In 2018, PFI introduced its strategic framework for 2018-22. The strategy was approved by the Executive Committee and endorsed by the Governing Board in September 2018.

Mission: Advance gender sensitive, rights-based population and family planning policies and actions for a just, equitable and prosperous society.

advocacy

Global thought leadership, high quality evidence-based narratives to inform and inspire lawmakers for comprehensive family planning and reproductive health policies; shaping family planning discourses within sustainable development goals

community
engagement

Promote leadership and agency of youth, particularly girls and women, within community led participatory governance initiatives to enhance efficiency and accountability of public systems and delivery services

How do we in India ensure that we achieve population stabilisation through a rights-based and human-centred approach? This is a challenge with which the Population Foundation of India (PFI) has contended over its journey of the last 50 years.

Our focus in the 1970s was on building evidence to support population policies, and later on improving the status of women as drivers of family planning decisions. Over the years our understanding of the importance of women’s reproductive health and rights grew, a principle endorsed by the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), 1994. PFI’s 50th year coincides with the 25th anniversary of the ICPD.

We must not lose sight of India’s commitments on national and international platforms with respect to population. Even as we hear rising demands for limiting our population through coercive policies, PFI has taken on the task of dispelling the fog of myths and misconceptions, and bringing facts into sharp focus. India’s achievements in family planning and women’s status are significant. Child marriage and teenage pregnancies have gone down by half between 1992-93 and 2015-16. More girls are staying in school, and for longer; the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) has declined from 53 to 33 in the decade from 2008 to 2017 and Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) has fallen by half from 254 to 130 between 2014 and 2016. Fertility rates have declined from 3.4 to 2.2, close to the replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman that we aim for. It is noteworthy that Uttar Pradesh, one of the states with low socio-economic indicators, has registered the largest decrease in TFR and child marriage. There is, indeed, cause for satisfaction and we can see ourselves firmly on course to achieving population stabilisation.

Nevertheless, there are significant regional imbalances, and pockets where the gap between the current and wanted fertility rate is nearly one child. As the State of the World 2019 report aptly puts it, there is “unfinished business in the pursuit of rights and choices for all.” We need to be aware that despite couples not only desiring but also having fewer children than earlier, our population will continue to grow for some time. This is so since nearly one-third of our population is between 10 to 24 years, young women and men who already are, or will soon be, in the reproductive age group. Our large young population holds great promise of higher productivity and consumption, but also demands a clear focus on their unique needs.

I am happy that PFI has stayed the course with its focus on ensuring that women are at the centre of population policies, especially through definitive inroads into livelihood programmes, and challenging gender disparities through behaviour change communication. Even more significant is our effort to create space for young people to express their views and be heard and noted in policy formulation. We continue to be an organisation that holds a tremendous reserve of knowledge and experience, as well as the agility to adopt and innovate new strategies in alignment with shifting priorities.

We are privileged and grateful to the government, both central and states, for giving us the opportunity to support their work. We are also fortunate to have the support of our civil society and academic partners and are particularly grateful to our donors, who make it possible for us to continue the work that we strongly believe in.

The year gone by marked the commencement of a new phase for PFI, with our strategic plan for the period of 2018-2022 now guiding PFI’s work. Our new strategy aligns our efforts with the changing discourse in the family planning arena and ensures the much-needed prioritisation to young people’s sexual and reproductive health (SRH) needs within public health policies. At PFI, we firmly believe that family planning is a matter of women’s rights and gender justice – of treating women with dignity.

Despite the tremendous strides made by our family planning programme, wide disparities and inequities in women’s access to reproductive healthcare continue to persist. In order to reach the last mile, PFI’s efforts have been multipronged – enhancing public accountability, transforming social norms, informing public discourse and impacting key policy measures with research and evidence. Accordingly, the new strategy underscores the three critical pillars of PFI’s work as advocacy, social and behaviour change and community engagement.

Taking cognizance of India’s unique demographic advantage, PFI has made a conscious effort to align its programmes with the SRH needs of young people. Along with our deepened engagement in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, our expansion into the state of Rajasthan last year, where we are specifically working on adolescent health, is a firm step in this direction.

In addition to PFI’s advocacy at the national level, our sustained engagement in the states has shown significant impact. PFI’s deliberations with the state health department of Bihar have led to the approval of an additional amount of Rs 240 million in State Health Budget by the National Health Mission (NHM) for FY 2019-2020. This is a significant development and will, for the first time, introduce delivery of family planning messages through the statewide network of 800,000 Self Help Groups (SHGs) under the State Livelihood Department. Financial and reproductive autonomy, together, will lead these women to empowerment and transformative action.

PFI’s rich body of experience has uniquely positioned us as a convener. We have successfully raised the family planning discourse at several national and international platforms. Last year, PFI organised the second India Caucus at the International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP), 2018 held in Kigali, Rwanda. As an outcome, policy-makers and government officials committed to ensuring adequate implementation of existing family planning policies and support for increasing budgetary allocations.

