Measurement, Learning & Evaluation (MLE) for the Urban RH Initiative

Project Period

January 2009 - March 2013

Project Partners

  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Marie Stopes International
  • Kenya Medical Research Institute

Family planning is essential to achieving the millennium development goals. While family planning programs had considerable impact on increasing voluntary family planning use and reducing fertility in many parts of the world in the 1970s-1990s, they have received less attention in the global level in recent years even as contraceptive use remains low in much of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and parts of South Asia despite high levels of unmet need.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) Reproductive Health Strategy aims to reduce maternal and infant mortality and unintended pregnancy in the developing world by increasing access to high-quality, voluntary family planning services. In particular, a significant part of urban slum dwellers in Africa and have limited access to health services that address maternal and infant morbidity and mortality, including family planning.

It is against this background that the BMGF initiated the Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (URHI) to increase modern contraceptive use in selected urban areas of India, Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal. Key elements of the Initiative include 1) integrating of FP services with maternal and newborn health and HIV/AIDS services; 2) improving the quality of FP services; 3) increasing FP access through public-private partnerships; and 4) creating sustained demand for FP services among the urban poor.

The Measurement, Learning & Evaluation (MLE) Project is the evaluation component of the URHI, and aims at promoting evidence-based decision-making in the design of integrated family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) interventions for the Initiative in the targeted countries. The MLE project uses state-of-the-art methods to evaluate the impact of the initiative on modern contraceptive use and examine related questions such as whether family planning (FP) is increasing in the poorer subgroups in the population and what pathways lead to the increase. The overall goal is to use innovative methods to ensure that there is a robust evidence and knowledge base for design, implementation, and impact evaluation of the initiative in diverse urban environments. The evidence of MLE will strengthen current and future RH programs globally.

Partner Institutions

  • Carolina Population Centre, University of North Carolina
  • International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)

Project Period

  • January 2009 – March 2013