Photo by Benjamin Porter

Family planning is experiencing a renewed focus by national governments, civil society, and the private sector. Such attention is particularly timely given the high levels of unmet need: an estimated 225 million women worldwide do not wish to become pregnant and yet are not using modern contraception. Achieving a significant reduction in unmet need and unintended pregnancies will require identifying and implementing evidence-informed approaches for expanding access to high-quality family planning and reproductive health services and reducing barriers to contraceptive use.

The Evidence Project uses implementation science—the strategic generation, translation, and use of evidence—to improve family planning policies, programs, and practices. Led by the Population Council in partnership with INDEPTH Network, International Planned Parenthood Federation, PATH, Population Reference Bureau, and the project’s University Resource Network, the five-year project (2013–2018) is investigating which strategies work best in improving, expanding, and sustaining family planning services. It is also evaluating how to implement and scale up those strategies. Critical to the Evidence Project is translating this knowledge and working with stakeholders to apply the evidence and to build capacity in using implementation science to improve policies, programs, and practices.

Through implementation science, the Evidence Project pinpoints how family planning and reproductive health services can operate more effectively, equitably, and at scale. The project highlights and addresses barriers to contraceptive access and use. Working with stakeholders, the project fosters the application of this evidence to health systems, with the goal of improving service delivery and access to vital information and contraceptives—critical elements for reducing unmet need and unintended pregnancies around the world.