A Best Buy for Sustainable Development
Family Planning is one of the best investments to achieve the new Sustainable Development Goals, ensuring women can decide whether, when and how many children to have. Access to voluntary family planning has been proven to have transformative impacts on communities and countries to promote health and prosperity. As a crosscutting contributor to reducing poverty, family planning improves gender equity, has economic benefits for families and cities, and reduces maternal and newborn deaths. Every $1 invested in family planning reaps the benefits of $120, according to the Copenhagen Consensus Center. The business sector agrees—Forbes Magazine highlighted family planning as a top “best bet in philanthropy” in December 2016.
The Challenge Initiative offers a groundbreaking opportunity to have a dramatic impact on reproductive health for underserved urban poor communities worldwide, especially in Africa and Asia. Building off the success and data generated by the Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (URHI) in Senegal, Nigeria, India and Kenya, the Initiative will expand URHI’s proven solutions to new cities and geographies.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provided the start-up funding for the Initiative and its regional accelerator hubs, as well as seed funding for the Challenge Fund. The foundation, the Initiative and its partners will leverage these significant resources to attract new partners, including bilateral and multilateral donors, international and national foundations, corporations and high-net-worth individuals.
Unique Opportunity to Invest
The future of poverty is urban. The Challenge Initiative is an opportunity to join other donors in solving one of the most pressing issues of the 21st Century: the health care needs of the rapidly growing population of poor people in cities. Donors who invest in the Initiative have the opportunity to fund proven, efficient and cost-effective reproductive health programs. All investments go towards high-impact urban programs for the poor, leveraging existing resources like the regional accelerator hubs and TCI University.
Current global demand for family planning is rapidly outpacing the funds available to supply needed services and products. The Initiative plans to support numerous cities and districts in at least 14 countries by 2019. Besides financial resources, new partners have a unique opportunity to share leadership, networks and strategic ideas on how the Initiative can meet the growing demand for family planning in urban settings in the next three to five years.
The Challenge Fund
The Challenge Initiative offers several options with considerable flexibility for donors to invest in and/or collaborate with the Initiative, Gates Institute and regional accelerator hubs.
Donors can identity specific geographies and interventions to support, and can fund programs directly by making contributions to the Challenge Fund or to a particular accelerator hub or city. Growing the Challenge Fund will allow more cities to fund reproductive health programs, giving more women and girls—and more cities—a brighter future. Other dedicated funds may be included in the Challenge Fund for key technical areas, including adolescent reproductive health.
Bilateral and multilateral donors can contribute by leveraging existing program resources, know-how and networks with the Initiative efforts. Funding can be directed towards the accelerator hubs directly or can be leveraged through funded projects managed by other implementing partners.