Family Planning in the Philippines: How Equivalency Determination (ED) Makes a Difference

The Forum for Family Planning and Development was founded in 2004 in Quezon City, Philippines as a way to bridge the gaps in information and services for family planning in underserved communities. Today, their innovative and internationally recognized model brings together leaders from education, health, policy, and the private sector to create lasting impact for family welfare and reproductive health throughout the country.

As a result of the funding they received from a major U.S. foundation in December 2014, they provided sub-grants to five partner NGOs with whom they trained 140 civil society organizations on advocacy work. They also trained 340 health workers, 140 interfaith leaders, 890 youth leaders, 41 local media practitioners, and 45 local legislators about the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Law and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). In addition, they raised awareness about the RPRH Law and corrected misconceptions about reproductive health to 7,000 young people, 1,450 community-based health workers, 150 tourist guides and male leaders, and distributed more than 10,000 briefing materials about the benefits of the RPRH Law. Overall, the work of the Forum for Family Planning and Development has made a huge impact on reproductive health and awareness in the Philippines over the last few years.

NGOsource’s Role

The Forum for Family Planning and Development received their first ED certification in 2014, and recently had it renewed in 2016. Their initial ED certification enabled a large grant for them that was integral in their ability to create the impact mentioned above. Chi Laigo Vallido, the Director for Programs and Advocacy, says that “without the equivalency determination, I don't think we could have gotten the much needed grant we received.” To her, the ED felt like a “stamp of approval,” particularly because they are such a small NGO, which helped them access much needed funding and support.

Receiving an equivalency determination has many benefits for NGOs, including access to funding and international recognition. One of the unexpected findings of our recent NGO survey was that the ED process can occasionally catalyze independent, internal improvement for NGOs. The Forum for Family Planning & Development provides a great example of this – as Ms. Vallido says, “nonprofits and NGOs must constantly have an internal evaluation of itself,” and the Forum for Family Planning found a reason to improve after completing the ED questionnaire. “The questionnaire and the document requirements required [our] organization to review mandates, update documents, professionalize operational systems, and upgrade [our] standards to meet the changing needs and requirements in the development sector, as well as to keep up with other organizations in the country and the region.”

In addition to having an incredible impact in recent years, it is admirable that the Forum for Family Planning & Development has continued to grow and improve through the ED process after receiving such game-changing grant funding. Their rapid growth is far from over, however – they continue to increase access to information about family planning across the Philippines, inspiring and enabling more people to stand up for reproductive health rights.

Read more about how NGOsource works with NGOs through the equivalency determination process.

Top photo: Street march when the Reproductive Health Law was declared constitutional by the Supreme Court

All photos used with permission from the Forum for Family Planning and Development, Inc. (c) 2016.