Policy advocacy informed by empirical evidence is the cornerstone of PFI’s work. Our study titled ‘Cost of Inaction in Family Planning in India: An Analysis of Health and Economic Implications’ (COI study) was launched globally at ICFP. The study was launched nationally by Dr Rajiv Kumar, Vice-Chairman, NITI Aayog on the occasion of the 6th JRD Tata Memorial Awards and 14th JRD Tata Memorial Oration. The Tata awards and oration are an age-old tradition at PFI, inspired by the values and vision of its founding father Mr JRD Tata. While the awards honour the best performing states and districts in the country, the oration, delivered by a distinguished leader, focuses on critical population issues. Dr Kumar delivered the 14th Tata oration and highlighted the need for greater investments in young women, who contribute equally to India’s demographic dividend.

PFI’s social and behaviour change communication (SBCC) investments have ensured complementarity to our advocacy efforts by addressing social factors that govern women’s reproductive decisions. In January 2019, PFI launched the third season of its flagship SBCC initiative Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon- I, A Woman, Can Achieve Anything (MKBKSH), with increased focus on young people and their sexual and reproductive health needs. In the new season, PFI has ventured into the technology space and introduced a one of its kind, artificial intelligence (AI) powered chatbot, a digital companion and source of information on SRH for young people. The chatbot has also been linked to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s family planning helpline. AI holds tremendous potential to expand healthcare efforts, including much-needed access to accurate information, in the remotest parts of the country. Moving forward, PFI needs to leverage critical learnings from this innovation and build sustainable solutions.

PFI’s work and achievements have benefited significantly from its evolving partnerships with the national and state governments, donors and fellow civil society organisations. I am grateful to each one of them for they have played a distinct role in furthering our common goals. I am thankful to the PFI staff, who have embraced our new strategy and worked relentlessly to make its vision a reality.

From the

Chairperson

keshav desiraju

Chairperson, Governing Board, PFI

view message
From the

Executive director

poonam muttreja

Executive Director, PFI

view message

FAMILY planning

Population Foundation of India considers family planning a human right and an investment that impacts all 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). PFI’s programmes work through multiple approaches that provide women the choice to plan their reproductive health, improve the quality of services, and promote innovations in resource mobilisation, community participation and addressing social norms. PFI continues to underline the need to include young people and men in family planning programmes.

In 2018-19 PFI promoted family planning as a development agenda through advocacy both nationally and internationally. We hosted the 2nd India Caucus at the International Conference on Family Planning, Rwanda to deliberate on India’s progress and strategies for meeting national and international commitments on family planning. Our engagement with policymakers to make family planning a national priority were greatly bolstered by the inclusion of a chapter on ‘gender and son meta-preference’ in the Economic Survey of 2017-2018. For the first time, the 2017 Survey focused on the interlinkages between social norms and development.

Two studies commissioned by PFI and released in 2018-19 provide evidence on the need for investments in family planning:

  • Cost of Inaction in Family Planning in India: An Analysis of Health and Economic Implications (COI study), which projects the opportunity costs to individuals, households, the economy and society when family planning policies are not fully implemented.
  • Planning, Budgeting and Expenditure of Family Planning under the National Health Mission: A Review (PIP study) analysed the prevailing trends in budgetary allocations and expenditure to gain insights on spending for family planning activities.

PFI continued its support to states on innovations in family planning. The District Working Groups model implemented in 18 districts of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh is a successful convergence approach for planning and mobilising resources to deliver better family planning services. In Bihar, PFI has trained and mentored women health workers and panchayat members through a pilot project to motivate community members to adopt family planning.

Nearly 41,000 clients were served at 49 family planning counselling corners established by District Working Groups in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in 2018-19.

More than 8,000 women received injectable contraceptive services between April 2018 and March 2019 from 124 health facilities that began providing injectables in four districts of Bihar.

600 Advocates for Change (AFC) were trained under PFI’s pilot project in Bihar. These AFCs have now become family planning champions who motivate couples to adopt family planning and also ensure the quality of services.

sexual & reproductive health of young people

Every third Indian is a young person (10 - 24 years). This population needs to be equipped with the correct information, awareness of their rights and ability to make decisions to exercise their choice, take charge of their own lives, and contribute to the country’s progress. PFI has turned its focus towards adolescents and youth across programmes, by putting information and services related to sexual and reproductive health within their reach, directly and through partnerships with government, civil society organisations and youth led organisations.

In Rajasthan, PFI is working on a twin initiative for adolescents – advocacy with opinion leaders and policymakers to build an enabling environment, and mentoring youth leaders to drive transformation within their communities.

In Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh, PFI is supporting the state to improve SRH services to young people through adolescent- friendly health centres and quality resource materials for peer educators and counsellors. A group of 40 youth leaders are being trained and mentored by PFI in Darbhanga and Nawada districts of Bihar to increase awareness on SRH, monitor the quality of outreach and facility-based services in their villages.

In order to provide information on sexual health to young people through a safe anonymised and engaging platform, PFI developed an Artificial Intelligence powered chatbot SnehAI embedded on Facebook.

Over 2,000 youth were informed on sexual and reproductive health and 226 adolescent health facilities audited by youth leaders in Darbhanga and Nawada districts of Bihar.

