FP ADVOCACY: THE ROLE OF THE RAPID MODEL

Nigeria is engaged in an important initiative to reposition family planning as a priority on her national and local agendas. Over the years, provision of family planning services in Nigeria has been hindered by poverty, poor access to services and commodities, conflicts, poor coordination of FP programmes, shifting international priorities, health sector reforms, the HIV/AIDS crisis, traditional beliefs favoring high fertility, religious barriers, lack of male involvement and dwindling donor funding. The combination of these factors has led to low contraceptive use, high fertility rates and high unmet needs for family planning in Nigeria. Nigeria’s efforts to address the growing shortfall in funding is evident in her recent financial commitment to family planning which if effectively implemented will assist her gain several years of progress marked by dramatic declines in fertility and significant increases in contraceptive prevalence rates. These achievements will contribute in no small measure to improving health indices and accelerating development (by improving the quality of family planning services, maternal and reproductive health outcomes and peoples’ ability to maintain their reproductive health)
Effective implementation is more likely to occur with the external stimulus of evidence based advocacy. Advocacy creates change. It inspires a shared vision, enables others to act, encourages a people-centered focus, creates an understanding of the challenges facing public policy decision-makers and provides advocates with the evidence and public support they require to build a convincing case. Family planning advocacy based on evidence has a stronger influence and is more impactful because it deals with reality. The stronger the foundation of knowledge related to the elements of family planning issues and the current state of family planning efforts, the more persuasive and effective family planning advocacy will be. Such is the Resources for the Awareness of Population Impact on Development (RAPID) model.
The Resources for the Awareness of Population Impact on Development (RAPID) Model is a computer-based tool that stakeholders can use to demonstrate the effect of rapid population growth on different sectors and the benefits of family planning (FP) programs. RAPID combines demographic and other data to assess the impact of high and declining fertility scenarios on health and education systems, the economy, and the environment, among others.


It is an evidence based advocacy tool that illustrates the relationship between population and development.



It uses data to generate accurate information and in-depth understanding of the problem and charts the way forward in order to improve the quality of life of all Nigerians and contributes to the achievement of the MDGs and Vision 20:2020.



It depicts the efforts of the “Asian Tigers” in achieving stable economies and making them more competitive globally by their investing in family planning. Its advocacy messages are hard hitting and designed to galvanize policymakers into action, not tomorrow or the day after, but today.

 

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