‘Family Planning is a priority to all humans who understand development…to have a manageable family is the root of development at family level,’ those were the opening remarks from DW Board member, Advocate Duncan Oola, during the Euro Leverage Project Dissemination meeting. The meeting was organized to disseminate project results, share experiences and explore opportunities for further engagement with stakeholders. The meeting was held at DSW Youth and Development Training Center in Arusha and was attended by the project partner Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and government officials from national and district level at.
The DSW Country Director in setting the meeting objectives and giving overview of DSW portfolio stated that the stakeholders have gathered to celebrate achievement in FP in Tanzania. He expressed his appreciation that DSW expansion to Shinyanga District was worthwhile and thanked the Government for collaboration in achieving FP results through Euro leverage.
At the meeting outstanding project results and accomplishments were shared. Through its implementation phase Euro Leverage has enhanced advocacy and resource mobilization capacity of eleven CSOs. Working with CSOs has also added value in terms of partnership and network strengthening. The project did also produce a policy and budget report.
The project budget advocacy contributed to budget changes in Shinyanga and Handeni districts, ensuring prioritization of family planning. Before 2013, Handeni and Shinyanga districts family planning activities were financed from the maternal and child health budgets. By now, there is a dedicated FP budget line and investments have increased funding for family planning that now amounts to 12,620,000 Tsh in Shinyanga and 12,110,000 Tsh in Handeni. In addition, Handeni district has started integrating family planning service provision with vaccination outreaches, therefore improving the access to family planning in remote areas.
Moreover, Euro Leverage also contributed to increased civil engagement in health governance. Through civic education for health communities were provided with forums to deliberate on FP with local decision makers and services providers. This contributed to increased demand and uptake for FP services. For sustainability the project facilitated recruitment of FP champions at community level to ensure access to FP information, education and services.
At the dissemination meeting DSW also honored the project district councils and the regional secretariat for Shinyanga and Tanga with awards in recognition of their support during implementation of the project. Receiving of the award on behalf of Shinyanga District, Mr Daudi Kisangure
stated that “DSW has contributed to increase in FP demands as you all know FP calls for more dissemination in education and information. Changing people attitudes toward FP is a process and it will take time but we are glad our partnership with DSW has brought changes. As a district we understand the importance of investing in FP and we will continue to do so by using Euro leverage project findings and achievements’
For three years (2013-2015) DSW has been implementing Euro Leverage, an advocacy project in Shinyanga and Handeni District. The project aims at increasing budget allocations to addressing the unmet need for family planning (FP). To ensure this outcome, the project works in partnership with the local governments and health CSOs.
To attain the project aim various approaches were applied. Community empowerment through civic education for health (cinema, edutainment) to help them hold their government accountable and create demand for family planning service provision. At District level engagement through advocacy meeting, feedback meetings and micro consultative meetings were done. Furthermore at National level advocacy was done through working with other likeminded CSOs and taking part in Technical Working Group (TWGs) on FP steered by the Ministry Of Health and Social Welfare (MoH&SW).To facilitate evidence based advocacy the project also conduct policy and budget studies to create basis for evidence based advocacy. The project approaches were both effective and sustainable over a long term because they generated momentum for further actions through inclusive, engagement of services providers, users and policy makers to rise adequate funding for health, specifically family planning.