Population Foundation of India is a national non-government organisation at the forefront of policy advocacy and research on population, health and development issues in the country. It leads advocacy efforts and works as a think tank dedicated to promoting and advocating the effective formulation and implementation of gender sensitive population, health and development policies and programmes in the country.
The Foundation addresses population issues within the larger discourse of empowering women and men, so that they are able to take informed decisions related to their fertility, health and well-being. It works with the government, both at the national and state levels and with NGOs, in the areas of community action for health, urban health, scaling up of successful pilots and social and behaviour change communication.
PFI's strategy to achieve societal change for family planning and women's empowerment is through advicacy at the national and state level, social and behaviour change communication initiatives and through community action for health.
Population Foundation of India is an advocacy organisation that addresses population issues within the larger discourse of empowering women and men, so that they are able to take informed decisions related to their fertility, health and well-being. The following projects are part of PFI’s advocacy initiatives:
Advance Family Planning (AFP) is aims to increase the financial investment and political commitment needed to ensure access to voluntary, high quality family planning services through evidence-based advocacy. The project has been running since 2012, with a focus on Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The Programme has been playing a crucial role in strengthening the state family planning programme especially in districts with poor family planning indicators. The District Working Group model of convergence, implemented by AFP has shown that even with very little investment, it is possible to implement high quality work at the district level. The programme is in its seventh year of implementation and in its final year of partnership with the Johns Hopkins University.
Realising Commitments to Family Planning is being implemented by PFI with support from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The programme aims to increase funding and support to improve programs and expand quality family planning services, including birth spacing methods, using a choice based approached and women’s empowerment framework. The objective of the programme is to improve the knowledge of key stakeholders by highlighting the urgency to increase the availability of quality family planning services with an expanded basket of contraceptive choices in the country. The programme has been running since 2014
PFI is also working in Rajasthan towards ensuring that young people know about sexual and reproductive health topics and where to access services with support from Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) through Feminist Adolescent Youth led Action. At the district level, in collaboration with local NGO partners, PFI will work in the villages of Bundi, Karauli and Dungarpur to cultivate ARSH (adolescent reproductive and sexual health) champions who will amplify the ARSH agenda to raise commitments, improve programs and increase access. The project started in 2018.
In Uttar Pradesh, the Matrix project is being supported by supported by the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF). The project aims to strengthen the implementation of the National Adolescent Health Program (Rashtriya Kishore Swasthya Karykram - RKSK) using a multi-sectoral approach. The project in its intervention period from December 2018 to October 2019 aims at increasing service uptake among adolescents, accessing services in Adolescent Friendly Health Clinics (AFHCs), especially sexual reproductive health services through various strategies and approaches such as celebration of Adolescent Heath Days, capacity building of service providers, peer educators and data operators, strengthening the Adolescent Friendly Health Clinics and increasing the budget expenditure under RKSK at district level.
Initiated in 2005, Advocating Reproductive Choices is a coalition of like-minded civil society organisations working in the field of sexual and reproductive health. Its advocacy initiatives primarily address issues related to unmet needs for contraception. ARC aims to expand contraceptive choice for the Indian population by widely promoting and making available safe and affordable, effective and high quality contraceptives in the public and private health service delivery system. The coalition also aims to reposition family planning at the national level in the context of maternal health outcomes. The four major focus areas for ARC are: Injectables, Intrauterine Contraceptive Devices, Emergency Contraception and Non-Scalpel Vasectomy. Population Foundation of India is holding the ARC Secretariat since 2005.
Community Action for Health (CAH) is a key strategy of the National Health Mission, which places people at the centre of the process of ensuring that the health needs and rights of the community are being fulfilled. It allows communities to participate and regularly monitor the progress of the NHM schemes and interventions in their areas, thus contributing to the strengthening of health services and ‘Bringing Public into Public Health’.
A committee called the Advisory Group on Community Action (AGCA) was constituted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) to provide guidance on community processes initiatives particularly related to accountability in 2005. The AGCA comprises eminent public health experts and the Population Foundation of India (PFI) hosts its Secretariat.
Led by the MoHFW, Government of India, CAH is currently being implemented in around 2,02,162 villages in 353 districts across 22 states of India. A team based at the AGCA Secretariat now provides the following technical support to the states
Population Foundation of India has been working to harness the power of entertainment education to alter and transform deeply entrenched social behaviours and promote women empowerment, their health and well being. PFI was involved with the first few TV soap operas in India – Hum Log (1984-85) and Hum Raahi (1992-93). It was also the lead agency in supporting a radio drama series, Dehleez, on youth sexuality in collaboration with the All India Radio. The current Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) projects are as under:
Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon (MKBKSH – I, A Woman Can Achieve Anything) is a transmedia entertainment education initiative that was launched in March 2014. The show is now in it’s third season this year, and continues to use entertainment education through a 360-degree approach to reach out to young women, adolescents and youth, highlighting the importance of empowering women and girls to take control of their bodies. Season 3 of the show is funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and REC Foundation, and is being broadcast on Doordarshan and on Youtube. The core of the initiative is the radio and television drama series, with extensions in local community radio stations, social media channels and through the Interactive Voice Response System; encouraging increased user engagement and parasocial interaction. The show has 9.5 million cumulative viewership over the first 26 episodes, and more than 1 million unique viewers per episode. The IVRS number has received over 2,00,00 calls from viewers and #MKBKSH has reached 894 million users on digital media. Read more here.
Bas Ab Bahut Ho Gaya (BABHG - Enough is Enough), supported by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation ran from October 2016 to Marc 2018. The overall goal of the project was to positively influence the knowledge, attitude and perceptions of the youth on gender-based violence, particularly violence against women and girls, through sustained digital media interventions and engagement. India's 356 million youth are vulnerable to gender-based violence (GBV) – either as perpetrators or as survivors. As part of this project 6 short films were released on digital media (featuring celebrities like Vidya Balan, Sania Mirza and Barkha Dutt) and a celebrity concert was held in Mumbai, among other activities on digital media to amplify the message of a gender inclusive and safe world.
Sex ki Adalat is a webseries hosted on digital media which tackles taboo topics related to adolescent sexual health and hygiene in an edutainment format with support from Capital for Good. Issues like virginity, menstruation, son preference and others are handled in a humorous manner to reach out to young people. A series, Reel to Real was also produced, which documented the change people have made in their lives after watching the show Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon. For more on Reel to Real, see here. The Capital for Good project was aimed at increasing awareness of youth in urban and rural areas on issues that affect them, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, mental health and age at marriage through a digital intervention.