Call for Proposals to Support Delivery of Innovative, Youth-centered Sexual and Reproductive

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A CALL FOR PROPOSALS

INGOBYI YOUTH-CENTERED INNOVATION FUND

A Call for Proposals to Support Delivery of Innovative, Youth-centered Sexual and Reproductive Health Interventions and Services

 Background

IntraHealth International, through the USAID-funded Ingobyi Activity, invites applications from Rwandan youth with creative and innovative ideas that can rapidly create demand for, and sustainably increase access to, reproductive, maternal, neonatal, and child health (RMNCH), as well as malaria prevention services among youth.  Ingobyi Activity, implemented by IntraHealth International, is designed to work alongside Rwanda’s Ministry of Health to contribute to the reduction of infant and maternal mortality, by improving the utilization and quality of reproductive, maternal, neonatal and child health (RMNCH), and malaria services in a sustainable manner. Ingobyi Activity builds upon the tremendous gains Rwanda has made in the health sector as well as previous USAID investments in the sector to provide a healthier, more productive future for all Rwandans.

Youth make up a significant proportion of the Rwandan population, yet they often have the weakest access to, and uptake of, sexual and reproductive health services compared to older age groups. As a result, youth contribute immensely to some o the key health challenges that the country is confronted with, such as early pregnancy, low uptake of modern contraceptives, the incidence of sexually transmitted infections, and incidence of gender-based violence (GBV), among others. Addressing youth and adolescent sexual and reproductive health is an important priority for the Government of Rwanda, as articulated in various policy and strategy documents, such as the Health Sector Strategic Plan (HSSP IV), Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) Policy, and FP/ASRH Strategic Plan (2018-2014). Addressing and responding to youth sexual and reproductive health needs has been proven globally to have strong positive contributions to improving RMNCH outcomes.

IntraHealth is looking for innovations that can effectively mobilize, reach and motivate youth to seek FP/ASRH services from health and community facilities.  IntraHealth is an International development organization with a mission to ensure that everyone everywhere have the health care they need to thrive. The organization works with governments and communities to improve the performance of health workers around the world and strengthen the systems in which they work. For 40 years in over 100 countries, IntraHealth has partnered with local communities to make sure health workers are present where they’re needed most, ready to do the job, connected to the technology they need, and safe to do their very best work. IntraHealth’s programs are designed with a deep understanding of, and appreciation for, the context of human rights, gender equality and discrimination, economic empowerment, and changing populations. The longstanding relationships we’ve built with government agencies, private-sector partners and members of civil society make the organization’s efforts stronger and more effective. 

 Rwandan youth and RMNCH context

According to the 2012 Rwanda Population and Housing Census (2019 projections), youth, defined as people aged between 10 and 24 years, making a significant proportion (32%) of the Rwandan population. The age group 10-14 accounts for 12%, 15-19 accounts for 11%, while 20-24 accounts for 9% of the country’s population.  Addressing the health, particularly sexual and reproductive health, needs of this considerable sub-population must be made a national priority for the country to fully achieve key targets of the HSSP IV and SGG #3.

Youth experience several challenges as they grow. Several reports have highlighted that youth do not access health services as they ought to. The Rwanda Demographic and Health Survey (RDHS) 2014/15 reported that 2% of the 15-19 and 29.6% of the 20-24-year-old youth were in formal or informal unions and, therefore, had a potential need for family planning services. The same survey noted that between 5% (in Northern Province) to 11% (in Eastern Province) of young girls aged 15-19 years had had an early pregnancy (either having given birth or were pregnant at the time of the survey). According to the RDHS, only 35% of young girls in the same age group (in union/married) reported using contraception, which represents an unmet need of 9.3%, while only 11.6% of sexually active girls/young women reported use of contraception. About 34% of sexually active young women aged 20-24 reported having ever used contraception (unmet need of 23.9%).

Despite the need for health care services, youth usually opt not to seek health services, such as antenatal care (ANC), post-natal care (PNC), family planning (FP) methods, etc., due to a variety of factors, including lack of awareness about availability of services, misconceptions about some services, affordability, fear of judgement by their peers, families, communities and health workers, among others. As a result, many girls aged 15 to 19 years end up having unintended pregnancies and are, therefore, exposed to pregnancy-related complications. The Rwanda umbrella of human rights’ associations (CLADHO) reported that peers - boys in similar age groups - were responsible for 49% of the teenage pregnancies, indicating a need to intensify efforts to provide health education for both boys and girls. There is a need to understand youth-specific needs to be able to design comprehensive health service packages that are suitable for them. This package should tackle issues faced by youth, promote health education and increase their demand for health services, as well as prepare health providers to effectively respond to youth-specific needs.

The RMNCAH Policy and FP/ASRH Strategic Plan (2018-2024) present a promising opportunity to catalyze efforts to increase young people’s participation in the improvement of their health and that of future generations. These two national documents consider family planning and adolescent sexual reproductive health important national priorities for poverty reduction and socioeconomic development of the country. To attain the FP/ASRH strategic plan objectives, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has prioritized access to comprehensive health services, including sexual and reproductive health services for youth, among others. These services will be delivered to youth beyond the traditional health facility environment. The MOH is committed to creating awareness for a healthy population in communities, and youth are being asked to champion this agenda as change agents, especially to their peers.

