Senegal has one of the highest fertility rates in the world, with an average of 4.5 births per woman, making it one of the fastest-growing countries. As it grows, so does the demand for quality sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health and nutrition (SRMNCAH+N) services. Currently, the unmet need for family planning among married women is nearly 22 percent and almost 18 percent of children under five experience stunting.
To improve sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health and nutrition (SRMNCAH+N) services in Senegal, health system interventions must be guided by real-time information with input and feedback from communities. With this understanding, Alliance Nationale des Jeunes pour la Santé de la Reproduction et de la Planification Familiale (the National Youth Alliance for Reproductive Health and Family Planning, ANJ-SR/PF) began working on a community social accountability mechanism as part of its Nafooré Project.
In 2019, ANJ-SR/PF launched the Youth Accountability Platform (YAP) — a tool allowing users to leverage data to identify issues and direct actions — in two districts. In 2021, ANJ-SR/PF received funding from the GFF-CSO Hub to improve the structure of the online site, including highlighting its youth section, and expanded the platform to two additional districts in Senegal.
How does the Youth Accountability Platform work?
- The YAP collects and analyzes data on the performance of youth and adolescent services using health system scorecards, which are then color-coded and published on the site.
- Civil society organizations (CSOs), youth-led organizations, health providers and other stakeholders can use the data to develop action plans for improving services in underperforming areas and measure progress. The YAP health management team drives this process by regularly meeting with district partners to review data and help develop interventions.
- To hold stakeholders accountable, the YAP sends periodic emails to SRMNCAH+N with the results of scorecards, highlighting unsatisfactory results.
- The YAP additionally provides advocates with tools and best practices to improve their government advocacy efforts, including around the implementation of the GFF investment case.
What has been the impact of the platform?
- ANJ-SR/PF used evidence and the resources generated by the platform to conduct advocacy on health financing for adolescents and young people in select municipalities.
- The municipality of Thietty allocated 2,500,000 CFA franc (US$3,700) in its 2023 budget to support services promoting health and nutrition for adolescents and young people.
- Thietty allocated an additional 10,000,000 CFA franc (US$15,000) for the purchase of two ultrasound devices, enabling health facilities to provide services that pregnant women in the community were previously forced to travel 40 km to access.
- The municipality of Sédhiou allocated 4,500,000 CFA franc (US$6,700) to support services promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights for adolescents and young people, including repairing toilets in a school identified by the female students as a menstrual hygiene management problem that negatively impacted their schooling.
- ANJ-SR/PF developed an accountability roadmap with the Ministry of Health (Maternal and Child Health Division) to share the YAP as an example of a good practice to be developed in other programs of the Ministry.
- The YAP has so far tracked 19 indicators and served as a framework for 25 activities reaching more than 1,000 people.