Closing the Gap between Local Perspectives and Decision-Making
In Madagascar and many other contexts, decisions made at the higher level about family planning (FP) and reproductive health (RH) are often disconnected from knowledge and experience held at the local level – particularly when it comes to issues affecting youth. Projet Jeune Leader developed an innovative knowledge management approach to close the gap and shape more responsive, effective programs and policies. Through our “Ampitapitao” (or “Pass it On”) magazine series, we have created a critical loop between local knowledge on FP/RH and national level decision making processes in Madagascar, capturing over 8,000 comments from local community members in the process.
EXPLORE THE MAGAZINES
Filter by “hot topic” to read the locally oriented and decision-maker oriented magazines in English (translations) and Malagasy (original).
#1: Mainstreaming sexuality education
#2: Understanding what does and doesn’t work in youth FP/RH
#3: Preventing and responding to violence in schools
#4: Strengthening youth-friendly healthcare services
As a community-based organization, we have seen youth-focused FP/RH policies and programs that are low-quality, not reaching the youth they are meant for, and excluding youth who need them most. There is still a large gap between what local stakeholders want and what technical advisors and decision-makers do.
Projet Jeune Leader’s “Ampitapitao” magazine series was designed to push back against traditional social, cultural, professional, and institutional boundaries in knowledge management and create a critical loop between local knowledge on youth FP/RH and national level decision making processes in Madagascar.
This initiative was funded by The Pitch, a competition by Knowledge SUCCESS for “Knowledge Management Champion Innovators.”
Stage 1. Creating and disseminating locally oriented magazines
We developed four magazines distributed to nearly 20,000 youth, parents, school officials, and other community members across three regions of Madagascar. Our team used stories, articles, and questions to inspire readers to share their reactions and lived experiences on key topics in youth SRH. To collect readers’ responses, we placed blank sheets of paper in the back of each magazine, which our community-based Educators collected. During the last two months of the 2021-2022 school year, the PJL team received 8,498 written comments from community readers.
Stage 2. Compiling and sense-making of local and institutional knowledge
As we analyzed the thousands of comments received, we synthesized the problems and solutions related to the magazine “hot topics” that appeared most relevant, feasible, and pressing for communities. We also reflected on our own institutional knowledge about the “hot topics” to begin to formulate content for our nationally oriented magazines.
Stage 3. Creating and disseminating nationally oriented magazines
We developed four issues for decision-makers focused on the same themes as our locally oriented magazines. Key messages in each issue were centered around “The Thing” we want decision-makers and technical advisors to do differently in their work related to the topic. The magazines shared the synthesized local knowledge, values, and priorities we heard from community readers in the locally oriented magazines and included actual comments from community members. Projet Jeune Leader’s team then disseminated these magazines to dozens of key national decision-makers and technical advisors. We focused on two-way outreach: using the magazines to open a conversation and build meaningful and lasting relationships.
“The initiative you took on is great because you can see the reality at the grassroots level, enabling us to improve existing programs or create new programs.”
Senior reproductive health family planning adolescent health advisor, Bilateral agency