The Levers of Change in Government Policy toward Family Planning in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Thibaut Mukaba, USAID, Kinshasa
Arsene Binanga, Tulane University
Sarah Fohl, Tulane University
Jane Bertrand, Tulane University
After years of indifference, in 2012 the DRC government embarked on a series of actions demonstrating its commitment to family planning, surprising the international population community and many local observers. This paper documents the evolution of FP policy in the DRC, analyzes events that led to this change, and identifies factors that could influence the durability of this change. Factors that triggered this change were (1) strengthened ties between the MOH, National Reproductive Health Program, and FP implementing agencies, (2) greater cohesiveness and teamwork among a larger group that comprise a multisectoral technical group of stakeholders; and (3) the development of the Strategic Plan for FP in the DRC: 2014-2020. Although this newfound commitment could lead to meaningful change, larger concerns include whether it will endure and whether it will translate into stronger FP programming, leading in turn to increased modern contraceptive use.