6 regional consultations of young people were organised across India to prepare recommendations on policies for them.

PFI facilitated setting up of 40 youth-friendly centres in colleges of Uttar Pradesh to provide sexual and reproductive health services.

community monitoring of health services

Community Action for Health (CAH) is a key strategy of the National Health Mission (NHM) to ensure that service providers are accountable to communities to meet their health needs and rights. CAH is currently one of the world’s largest community-led accountability initiative being implemented in 23 states, covering over 200,000 villages across 340 districts of the country.

As Secretariat of the Advisory Group on Community Action (AGCA), PFI provides technical support to states for effective implementation of community monitoring of health services. In 2018-19, AGCA trained over 3,000 state officers on community monitoring processes, provided support to 12 states that adapted resource materials for CAH and facilitated 315 Jan Samwads or public dialogues in nine states.

In Bihar, PFI has introduced an innovative system of community based monitoring of health services through a mobile-based Interactive Voice Response System m-Shakti. The system provides information on key heath entitlements and services, gives callers the opportunity to rate health services, and share specific qualitative feedback and real-time monitoring data to government officials. PFI is supporting the national policy think-tank NITI Aayog to improve health outcomes by enhancing the coverage and quality of Village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Days (VHSNDs) in Begusarai and Sitamarhi districts of Bihar. The initiative will be implemented in partnership with Piramal Foundation.

PFI is providing support to states to establish and improve the functioning of patient welfare committees in public health facilities as per the government’s Rogi Kalyan Samiti (patient welfare) Guidelines. Initiated in 27 health facilities in Lucknow district of UP, the initiative has been scaled up to 30 districts across the state. Our learnings from Uttar Pradesh have been extended to the RKS programmes in Goa, Jharkhand and Sikkim.

Developed a pool of 42 state and regional trainers who trained over 1,000 Rogi Kalyan Samiti (RKS - Patient Welfare Committees) members in Uttar Pradesh

Strengthened 27 public health facilities in Lucknow district of Uttar Pradesh

A pool of 3,200 district and block level trainers across 22 states developed to strengthen community monitoring of public health services

Social & Behaviour Change Communication

Policymakers are now recognising the need to address social norms in order to see long-term developmental gains. There is increasing focus on social and behaviour change communication (SBCC), which addresses people’s behaviour within their social context.

PFI has been an early adopter of the Entertainment Education approach within SBCC. The third season of PFI’s flagship programme Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon (I, A Woman, Can Achieve Anything – MKBKSH) was launched in 2018. Season 3 addresses women’s rights, promotes positive sexual and reproductive health practices, especially among the youth, and addresses socio-cultural barriers to safe sanitation and hygiene. The show’s focus on good sanitation practices and messages supported the Government of India’s behaviour change campaign under the Swachh Bharat Mission.

The central pillar of MKBKSH is a television and radio drama series that follows the story of its protagonist Dr. Sneha. Through a 360-degree approach, the TV show is supplemented by a dedicated Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) platform, social media handles of the show and its website, and SnehAI, an Artificial Intelligence-powered chatbot embedded on the Facebook page of MKBKSH. The IVRS reaches remote locations across the country and people who have limited access to broadcast or digital media. With increasing use and access to mobile devices and cheap data, in Season 3 the social media arm of the serial has proven to be a powerful extension of the serial, especially reaching out to young people, with content that is available to them 24X7 in easy-to-consume formats.

Approximately 10 million SHG members in Bihar received weekly WhatsApp messages on sanitation and hygiene from the series

Swachhta Qawwali song from the show reached over 6 million through social media and WhatsApp

2 million users reached with the sanitation social media campaign #SwachhtaElaan

More than 200,000 viewers’ calls received on MKBKSH IVRS over 26 episodes

Awards

In 1996, PFI instituted national awards for states and districts that demonstrated outstanding achievements in reproductive health and family planning. There have been five rounds of the awards since.

The 6th JRD Tata Memorial Awards were given out in 2018. A Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of experts was established to identify the indicators and methodology for the awards. Winners were selected not just on the basis of current performance on key indicators, but also on their change factor, signifying the pace of progress.

Awards Winners
States and Union TerritoryDistricts
oration

PFI’s founder JRD Tata instituted a lecture series in 1990 to gather the best of global knowledge on population issues. In 1995 (PFI’s Silver Jubilee year), the series was rechristened as the JRD Tata Memorial Oration in his memory. Over the years, we have had eminent luminaries and inspirational leaders have delivered the Oration. The 14th JRD Tata Memorial Oration was delivered by Dr. Rajiv Kumar, noted economist and Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog. He spoke on ‘Women Empowerment: The Key to India’s Demographic Dividend.’

Click Here for full video of the event
Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog
From the Oration

"Keeping the large young population in mind, we need to provide quality sexual and reproductive health services with the right messages on reproductive choices. A 2014 study by leading economists found that ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health - which includes family planning - would yield a phenomenal return of USD 150 for every dollar invested."

"Investing in women empowerment has multiple positive externalities which work through the family and broader society."