At the end of April 2015, our programmes in Senegal and Niger hosted visits from donors and other key stakeholders of the Ouagadougou Partnership.
The partnership was formed in 2011 and consists of nine Francophone countries in West Africa as well as international donors such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, USAID, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the French Development Agency and UNFPA.
Representatives from the partnership visited the West African region to evaluate progress towards their country plans for family planning, and their contribution to the overall goal: reaching an additional one million women with a modern method of contraception by the end of 2015.
Marie Stopes International (MSI) is present in four of the nine Francophone countries - Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Senegal - and our multi-channel approach combining centres, mobile outreach, social franchises and social marketing have significantly increased access to contraception in the region.
In these four countries alone, we reached more than 285,000 women and girls in 2014, providing over 760,000 couples with a year of protection from unintended pregnancy.
In Senegal, the Ouagadougou Partnership representatives visited one of our social franchise partners in Pikine - a highly populated and impoverished area of the capital, Dakar. We have been working with the private Adja Seynabou Fall clinic since 2012. It is one of the pioneering clinics in our 50-strong Blue Star social franchise network.
The network, and MSI’s outreach activities, has been recognised by the Senegalese Ministry of Health as key, high impact interventions that have helped almost double the number of Senegalese women using modern contraception from approximately 252,000 in 2012 to over 483,000 in 2014.
In Niger, our newest country programme, the group visited three sites where MSI works – Boukoki 4 youth centre, Foulan Koira health centre and the Saga Gorou health post. Long acting contraceptive methods are now available at these sites thanks to one of our Marie Stopes Ladies (mobile midwives). The impact of providing these methods was recognised by Margot Fahnstock of the Hewlett Foundation who said:
"If you think that two-thirds of Niger's population is under 24 years old, you realise very quickly that MSI has a huge opportunity through the Marie Stopes Ladies to provide long acting contraceptives to teenagers and young adults in centres like the Boukoki 4 youth centre in Niamey. It's an exciting way to provide quality services previously unavailable to this population."