family planning by geographic and demographic characteristics. Using big data analytics, BiDafPinas aims to map different levels of awareness and perceptions on family planning of Filipinos in specific locations and by specific demographic groups that will inform more targeted interventions.

WAWA ABA

Limited knowledge of where to access sexual and reproductive health (SRH) information and services, and lack of youth- and disability-friendly family planning services are all major inhibiting factors affecting young people’s use of modern contraceptives. UNFPA Ghana, in collaboration with One World and Ghana Health Service, is building ‘The Crowd Sourcing SRH Platform’ to provide a dynamic, interactive, and youth-friendly means for young people to access formal and informal sources of reliable SRH information.

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Example of The Crowd Sourcing SRH Platform © UNFPA Ghana

DrugDash

Health facilities in Uganda continue to run out of stock of essential commodities because of inadequate information within supply chains to make timely decisions. DrugDash are developing a web- and mobile-based decision support system to provide accurate and timely information about the stock at each facility. Decision makers will know what is available at each facility — enabling them to decide which products to restock and which can be redistributed among other facilities.

Social Media Data Tracker

In Colombia there are still stigma and myths around contraceptive methods, contributing to adolescent pregnancies that prevent girls from completing their education, especially those in rural areas. This co-creative communication and behavioural insights proposal, designed for gathering data and opinions from the web (data scraping and sentiment analysis), seeks to unveil perceptions and human behaviour as a way of breaking myths around contraceptive choices.

These eight teams are creating grassroots solutions that will help lift up women and girls, their families and communities, and create a better world with rights and choices for all.

Interested in learning more? Follow each project’s progress at WFP’s Innovation Accelerator bootcamp in collaboration with UNFPA from 22 to 26 July on Twitter (@WFPInnovation and @UNFPAInnovation). Join the conversation on Twitter using #HerDecisionOurVision. Reach out to innovation@unfpa.org.

The WFP Innovation Accelerator sources, supports and scales high-potential solutions to end hunger worldwide. We provide WFP staff, entrepreneurs, start-ups, companies and non-governmental organizations with access to funding, mentorship, hands-on support and WFP operations.

Find out more about us: http://innovation.wfp.org

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