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The Nigeria Hub- The Challenge Initiative

The Challenge Initiative (TCI) is a platform for scaling up proven-to-work Reproductive Health (RH)

interventions including Family Planning (FP) and Adolescent and Youth Sexual Reproductive Health

(AYSRH). The Initiative uses the Business Unusual Model, an innovative framework that puts states

at the driver’s seat of program implementation. The Initiative which is scheduled to run from 2016-

2021 is currently implemented in 14 states [Ogun, Delta, Kano, Bauchi, Niger, Anambra, Plateau,

Abia, Rivers, Taraba, Nasarawa, Gombe, Lagos and Edo (AYSRH program only).

Built on the demonstrated success of the Gates Foundation’s Urban Reproductive Health Initiative

(URHI), the Challenge Initiative is designed to help states, communities and institutions adapt

innovative family planning models for improved maternal health in Nigeria. The Initiative supports

states to accelerate the sustainable and impactful scale-up of proven-to-work FP interventions based

on the evidence of its predecessor program - the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative

(NURHI) since 2009. Envisioned to create a true Family Planning movement in Nigeria, TCI adopts a

demand-driven model where new states, governments and partners ask for technical and financial

assistance in implementing successful family planning programming to match their own investments.

This global initiative which is primed at the Gates Institute at the Johns Hopkins University School of

Public Health, Baltimore, USA with seed funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is

currently implemented in 10 countries clustered into 4 hubs – Nigeria, India, Francophone West Africa

and East Africa. The Initiative is implemented in Nigeria by the Johns Hopkins Centre for

Communications Program (JHCCP).

Demand-Driven Model

The Challenge Initiative is built around the premise that putting cities in the driver’s seat of a project is

essential in ensuring that the project succeeds and that its impact lasts beyond the life of the project

as it develops into a full-fledged program. This approach requires cities to take the lead to improve the

health and wellbeing of their population. In order to participate in the Initiative, cities step forward and

demonstrate their willingness, readiness and ability to address their reproductive health challenges

through a written Expression of Interest (EoI). Following successful EoI, TCI provides catalytic

funding, tools, and technical assistance to the states to ensure that they achieve their reproductive

health goals.

The Business Unusual Approach

TCI adapts a demand-driven business unusual model where states, cities, and partners ask for

technical and financial support and assistance to implement successful FP programming to match

their own investments. TCI’s unusual approach to implementation tagged “Business Unusual” centers

its overall goal of Increased capacity of local governments to implement effective family planning

programs leading to increased use of modern contraceptive methods among married and unmarried

women aged 15-49 years, especially amongst the urban poor.

The TCI Business Unusual model applies a combination of the 6 guiding principles below:

1. Demand Driven; Cities self-select to join TCI, bringing their own human and financial


2. Local Ownership and System Readiness; Cities must be ready, willing and able to address

their challenges.

3. Scaling Proven Interventions; TCI offers evidence-based interventions related to service

delivery, demand generation and advocacy.

4. Coaching and TCI University; TCI uses a “Lead, Assist, Observe” coaching model to transfer

capacity using TCI University, an online learning platform.

5. Near-time, Real-time Data for Decision Making; TCI strengthens capacity to use data for

problem solving and better decision making.

6. Efficiencies Achieved with Scale; As TCI scales, it becomes more cost-efficient.

TCI employs a three-pronged strategy of Advocacy, Demand Generation and Service Delivery,

with cross-cutting Research, Monitoring & Evaluation to ensure provision of quality, affordable,

accessible, voluntary family planning services across partner states. With its unusual approach to

implementing family planning interventions, the Initiative is positioned to promote sustainability, local

ownership and demonstrate the feasibility of long term investment in reproductive health.


Sign up to TCI University here and visit the Nigeria toolkit on this link for invaluable resources on

Family Planning Implementation and Management.

Through Advocacy, the Initiative ensures an enabling environment for family planning interventions in

supported states and deploys strategies to ensure government funding for family planning. TCI’s use

of the novel performance-based tracker for eliciting government support is available on the Nigeria

toolkit of the TCI University. See link to this approach here.

TCI supports states to conduct social mobilization activities to generate demand for family planning.

Lessons from social mobilization activities supported by TCI can be found on this link.

In-reaches are one of the High-Impact interventions demonstrated by TCI in states to reach

communities with family planning services; visit the Nigeria toolkit on the TCI University to read about

this approach on this link.

The Initiative coaches states to adopt and implement high impact family planning interventions with

significant results; visit the Nigeria toolkit on the TCI University and read about the results of TCI’s

coaching in states. See result of coaching provided in Rivers state on this link.


The Challenge Initiative (TCI) Nigeria Hub

+234 (0) 818 789 1205


To learn more about TCI, visit the TCI website