On the 12th of October 2017, Share-Net Netherlands members met with representatives from Marie Stopes International in The Hague.
The meeting started with MSI giving an overview of their activities and current strategy. Marie Stopes International was founded in 1976 to provide the contraception and safe abortion services that give women and girls a choice. MSI has a 5 year strategy 2016-2020 “Scaling up Excellence: One woman at the time” and uses a human-centered design approach. MSI is working 37 countries worldwide, helping women to have children by choice, not chance. Bangladesh is the only country in the Share-Net Family, where MSI is working – already since 1988.
You can get more information on Marie Stopes International here:
Introduction to Marie Stopes International Oct 2017
MSI Scaling Up Excellence
In order to achieve its ambitious Scaling Up Excellence strategy goals, MSI needs to learn how to improve the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of its programming. High quality research is integral to this agenda. While the organisation has rapidly increased the scale of its programming over the past decade, multiple unanswered questions remain on effective models and mechanisms to reach the strategy goals.
Marie Stopes Overview of ongoing Research Programmes:
MSI Research Summary short version
During the meeting Marie Stopes indicated they have a lot of resources and data available from the countries they work in and are looking for interesting new ways to use this data and resources. Share-Net members are invited to share their ideas and send them requests for data and resources they can use.
Marie Stopes explained the impact of the implementation of the Global Gag Rule. Marie Stopes International was especially exposed after re-introduction of the Global Gag Rule in Africa. MSI loses around 30 million funding through UNAIDS/USAID for the coming 3,5 years. Marie Stopes International will be unable to partner with USAID to provide contraceptive services for as long as the policy is in place.
Currently, USAID is the world’s largest bilateral donor in family planning, investing approximately $620 million a year in family planning services. There are long-standing legislative restrictions in place to ensure that USAID does not ever fund abortion services. However, before the Mexico City Policy was re-enacted, USAID was able to fund family planning programmes with organisations like Marie Stopes International, which provide safe abortion services using funding from other donors. It is these organisations that will be affected by the policy.
During the last part of the meeting Share-Net members and the representatives from Marie Stopes International discussed common grounds between their organisations and ways for future collaboration, including at country level in countries where both MSI and Share-Net members are operating. For example, RNW Media, also active in Kenya, would like to investigate if and how they can provide more concrete information via their media channels about availability of MSI services.
Furthermore, possibilities were investigated for a closer relationship between Marie Stopes International and Share-Net Netherlands. A possible identified entry-point could be activities that will be organised by the new working group ‘SRHR in Humanitarian Settings’ and the already existing working group ‘Contraception & Abortion’. Furthermore, Share-Net Netherlands and it members are invited to explore with MSI the issues and topics they have information about (their four pronged research strategy). The suggestion that MSI could alert Share-Net to new publications was another suggestion that we will follow up.
Marie Stopes Bangladesh is already a member of Share-Net Bangladesh.
Attending on behalf of Marie Stopes International:
John Lotspeich, Director of Partnerships and Resource Mobilisation
Anne Lancelot, Director of the Sahel.
Thomas Lee, Policy Advisor.
Attending on behalf of Share-Net Netherlands:
Elly Leemhuis, Senior Advisor SRHR
Korrie de Koning, Chair Core Group Share-Net Netherlands, Senior Advisor SRHR & KIT Associate
Dorine Thomissen, Senior Programme Officer Simavi
Elsemieke de Jong, Programme Manager RNW Media
Kimberley Meijers, Share-Net Officer at the Royal Tropical Institute