With the COVID-19 pandemic scuttling plans to hold the 2021 International Conference on Family Planning in Thailand this week, organizers are instead bringing participants together virtually for the first time. The idea of the two-day #NotWithoutFP Forum is to build excitement for the information sharing, networking and celebration that will come once the meeting can be held in person. More than 5,000 people have already registered.
The Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs’ Elizabeth Tully and Sara Mazursky will moderate panels during the free event, which begins February 2. CCP will also have a booth as part of the virtual exhibit hall. The forum will focus on universal health coverage for family planning and the impact of COVID-19 has had on the sexual and reproductive health community.
“ICFP is a really important event for bringing people together in the family planning community. It’s this place where you build excitement and momentum for family planning, but with COVID-19, that just can’t happen in person right now,” says Tully, a program officer with the CCP-led Knowledge SUCCESS project. “This virtual event is a great way for the community to come together and reconnect and have conversations that can’t be neglected, even during a pandemic.”
Tully will moderate the Advocacy & Accountability roundtable sessions, a series of breakout conversations on topics from the challenges of advocating for family planning during COVID-19 to domestic funding for family planning to using data for family planning advocacy. There will be some sessions in French as well as English. The session will be held on February 3 from 9:40 a.m. to 11a.m. Eastern time. The sessions will be limited to the first 300 people to log in.
Mazursky will moderate a session from 11:10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Eastern on February 3, entitled “The Power of Partnership.” The session will highlight experiences of the IBP Network, which is celebrating 20 years. Panelists will discuss this sustainable and resilient partnership that brings diverse global voices to support access, implementation and sharing of evidence-based guidelines and programmatic interventions in sexual and reproductive health by inspiring collaboration and knowledge sharing.
Meanwhile, other members of the Knowledge SUCCESS project, including Project Director Tara Sullivan and staffers Sophie Weiner and Natalie Apcar, are involved with the session, “How are High Impact Practices in Family Planning Service Delivery Being Applied Across the Development–Humanitarian Continuum?” scheduled for February 2 at from 11:10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Eastern.
CCP’s virtual booth can be found here.
The first ICFP was held in 2009 in Kampala, Uganda, and brought together 1,300 participants. In 2018, the conference brought more than 4,000 people from 128 countries to Kigali, Rwanda. The next in-person ICFP is scheduled for November 8-11, 2021, in Pattaya City, Thailand.