Since 1981, Futures Group has worked in more than 50 developing countries supporting governments, donors and other partners to improve and expand women’s access to high-quality family planning services.
We have met with continued success in creating an enabling policy environment for family planning through sound information and data, expanded services through innovative social marketing programs, and monitoring and evaluation to identify program progress and impact.
Family planning is a vital component of improving women’s health; thus, Futures Group is committed to keeping population and family planning at the forefront of local, national, regional, and global agendas.
Catalyzing Policy Development and Advocacy
Futures Group’s expertise in policy and advocacy has helped increase financial and political commitment to expand access to family planning, particularly for the poor and underserved, worldwide.
We have developed innovative tools and approaches to:
- Assess the policy environment to identify and address challenges that hinder policy development and implementation
- Facilitate, develop and cost comprehensive, multisectoral strategic plans
- Gather, analyze, and synthesize data and evidence to inform advocacy and decisionmaking to mobilize resources and commitment to family planning
- Build capacity of local partners and counterparts wherever we work
One of our most successful innovations is the development of Resources for the Awareness of Population Impacts on Development (RAPID) part of the SPECTRUM Suite of Policy Models. Designed to project the social and economic consequences of high fertility and rapid population growth for sectors such as labor force, education, health, and urbanization, RAPID has been used to advocate on the importance of population factors to social and economic development and the consequences of high fertility and population growth. RAPID has increased policymaker awareness of population factors and improved the policy and funding environment for family planning programs.
Futures Group was also instrumental in developing and applying the Strategic Pathway to Reproductive Health Commodity Security (SPARHCS) This strategic planning tool and framework helps increase access to and availability of high-quality contraceptives. Focusing on evidenced-based advocacy, our approach to SPARHCS proved particularly successful in mobilizing government resources for commodities, particularly in the Near East and Latin American/Caribbean regions, where countries are facing donor decreases in contraceptive commodity assistance. We are currently implementing the 2009 round of the Family Planning Program Effort Index, uniquely positioning Futures Group in analyzing trend as in features of family planning programs in about 90 countries. An unparalleled asset used in advocacy efforts in reproductive health, the Program Effort Index demonstrates to national leaders the status of program progress and what achievements to expect if efforts in certain areas are improved.
Stimulating Change Through Social Marketing
Using a “Total Market” approach, Futures Group designs comprehensive social marketing programs to increase awareness and use of high-quality reproductive health products and services. Our programs focus on capacity building and forging partnerships in the public and private sectors; these in turn have fostered innovations in private sector promotion of health behaviors—optimal birth spacing, breastfeeding, and increased access to and availability of affordable modern contraceptives, such as pills, IUDs, injectables, and condoms—which have also led to the entry of new contraceptive manufacturers. Further. we recognize that integrating high-quality reproductive health services into family planning activities enhances their effectiveness and helps create more sustainable markets for services and products.
Strengthening Monitoring and Evaluation
Futures Group develops verifiable indicators of family programming impact and trains experts to apply these methodologies. We help develop and apply impact evaluation methodologies to measure indicators, and we facilitate incorporation of impact evaluation plans at the design stage of new development programs. We have been instrumental in developing highly accessible reference documents on indicators, methods, and strategies for program evaluation. For example, Futures Group helped develop the Handbook on Indicators for Family Planning Program Evaluation. This handbook provides standard definitions, data requirements, and data sources for over 100 indicators used in evaluating developing country programs.