Connecting maternal newborn health advocates in Nigeria

Connecting local advocates through a peer-to-peer learning network and providing technical support and training on use of our Global Public Goods (GPGs) is a core mandate of the work we do at Evidence for Action (E4A)-MamaYe.

The GPGs are easy to use tools essential for effective advocacy, coalition building and improving quality of care in Maternal and Newborn Health (MNH). Recently in Nigeria, we created a platform bringing together 11 State Led Accountability Mechanisms (SLAMs) for Reproductive Maternal Newborn Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH). These SLAMs formed a learning network and have access to the tools available at E4A-MamaYe GPG hub.

Since 2012, E4A has been providing technical assistance to local advocates SLAMsin Nigeria. E4A supported SLAMs in Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano, Ondo, Niger and Zamfara States. The Taraba State SLAM whose formation was facilitated by a former E4A Advisor. These SLAMs hold government accountable on key  RMNCAH priority issues with evidence-based advocacy at the core. Currently E4A works closely with local advocates in 3 States of Lagos, Kaduna and Yobe in Nigeria and are connecting all other existing SLAMs in a peer- to- peer support mechanism to enable them close any existing gaps in skills after E4A exits from these States.

How it works!

Each SLAM, had to complete a quick capacity gap assessment. It emerged that understanding the RMNCAH financing landscape, funding flow and budget performance review process for many SLAMs were areas they could learn from others who were doing well and also to receive TA from E4A. In closing this gap, E4A stepped in to facilitate the process for the SLAMs to share experiences and learn by using the GPGs on Health budget Advocacy tool box which includes funding flow map and health budget performance analysis matrix to generate RMNCAH budget evidence for the SLAMs respective States.

Using this evidence for advocacy to ensure women, girls and children have better access to improved quality health services and for more women having safe births, the knowledge for gender transformative advocacy was also required which the SLAMs are lacking. E4A therefore provided TA to the SLAMs on the use of Gender Transformative Advocacy handbook. This enabled the SLAMs to acquire knowledge on how to mainstream gender into RMNCAH advocacy strategies to influence government policies and agenda at sub-national levels.

The RMNCAH local advocates are now connected on social media platform (WhatsApp), where they interact, share success stories and best practices, plan activities and promote learning exchange. This group has been trained as trainers on using existing tools from the GPGs. Participants’ feedback from the trainings were positive and optimistic. For many, they were glad E4A-MamaYe is bringing advocates together and resuscitating some of the SLAMs that have since been dormant . The advocates strongly agree that they found the GPGs andits content elevant to their work and are willing to step down the trainings to their members.

"I have learnt a lot. I never knew we could relate gender issues to RMNCAH advocacy. In Taraba State, there is no record of gender advocacy to improve RMNCAH issues. There is even no knowledge of how gender can be related to health policies. Now, I can go back and inform my colleagues, especially to begin policy influencing on addressing gender related health issues."

Fauziya Wapanda-TaSAM-Taraba State.


"This is one of the powerful zoom meetings I have participated in with the breakout sessions for group work. The detailed presentations are quite enriching, and I am going back more enlightened with more skills to put into this work that we are already doing."

Bachama Yusuf GoSAM-Gombe State.

What Next?

The SLAMs had generated 2022 health budget performance matrix and had identified gender related RMNCAH issues that needs to be addressed with advocacy in their States. The gender problems were analysed and solutions proposed, advocacy objectives and messages were developed to target specific stakeholders who could effect the positive changes required to resolve the identified gender issues.

The SLAMs will package the evidences generated and advocacy messages into advocacy briefs and use same to engage the RMNCAH policy stakeholders in their respective States. Through a demand-driven approach, E4A-MamaYe team commits to support the SLAMs further on their evidence generation and gender transformative advocacy journey. At the regional level, E4A hopes to convene advocates across countries for their advocacy learning webinar later in the year.

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