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Step by Step, Budget Advocates Ensure Funding for Contraception in Malawi

“If there is no one following up on the government’s contraceptive procurement, it may not be given a priority since there are equally competing concerns,” says Velia Manyonga of Jesus Cares Ministries (JCM). Fortunately for Malawian women, JCM and its partners are paying attention.

The author (left) with Velia Manyonga of JCM in Malawi.

In April 2014, the first procurement of 26 million Kwacha (US$80,000) worth of contraceptives from the Malawian government’s own budget reached the country. In the budget year 2014/2015, Malawi increased its contraceptive budget line to 60 million Kwacha (US$133,000). The shipment is due in April, 2015. A few weeks ago, the Ministries of Health and Finance committed to increase the budget line again in 2015/16.

These milestones were achieved due to skillful encouragement by family planning champions like Velia and her colleagues at JCM, all trained in advocacy by the USAID-funded Health Policy Project (HPP). Through the RH BudgetWatch project, PAI is funding JCM and their partners Family Planning Association of Malawi, Integrated Health Initiative (IHI), and the Coalition for Gender, HIV and AIDS Advocacy in Malawi (COGHAAM). This coalition has teamed up with HPP and Partners in Population and Development Africa Region (PPD ARO) to engage with members of Parliament, Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Finance to keep increasing and spending the government’s contraceptive budget line.

The story behind Malawi’s recent contraceptive budget illustrates the time, resources, and coordination required for advocacy to be successful. And every commitment must be followed-up to make sure the gains are eventually realized. Click through the timeline below to see each step in greater detail, focusing on JCM and their partners’ role. There is still much more work to come!

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