“Projects, positions, and organizations change but the global commitment to scale-up learning has remained strong.” – Rita Badiani, Mkurugenzi wa Mradi, Ushahidi wa Kitendo
In nearly eight years at the helm of the Systematic Approaches to Scale-Up Community of Practice (COP), ya Ushahidi wa Kitendo (E2A) Project grew the community from several committed partners in 2012 to nearly 1,200 members worldwide today. With sustained engagement from the U.S. Shirika la Maendeleo ya Kimataifa (USAID) and core technical partners (including founding members ExpandNet na Mtandao wa IBP), the COP advanced the field of scale-up. Over the years the COP produced webinar series and numerous workshops and developed reports and other products, including an updated bibliography of systematic approaches for scaling up.
With the E2A project ending in March 2021, USAID’s Office of Population and Reproductive Health championed the efficient transfer of the COP’s secretariat role to the Research for Scalable Solutions project (R4S) under FHI 360. This transfer ensures that this platform will endure, supporting collaboration and knowledge exchange on the process of scaling evidence-based practices for family planning. FHI 360 has a long history of leadership in family planning, implementation science, and scaling innovations into standards of practice, so this COP is a natural fit.
Trinity Zan, Research Utilization Lead for R4S, reflected on the convergent missions of R4S and the scale-up COP:
“As an implementation science project, R4S will both produce evidence and ensure it is applied. Our ‘twinned’ research and research utilization mandate is keenly focused on the role of scale-up and evidence gaps related to scale. The overarching goals for R4S and the scale-up COP are perfectly aligned. The R4S consortia is really looking forward to working with everyone in the COP to help expand high-quality, safe, and equitable FP services in low- and middle-income countries.”
The COP’s September 2020 meeting, the last under E2A direction, engaged the development community’s foremost thinkers and designers to reflect on the field and endeavor of scale-up. The recording of the meeting provides dozens of insights for the future of scale-up.
Highlights from the meeting included:
These are just a few of the countless topics the COP can continue to explore. R4S is committed to inclusive dialogue, and invites you to help shape the COP’s future—starting with these actions:
The COP conveners look forward to continuing to work together to ensure focus on scaling up effective family planning policies and programs. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased competition for attention and funding across development sectors, but family planning remains a “best bang for your buck” strategy. With the knowledge and sustained commitment within this community, let’s continue to showcase and advocate for the proven ripple effect of family planning benefits to other global goals to improve the health and well-being of all.