Evidence of civil society participation in monitoring the implementation of family planning/reproductive health policies

Evidence exists in demonstrating the involvement at national and subnational levels of individuals and groups from civil society in monitoring established family planning (FP)/reproductive health (RH) policies. Participation in monitoring the implementation of policies can include:

  • establishing if certain FP/RH policies are being implemented;
  • assessing how they are being implemented;
  •  determining if the policies are being implemented correctly, as designed or intended; 
  •  documenting any unforeseen consequences that may have occurred as a result of the policy implementation; and 
  • collaborating with stakeholders to address policy implementation issues that may have come up during the monitoring process.

Individuals and groups should be identified in advance and key informants interviewed using a standardized questionnaire or assessment tool that measures level of involvement as assisting or actively engaging in policy monitoring. A third party review of project records, reports, action plans, newspaper articles and published statements and speeches is recommended.

Project records; quarterly reports; action plans; interviews with key informants; newspaper articles; published statements; speeches; meeting minutes.

This indicator can be used to identify the existence, types, and levels of civil society participation and advocacy in FP/RH implementation. Civil society can play an important role in monitoring how FP/RH policies are being implemented.  Civil society can represent various voices and groups of sub-populations and thus are able to advocate for the just and complete implementation of the process. They can bring to light barriers and challenges in the implementation process thus prompting action to address those barriers.

Policy implementation is a complex process that can span several years. Having the funds and capacity to monitor the process over such a long period of time can be a challenge. Since several stakeholders may be responsible for implementing a policy, civil society groups require a lot of resources to advocate for sound implementation and monitor progress. Implementing stakeholders may not always share information freely with civil society groups and the general public making it challenging for monitoring to take place.


Civil society groups can advocate for special vulnerable and minority populations and ensure that the FP/RH policies are being implemented equitably within the targeted population. Government and policy leaders need to include women and women’s groups as stakeholders in the policy implementation process, while making gender equality central to policy decisions, program design and implementation.

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