Step UP Strengthening evidence for programming on unintended pregnancy


Establishing networks, cultivating partnerships

Partnerships and networking are integral to achieving STEP UP’s desired outcomes of reaching broader audiences with evidence and for facilitating institutionalization and scaling up of interventions. STEP UP undertakes several collaborative and networking activities with key partners, and continually forms new partnerships with organizations and networks:

    • STEP UP staff participates as resource persons in several expert group meetings with WHO’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research (RHR) and participate in WHO/RHR’s Research Project Review Panel.
    • STEP UP actively participates in FIGO’s “Prevention of Unsafe Abortion” initiative through technical assistance to support the design and implementation of country action plans in Kenya and Ghana.
    • LSHTM, PC and the Guttmacher Institute implement the DFID-funded 'EVA-PMDUP' consortium to evaluate the DFID-supported "Prevention of Maternal Deaths from Unwanted Pregnancy" (PMDUP) programme in India, Malawi, Pakistan and Zambia.
    • STEP UP has a close relationship with the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition, with staff actively participating in its Market Development Approaches Working Group and Advocacy & Accountability Working Group, as well as the Caucus on New and Underused RH technologies and the newly-formed Forum SECONAF (La Sécurité Contraceptive en Afrique Francophone).


Sharing the evidence

In order to make partnership development and the networking process more meaningful and fruitful, STEP UP also has a strong focus on the communication of research evidence. This communication process is designed to ensure that research products are freely accessible through public domain channels, that key decision-makers and other stakeholders are reached through active engagement processes, and that STEP UP evidence is cited in published papers and reports so that it productively informs and progresses the fields of research with which it engages. STEP UP seeks to ensure that its reports, articles, presentations, and data sets are widely available to researchers, policymakers, and programme staff worldwide.


What's New

STEP UP extended for two years: We are pleased to announce that DFID has approved a two-year extension of the STEP UP RPC. During this period, our focal activities will include work on the measurement of unintended pregnancy, education sector responses to early and unintended pregnancy, and access to menstrual regulation and post-abortion contraceptive services. In addition, the RPC's efforts will reflect an increased emphasis on facilitating the uptake of the evidence generated by the program over the past six years.

Activity update on supporting girls’ re-entry into school after pregnancy in Kenya: Schools have a key role to play in both enabling adolescents to prevent unintended pregnancy as well as supporting their re-entry into school after giving birth. An interview with STEP UP researcher Chi-Chi Undie was recently published by Newsdeeply in which she discusses STEP UP research on adolescent pregnancy and school re-entry in Homa Bay and a related proposed bill currently being debated in parliament in Kenya, the Care and Protection of Child and Parents Bill. Chi also tackles the question of what needs to come first when seeking to improve girls’ learning achievement in areas where dropout rates are high in this blog post—Is girls’ enrolment the chicken or the egg?—on the UNESCO IIEP Learning Portal.

Activity update on task sharing for implant insertion in Nigeria: This study is investigating whether Community Health Extension Workers in Nigeria can insert contraceptive implants to the same standard as nurses and midwives. Data gathering has been completed and data cleaning is underway. Outcomes of this study are expected at the end of this spring, and will include the safety, quality, acceptability, and feasibility of this task-sharing activity. The study is a collaboration between the Ministry of Health of Nigeria and Marie Stopes International, and has also received funding from Danida, and SIFPO 2: Sustainable Networks, which is funded by the US Agency for International Development.

New book chapter: In existing literature about school re-entry processes in East Africa, school personnel often feature as obstacles to proper implementation of policies that would enable girls’ re-entry. This book chapter, "Are school principals 'the bad guys'?: Nuancing the narrative of school re-entry policy implementation in Kenya" (published in Changing Social Norms to Universalize Girls’ Education in East Africa), seeks to create a fuller perspective of the complexities of implementing school re-entry policy by presenting 'the other side of the story,' sharing the perspectives and experiences of school personnel themselves and identifying promising approaches for going forward.

New study protocol published: An estimated 222 million women in low- and middle-income countries have unmet need for modern contraception. Yet despite the prevalence of unmet need, there has been little rigorous research during the past fifteen years on reasons for this widespread failure to implement childbearing desires in contraceptive practice. Existing data from demographic surveys provide limited insight on the full set of possible obstacles to contraceptive use. To rectify this evidence gap, this study will gather extensive information on women’s perceptions of contraception (generic and method-specific) and their past contraceptive experience, and it will allow for more complexity in fertility preferences than is standard in demographic surveys.

New mini docu-drama on STEP UP intervention study on married adolescents: STEP UP partner icddr,b has released a short docu-drama, "Window of Hope," based on an integrated approach to preventing unintended pregnancy among married adolescent girls living in urban slums of Bangladesh. You can view the film here.