Population Foundation of India (PFI) participated in the Parliamentarians’ Conference on Enhancing Role of Parliamentarians in Inter-linkages between Population Issues and SDGs—2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development, held on 13 – 14 September in New Delhi. The conference was jointly organised by the Indian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (IAPPD) and Japan-based APDA, Asian Population and Development Association. Parliamentarians from as many as 20 countries in Asia and Africa attended the conference.
Advocacy with parliamentarians and policy makers is one of the key pillars of PFI’s efforts to enhance the knowledge of key influencers and decision makers on family planning in India. This is in order to highlight the urgency of improving the quality and access to family planning services in India through higher allocation of resources and an expanded basket of contraceptive choices.
As the civil society representative on the panel on Global Compact and Sustainable Development, Executive Director of PFI Ms. Poonam Muttreja emphasised on the provision of family planning services in order to successfully meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3 and 5, which call for universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender equality. She underlined the importance of family planning as a cross-sectoral issue, which also plays a vital role in the achievement of the other 15 goals.
Showcasing PFI’s entertainment education initiative, Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon (MKBKSH - I, A Woman, Can Achieve Anything), Ms. Muttreja shared how the show had had had a positive impact on several fronts, including the health seeking behaviour of women, bringing down the incidence of violence against women and improving male involvement and engagement in several communities. Through the audiovisual, Evolution to Evaluation, she highlighted the ‘relatability’ factor of the show, which has been able to connect with the aspirations of young India. The show, which ran for two seasons on Doordarshan and All India Radio, has been widely acknowledged as an outstanding example of behaviour change communication.
Mr Kiran Karnik, a member of the PFI Governing Board and chair of the Board of the Reserve Bank Information Technology, Private Limited led the discussion on the importance of investing in youth and the population dividend. Referring to PFI’s television series Main Kuch BHi Kar Sakti Hoon (MKBKSH), he said this was an example of an effective way of challenging regressive socio-cultural practices and mindsets on diverse social issues, including population.