SLBF

SLBF

 
Report on Family Planning Workshops for the Private Sector PDF Print E-mail

Background

Two workshops on family planning organized by the Sierra Leone Business Forum (SLBF) Limited with funding from the UNFPA were held at the Conference Hall, Christian Health Association of Sierra Leone (CHASL), Freetown on October 16, and November 13, 2012 respectively. The purpose of the workshops was to raise awareness among the business sector in Sierra Leone about the benefits they can earn from their participation in programmes that aim at reducing maternal and child mortality, especially Family Planning programmes. The theme of the first workshop was: “Improving Maternal Health through Family Planning: How can the Business Sector be involved?” In the second workshop, the topic “Corporate Social Responsibility of private sector companies: Partnering to Accelerate Progress towards re-vitalizing Family Planning Programmes in Sierra Leone” was discussed in detail. The participants included key decision-makers in private companies especially mobile telephone companies, commercial banks, insurance companies and mining and petroleum marketing companies as well as representatives from civil society organisations operating in the Western Area.

First Workshop

The workshop was chaired by the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry and Co-Chair of the SLBF, Ms. Mabinty Daramy. Two Power Point presentations on the workshop’s theme were made by Mr. Philippe Lust-Bianchi of the UNFPA and Ms. Florence Bull of the Reproductive Health and Family Planning Unit (RHFPU) of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation respectively.

Recommendations

The main recommendations of the workshop were as follows:

  • The business sector should include in their corporate social responsibilities activities to promote family planning.
  • SLBF should intensify its partnership drive through the setting up of a project partnership team and contact key stakeholders through text messages for future discussions.
  • The partnership team should visit organisations at their places of work and sensitize them about family planning activities.

 

Conclusion

  • The enthusiasm of the participants to promote family planning activities in their various organisations was manifested in both their discussions and the recommendations made at the workshop. Also, the need to prioritize family planning activities in the country was emphasized as was the need to have a healthy workforce in private sector companies in order to enhance productivity. Lastly, more support was needed from the private sector in revamping family planning activities in order to promote the country’s socio-economic development.
  • Media coverage of the workshop was reflected in two national daily newspapers, AWOKO and Premier News and also on the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation Television and on STAR Radio, an independent radio station.

 

Second Workshop

  • After the opening courtesies by the Deputy Director SLBF, Mr. Franklyn Williams and the Sierra Leone Chamber of Commerce Industry & Agriculture representative, Mr. Christopher Forster, two PowerPoint presentations on the workshop’s theme were made by Dr. Hashina Begum and Ms. Mirai Maruo of UNFPA on the one hand and by Ms. Florence Bull of the RHFPU. The presentations of the UNFPA representatives were very informative and focused not only on statistics on maternal mortality rates in Sierra Leone but also on efforts being made by UNFPA and international companies around the world to provide the much needed support to family planning programmes worldwide in order to reduce maternal mortality. Similarly, the presentation by Ms. Bull of the RHFPU was equally convincing especially in relation to her explanation of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) of private sector companies.

 

Recommendations

  • The SLBF should continue to provide such a platform for stakeholders to discuss family planning issues and ensure that recommendations made at the workshop be distributed in the form of learning materials to participants by email.
  • Integrate family planning issues in Agenda of regular meetings of SLBF & SLCCIA.
  • Mobile telephone companies should do more to promote health issues especially family planning, i.e. sending regular text messages on family planning matters to subscribers.
  • Organise promotional family planning activities at premises of companies/organisations.
  • RHFP Unit/MoHS should identify specific areas where support is needed and share these with SLBF for further discussion and commitment from private sector companies.

Conclusion

  • It was suggested that in future, with respect to the mining companies it would be better to have such sensitisation workshops at their mine site where most of the workers work and reside rather than in Freetown so that the family planning messages could be quickly disseminated among them. Participants who attended the workshop came from commercial banks, insurance and oil marketing companies and from the media and each received a polo shirt displaying a family planning message and the logos of the organisers. Both these workshops provided ample opportunity for discussions on family planning issues by the target group and for making concrete proposals for participation in future programmes addressing maternal mortality and promoting Family Planning in Sierra Leone.