Contact: Elise Mann
Aspen Global Health and Development
The Aspen Institute
GLOBAL LEADERS HONOR KENYA FOR VISIONARY POPULATION POLICY FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
2013 Resolve Award Recognizes Kenya’s Rights-Based, Inclusive Policy
Geneva, May 22, 2013 –Today, Kenya will receive the prestigious Resolve Award, which honors nations for expanding access to essential reproductive health services. The Honorable Beth Mugo, former Minister of Public Health and Sanitation, will accept the Award on behalf of the Government of Kenya, at a ceremony celebrating the Resolve Awardees during the 66th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Resolve Award is granted by the Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health (GLC), a group of eighteen sitting and former heads of state, high-level policymakers and other leaders who advocate for increased support for reproductive health.
The Award honors Kenya’s 2012 Population Policy for National Development (PPND), which recognizes that family planning and reproductive health are central to development. The PPND reaffirms that reproductive health is a human right, and that all people, regardless of income, must be able to choose the number and timing of their children—and have access to high-quality reproductive health care.
The PPND grew out of a three-year effort to engage citizens and leaders in developing a visionary new population policy, created by and for the Kenyan people.
An earlier effort to develop a national population policy failed due to lack of support among key stakeholders, as well as misunderstanding about the policy’s goals and strategies.
“The problem was that Members of Parliament had not been engaged in developing the policy, and they did not understand it,” said Lucy Kimondo, Senior Program Officer of Communication, Advocacy and Public Education Department of the National Council for Population and Development (NCPD), which spearheaded the new policy. “In fact, there were enormous misunderstandings about the policy. Some thought the policy would tell Kenyan families how many children they could have; others thought the policy promoted abortion. None of this was true.”
Kimondo and her allies did not give up. This time, the NCPD set out to engage and inform stakeholders throughout the country. They held a conference of 1,300 leaders from the public and private sector. They met with district and regional leaders, and with churches, civil society and government representatives. They translated technical terms into plain language, and educated the public about the content of the policy, page by page.
These efforts were successful: In October, 2012, the Population Policy for National Development was approved by Parliament. This groundbreaking new policy is truly owned by the Kenyan people. It recognizes the impact of rapid population growth on Kenya’s development goals, and proposes a multisectoral approach to address this issue, with a focus on voluntary family planning. The PPND is a component of Kenya’s broader development plan, Vision 2030.
As a recipient of the Resolve Award, Kenya’s PPND will receive international attention. The Resolve Award is granted by the Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health (GLC), a group of eighteen sitting and former heads of state, high-level policymakers and other leaders who build political leadership for increased financial and technical support for reproductive health.
Resolve Award winners are chosen through a competitive global nominations process. In addition to Kenya, this year’s winners include The Gambia and Zambia, with a special mention to Sierra Leone.
The Award will be presented by GLC Chair Joy Phumaphi. Ms. Phumaphi, who also serves as Executive Secretary of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), is the former Minister of Health for Botswana.
Kenya and other Resolve Award winners can inspire other nations, says Phumaphi. “There are many barriers to reproductive health access. It might be a lack of funding, or political opposition. It might be abusive husbands who do not want their wives to use family planning. But, as the Resolve Award winners have shown, all of these barriers can be overcome.”
As the world’s nations discuss development strategies to replace the Millennium Development Goals, which expire in 2015, Kenya and other Resolve Award winners can point the way forward. “The Resolve Award winners show what we can do—and what we must do—to lead the way to universal access to reproductive health and rights,” says Phumaphi.
About The Aspen Institute
The Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health, established by The Aspen Institute in 2010, is composed of eighteen sitting and former heads of state, high-level policymakers and other leaders who build political leadership for increased financial and technical support for reproductive health. The Council works to revitalize political commitments to reproductive health by increasing awareness of reproductive health issues, supporting the effective use of donor resources, and championing policies dedicated to achieving universal access to reproductive health. Learn more at www.globalleaderscouncil.org.
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.