Cooperation within the UAFC Joint Programme
Lucie van Mens is the coordinator for the UAFC
The foundation of the UAFC is composed of four Dutch organizations. As Lucie van Mens explains:
“Our partnership is a cooperation of four organizations: World Population Foundation, Oxfam Novib, i+solutions and The Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The added value of the four organizations is that they each have a different expertise; the program could not be implemented without these specific expertises. Oxfam Novib has experience with programming and contracting programs in the South. World Population Foundation has expertise in advocacy and education in relation to sexual health programs and HIV prevention. i+solutions is knowledgeable in the area of supply chain management and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has many political contacts. There is not one organization that contains all of these expertises and thus the cooperation of the different organizations is a basic requirement in this field.”
Additionally, cooperation with the African partners is essential to ensure the target groups accessibility to the UAFC programs and products. Currently, two country programs have been implemented- Nigeria (October, 2008) and Cameroon (January, 2008). Lucie van Mens highlights the importance of the UAFC’s cooperation with the African Partners and how such cooperation is crucial to success of the country program.
“Both country programs are in the preliminary stage; large scale programs require much preparation. From the warehouse to the outlets - it all has to be prepared. You need organizations that are used to implementing programs. For instance, social marketing organizations are used to market the female condom. Also, organizations specialized in face to face education and organizations that have strong roots in the women’s communities play an important role. These organizations are used to provide education and match the UAFC’s message to the specific cultural context of the country. You need the African partner organizations because they already know about communities, the cultural background of the country and the sensitive issues. The cooperation between the African partners and UAFC is necessary and has an added value; without it you are unable to reach the people, the women, and the men, who you are targeting. The aim of the program is to create a clear demand for the female condom and to increase the use of the female condom. If you don’t integrate all these different organizations and components this goal will not be achieved.”
Furthermore, in addition to cooperation between the four organizations and the African partners, representation of UAFC in different platforms and consortia is essential for the success of the program. As Lucie van Mens explains:
In different platforms, such as with international donor agencies, or UN agencies, the female condom is neglected. However, by positioning the female condom as an interesting and applicable method for preventing HIV and unwanted pregnancies we have gained enthusiasm and interest. The UAFC program plays a big role in this field because there are no other programs with the same type of ambition and cooperation as the UAFC. The UAFC is the only program that advocates specifically for the female condom and representation of this fact is key. Furthermore, the issues related to unwanted pregnancies, diseases, and infections are so huge and so complex that cooperation between organizations and representation is crucial; one organization can not win this battle on its own.”