On November 17, PTF and Organisation d’Afrique Francophone pour le Renforcement des Systèmes de Santé (OAFRESS) held a joint session to discuss the goals and details for a new pilot Advocacy & Outreach program in Burkina Faso. This pilot program, to be implemented with local NGO SPONG, has a dual objective to 1) contribute to the Burkinabe Government’s initiative to increase the proportion of children vaccinated according to World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines; and 2) serves as a case study for OAFRESS Champions participating in the OAFRESS/PTF mentoring program. The pilot program allows Champions to provide inputs and feedback in all steps involved in the project planning process, from conception to monitoring & evaluation. PTF will contribute $15,800 to this pilot project.
Session facilitators included Claire Sambou, OAFRESS Regional Program Coordinator, and PTF mentors Adriana De Leva, Denise Vaillaincourt, Hasan Tuluy, Pietronella van den Oever, and Emmanuel Noubissie. They were joined by 22 OAFRESS Champions – from Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea, Madagascar, RDC, Senegal, and Togo – participating in the OAFRESS mentoring program with PTF.
Denise led the discussion on the proposed goals and logical framework for the project. She emphasized the need for clear and realistic objectives, as well as the fact that PTF and OAFRESS are not starting from scratch, using discussions from earlier meetings and past experiences of similar projects to guide the development of the pilot program. The meeting began a focused discussion on matters related to project specifications such as which vaccines to focus on, the ages of children to be included in project objectives, and potential geographic locations.
The underpinning philosophy of this pilot program is, that civil society organizations (CSOs) have the potential and comparative advantage to efficiently contribute to advocacy and outreach efforts to 1) promote children’s vaccinations, and 2) increase transparency, accountability and effectiveness of their governments’ vaccination programs, thanks to their closeness to hard-to-reach populations, This is the driving idea behind supporting CSOs in the region that focus on vaccination, and the pilot program will test it. Ultimately, the main goal of the project is to test the CSOs’ ability to add value to vaccination efforts in Burkina Faso. The findings will serve as an important lesson to other organizations in neighboring countries.
With the support of advocacy and outreach efforts from OAFRESS, supported by PTF, SPONG Champions will implement an advocacy & outreach program to increase child vaccination rates, while laying a foundation for other teams in the region to learn from the experience.
At the meeting’s end, Champions were asked to provide their ideas on the comparative advantage of CSOs in contributing to an increase in children’s vaccinations in their respective countries.