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The Hewlett Foundation Blog




Building Local Currency 

June 24, 2014 — By Heath Wickline

Global Development and Population Program Officer Helena Choi, writing with David Devlin-Foltz of the Aspen Planning and Evaluation Program, at Stanford Social Innovation Review:

A few years ago, the Hewlett Foundation realized that supporting national or sub-national advocacy within the Global South required a new grant-making strategy and partners. The foundation worked with the Tides Foundation to launch the Money Well Spent initiative in 2009. The initiative was intended to support advocacy and policy-related activities to solve specific problems that hinder the efficiency and effectiveness of spending in the family planning and reproductive health sector.

From the 151 initial letters-of-interest received, Hewlett selected six projects for funding in August 2009. The projects shared a focus on sub-Saharan Africa, but represented a wide diversity of scale, context, and approach. Three of these projects inform this essay: Pathfinder International’s Tanzania office’s work to encourage districts to fund family planning and reproductive health services; Gender Action’s advocacy to eliminate user fees based on evidence of their impact on women’s access to services in Cameroon and Uganda; and Ipas’s projects in Malawi and Nigeria to demonstrate the cost savings associated with shifting from treating complications of unsafe abortion to providing safe abortion care. These three best illustrate the issues we wish to explore here: the relationships between a US-based funder, international non-governmental organizations (INGO) intermediaries, and local NGOs, and the use of locally generated evidence in support of advocacy.