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Evaluation of the Hewlett Foundation’s Sub-Strategy to Support Local Family Planning and Reproductive Health Advocacy in Sub-Saharan Africa

March 10, 2022

In 2016, the Hewlett Foundation launched its international reproductive health strategy to support local advocacy in sub-Saharan Africa. This strategy continued the foundation's focus on ensuring that women can decide whether and when to have children. The strategy had an ambitious goal: A vibrant sector of local civil society organizations (CSOs) in sub-Saharan Africa that can capably and positively influence the family planning and reproductive health (FPRH) policies and funding decisions of their own national governments and of international donors. To contribute towards this goal, the strategy was grounded in five principles that the foundation expected would inform its own practices as well as the practices of grantees and their CSO partners:Support local advocacy priorities while seeking opportunities to connect these to global advocacy efforts,Strengthen and provide more hands-on and sustained technical assistance tailored to each organization,Support longer-term advocacy partnerships that strengthen and support local advocacy capacity,Encourage mutual accountability among all parties: funders, intermediaries, and local partners, andMeasure progress, document, adapt and share what is learned.The foundation commissioned a five-year developmental evaluation to identify and share emergent lessons about this "principles-based approach" throughout the process of strategy implementation. In this report, we summarize key findings, lessons, and recommendations from the final data collection period of this learning and evaluation process (September 2020 - July 2021). Our analysis draws on interviews with the foundation's grantees and their CSO partners, foundation staff, civil society leaders in Africa, and peer funders, as well as a "context review" of trends and developments in the broader philanthropic and international development field in which the strategy was situated.