MSIA Reflects on the 2010s

Bree Turner News

As we reach the end of another decade, we at Marie Stopes International Australia have been reflecting on the big moments and trends of the last 10 years. We’re really proud of the work we have done and we wanted to share it with you, as thanks, because without the support of our incredible donors and community we couldn’t have achieved half as much! Here are 10 reflections on the 2010s:

1. Partnerships

Marie Stopes International’s (MSI) family planning service delivery portfolio has changed dramatically. Ten years ago the large majority of services were provided by an MSI-employed clinician at one of our clinics or outreach sites. Now, we reach more clients through partnerships with the public and private sectors.

2. Adolescents Matter

In 2009, MSI’s data collection only captured age by group ‘below 25’ and ‘above 24’. MSI has since prioritised the importance of reaching adolescents and began routinely capturing data on 15-19 year-olds. With a lot of learning and new programmatic approaches, adolescents have grown from 6% to 15% of our total clients.

3. The Rise and Fall of USAID

From relatively little funding in the ‘00s, the US government grew to be MSI’s largest donor by the end of the Obama administration. However, in January 2017 Trump signed the Mexico City Policy prohibiting US funding to any international organisation which performs or counsels on abortion, thus eliminating all funding to MSI – at least until the next Democrat is elected.

4. Closure of the Pacific Program

In 2011 we made the difficult decision to close down our regional program in the Pacific, based in Fiji. This decision was not about funding, as we had several ongoing grants, but about our concern for our ability to meet our own clinical, programmatic and efficiency standards in such a diffuse and challenging geographic environment. Regional Director of MSIA, Chris Turner, reflects “I knew we had made the right decision when one of my team told me, years later, that this decision was the reason he wanted to join MSI. He didn’t believe any other NGO would look so critically at itself.”

5. Growth of the contraceptive implant

Ten years ago less than one third of long-acting methods provided by MSI came in the form of an ‘implant’. Now it is by far the most common method for our clients who want multi-year contraception. We registered the method in Papua New Guinea in 2011, and in 2019 we will perform 42 thousand implant insertions.

6. Sustainability in Cambodia.

Amidst the backdrop of departing Western donors and incoming East Asian economic investment, MSI Cambodia has built its clinics into a self-sustaining network of viable businesses based on quality and affordability.

7. Male Engagement in Papua New Guinea

Despite relatively low uptake in developing countries globally, Marie Stopes Papua New Guinea found a market for vasectomies in PNG. We now deliver approximately 2,000 procedures per year.

8. Global Impact

Around the world, MSI provided 18 million years of contraception (or ‘couple-years of protection’) in 2009. In 2019, that figure will double to 36 million – services which will lead to the prevention of approximately 20 million unplanned pregnancies and more than 50,000 maternal deaths. The impact is staggering.

9. Local Impact

In our nearby programs of Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste, our impact has also been immense. In these countries we have grown from small programs that had relatively little national impact ten years ago. We now provide approximately one third of family planning in PNG and one half in Timor. We have made a permanent and lasting positive impact on the demographics, women’s health and women’s rights in these two emerging nations.

10. Vale Tim Black

MSI’s founder and CEO from 1976 to 2006 passed away in 2014. Tim was a true visionary for whom the urgency of MSI’s mission became clear while working in Papua New Guinea in the 1960s. He built MSI from the ground up into a global partnership working in more than 30 countries.

As this year winds to a close and we say farewell to the 2010s, we are already preparing ourselves for what’s next. We can’t wait to see what we achieve in 2020 and beyond, and we hope you will join us again in empowering women and supporting families and communities all over the world.