Speech by Chargé d’Affaires Richard Bell Official Launch of the AgirPF Project

Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Subject 
Official Launch of the AgirPF Project

 

Madam Minister of Population, the Promotion of Women, and the Protection of Children

Members of Government;
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Diplomatic Corps;
Representatives of International and Local Non-governmental Organizations;
Honorable Guests;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

It is a true honor for me to be here with you today.   First, on behalf of the US Embassy Niamey, I’d like to wish you and your loved ones a very happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.

Second, it is with great excitement that I participate in the official launch of this new project “Agir pour la Planification Familiale”.

Over the last two years, the United States’ Government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has worked to develop a new regional family planning strategy for our cooperation in West Africa.  This process involved extensive consultations whereby we learned from government partners, development experts, and community organizations about West Africans’ goals for family planning as well as the challenges they face in bringing about this change.

USAID also took into account experiences from its past projects.  We analyzed the latest data on family planning and demographics in the region as well as the many inputs it received.  In the end, the final strategy is grounded in three pillars of support: 1) provision of family planning services; 2) improving commodity security to prevent stock-outs; and 3) improving the use evidence for family planning policies to expand the reach of services.

USAID designed Agir pour la Planification Familiale primarily to fulfill the first pillar of this strategy, strengthening family planning services in Niger as well as in four other West African countries:   Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mauritania, and Togo.

Mesdames et Messieurs,

We all know that population growth poses a significant challenge for the economic and social progress of Niger and West Africa as a whole.  Currently, Niger has the highest fertility rate in the world, with Nigerien women having seven to eight children each, on average.  We also know that nearly one in every three women in West Africa expressed a desire for family planning so that she can improve the health of her family. 

To address these pressing needs, the government of Niger established an ambitious goal: to double the proportion of Nigerien women who use modern contraception methods by 2015, and further, to achieve a modern contraception use rate of 50% by 2020.   Meeting this goal requires a multi-sectorial approach, intensification of family planning activities, and greater involvement of communities and leaders at all levels. 

Through this project, the U.S. Government will directly contribute to this goal by supporting and complementing government efforts and those of local community organizations to increase access to and use of high-quality family planning services in urban and peri-urban areas.

In this sense, the project will work closely with the Government of Niger to select concrete activities for support that directly respond to priority needs identified in its national action plan.  The project will support local organizations and service providers to identify and expand best practices.  The project will also work with women and families to increase awareness of the benefits of family planning.

Indeed, with this launch, the U.S. government pledges to act with you to respond to family planning needs for the well-being of the entire country. 

In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank Madam First Lady, matron of family planning promotion in Niger, and the Minister of Population, the Promotion of Women, and the Protection of Children for their participation in this launch, and I am confident they will remain committed champions for family planning in Niger. 

Thank you.
 

Niamey, Niger
Issuing Country 

Last updated: February 21, 2014

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