 Ingobyi Youth-centered Innovation Fund

The youth in Rwanda often face challenges in accessing FP/ASRH services. The youth-centered innovation fund is built upon the conviction that youth are much better placed than adults to identify where the bottlenecks lie and how they can be removed to enhance their access to, and uptake of, these services. The Ingobyi youth-centered innovation fund is designed to give youth the opportunity to design innovative approaches that work to improve access to, and uptake of, FP/ASRH services by promoting positive health-seeking behaviors.   

The primary goal of the Ingobyi youth-centered innovation fund is to identify, develop and support innovations that can rapidly create demand for, and sustainably increase access to, FP/ASRH services among Rwandan youth while respecting their right to choice, youth-friendly, and confidential care.  Innovations are intended to reach youth with health promotion and social behavior change interventions that are proven, or have potential, to create impact by increasing access to and uptake of FP/ASRH services, including consistent use of modern contraceptives among married and/or sexually active youth, access to ANC, PNC, STI treatment, and GBV prevention and treatment services. The youth-focused activities are expected to be designed by and for the youth, ensuring that interventions are not only relevant and appealing to them, but are also effective to promote positive health-seeking behaviors.

Instructions for Applicants

The below guidance highlights key application requirements.

Applicant eligibility

Applications will be accepted from Rwandan youth aged 24 and below, youth groups or youth-led organizations. In the case of the latter, leaders of the organization or association must be below the age of 24 years and represent a fair male-female gender balance.

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be entities founded by youth, led by youth, and have interventions primarily focusing on youth.
  • A minimum of two years of experience supporting behavior change among youth, especially on positive health behaviors.
  • Must have experience working with youth in schools, youth centers, youth clubs, communities, etc.
  • Must have technical expertise and experience to positively influence youth from various parts of the country.
  • Have an established leadership structure and management/financial controls in place.
  • Must be registered/authorized to operate in Rwanda.

In addition, applications will be assessed for:

  • Experience in organizing/holding large scale youth-friendly community-mobilization activities using innovative and participatory approaches.
  • Demonstrated experience in engaging with the local government, media or other organizations (local or international).
  • Demonstrated experience in documenting successes and results.
  • Demonstrated ability to use various channels of communication – particularly those preferred by youth.
  • Connected to a wide network of youth across the country.
  • Demonstrated understanding and experience in one or more technical areas relevant to youth in the scope of work for Ingobyi Activity.

Focus of proposals

The proposal must focus on innovations that can rapidly increase demand and sustainably improve youth access to, and uptake of FP/ASRH services, including consistent use of modern contraceptives among married and/or sexually active youth, access to ANC, PNC, STI treatment, and GBV prevention and treatment services. Applicants must address the following technical areas in their proposals:

  • Articulation of youth FP/ASRH challenges and needs in Rwanda;
  • Description of the innovation and how it will respond to the youth-centered innovation fund objectives;
  • Goal, objectives, and key expected results/targets of the proposed project;
  • Strategic approaches for targeting, segmenting and engaging youth, as active participants, to increase access to, and uptake of, FP/ASRH services in a youth-friendly and sustainable manner;
  • Implementation methodology demonstrating how interventions will rolled-out and/or scaled up to reach more youth in need of FP/ASRH services;
  • Evidence of effectiveness (demonstrate that the approach works) and how results will contribute to overall RMNCH outcomes;
  • Results measurement (outline methodology for monitoring progress and tracking results, including key indicators and targets); and
  • Demonstrate the potential for scale-up in other settings in the country.

 Budget

Applicants are required to present a budget (both summary and detailed) in Microsoft Excel format outlining the full cost of the proposed project.  The summary budget should include the following line items: personnel costs (salary and benefits), supplies, program activities (e.g. training, workshops, meetings, etc.), travel, and other costs (e.g. communication, etc.).

Grant ceiling and timeline

The budget ceiling for a single grant is expected to be US $25,000.  IntraHealth may make a single award or multiple awards, depending on the number of qualified submissions. Successful applicants will receive technical support to finalize their proposals and will be expected to implement their project ideas with a period of 12-15 months.

Evaluation criteria

Evaluation of proposals will be based on the below criteria:

  • A clear description of the innovation and how it responds to the youth-centered innovation fund objectives (20 points;
  • Presentation of strategic approaches for targeting, segmenting and engaging youth to increase access to, and uptake of, FP/ASRH services 20 points);
  • Strong implementation methodology, demonstrating how interventions will rolled-out to reach youth in need of FP/ASRH services (20 points);
  • Clear presentation of evidence that the approach is or would be effective, and how results will contribute to overall RMNCH outcomes (10 points);
  • Articulation of methodology for monitoring progress and tracking results, including key indicators and targets); and (20 points)
  • Clear demonstration of the potential for scale-up in other settings in the country (10 points).

Application process and timeframe

Complete grant proposals, no more than six single-spaced pages, detailing the innovation, strategic approach, methodology, evidence of effectiveness, result measurement, and potential for scale-up, should be submitted no later than July 26, 2019, by 5:30 p.m. Rwanda time. Applications sent after this date will not be considered. Applications should be addressed to ingobyiprocurement@intrahealth.org.

Applicants wishing to submit questions or seek clarification may do so through the same email address (ingobyiprocurement@intrahealth.orgby June 28, 2019. Responses will be compiled and disseminated to all potential applicants submitting questions.

Shortlisted applicants may be invited to present their proposals to a technical panel to assess the feasibility and technical soundness of the proposed projects. This session will also serve to validate the accuracy of information provided in the application documents, obtain additional clarifications where needed, and assess the ability of applicants to achieve the objectives of the youth-centered innovation fund and their proposed projects.