NURHI Phase 1 (2009 – 2015)
Phase 1 of NURHI was implemented in six cities (Federal Capital Territory, Ibadan, Ilorin, Kaduna, Benin and Zaria). According to the 2013 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey, it contributed to significant increases in contraceptive prevalence in these cities.
The NURHI 2 advocacy strategy and efforts aimed to increase support for family planning from key stakeholders at the federal, state, local government, and community levels. To achieve this, NURHI 2 continuously engaged and educated political, traditional and religious leaders about family planning and encouraged them to use their influence in support of family planning.
At the national level, NURHI 2 liaised with and contributed to goals set by the Association for the Advancement of Family Planning, the Federal Ministry of Health and other family planning partners and donors. This effort advanced replication and scale-up of the National Family Planning Blueprint in collaboration with partners, donors and state and local governments.
At the state and local government levels, NURHI 2 worked with stakeholders to form Advocacy Core Groups to coordinate local advocacy activities. Advocacy Core Groups are comprised of committed individuals from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and projects working on maternal health and family planning, Family Planning Coordinators at the States’ Ministry of Health, and influential retired individuals, such as government officials. NURHI 2 trained these groups to develop and implement state-specific advocacy plans following a strategic advocacy process.
The Advocacy Core Groups have evolved into self-sustaining civil society organisations, duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission. These groups now take the lead in facilitating all advocacy activities in their respective states, including advocacy-based town hall meetings at the local government level. The town hall meeting is an important feedback forum created by the NURHI project. It creates an opportunity for community leaders and members to have a dialogue with the local government chairpersons and other policy makers on family planning and reproductive health. The forum has helped to build trust and improve relations between the people and their leaders by providing insight into leaders’ engagement in improving the health of women.
NURHI 2 was also committed to ensuring that State and local governments owned and institutionalised successful NURHI models and best practices for the achievement of the national- and state-level family planning agenda. For this to happen, the responsible functionaries and machineries of government needed to fully appreciate their critical roles and commit to providing leadership. One way NURHI achieved this vision was through state-specific visioning workshops with key state government and non-governmental stakeholders. During these workshops, stakeholders reviewed family planning programming directions and performance. This provided opportunities to improve policy actions and establish creative reforms while building synergies across implementing partners. The workshops increased coordination, political commitment and government ownership to scale up proven interventions at state and local government levels. Workshop participants included leadership from the State Ministries of Health and Finance, primary health care development agencies, budget and planning departments, women’s and youth affairs agencies, as well as local government, CSOs and other significant stakeholders.