On March 26, R4D held the second in a series of conversations on sustainable financing for development co-hosted by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The panel, titled ‘Transitioning Countries away from Family Planning Assistance: USAID’s Experience in Latin America,’ featured Marguerite Farrell (USAID), Graciela Avila (Government of Paraguay), Victoria Ward (International Planned Parenthood Federation), Daniela Rodriguez (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health), and Allyala Krishna Nandakumar (Brandeis University), and was moderated by R4D Managing Director Robert Hecht.
In 2004, in the face of plateauing funds for family planning and the push to target countries with the greatest need, USAID established a Graduation Working Group that would discuss the factors that influence the transition of aid from countries who are ready to take ownership of their own delivery of family planning services. In addition to considering income criteria, USAID determines graduation based on the total fertility rate and modern contraceptive prevalence rate, as well as urban/rural inequities and method mix.
Experiences documented in Latin American countries in particular have shown positive outcomes from these transitions, including sustained government commitment to family planning, growing rates of modern contraceptive prevalence, and continued market segmentation to target populations most in need.
As Graciela Avila described, “[The transition] is a difficult process, but it is very important for us to work together to ensure sustainability.”
The USAID graduation approach as well as applications for the GAVI process have been documented in an article titled ‘Applying lessons learned from the USAID family planning graduation experience to the GAVI graduation process’ published in Health Policy and Planning.
Planning for the next in the ‘Conversations on Sustainable Financing for Development’ series is underway now.