The Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG) on Reproductive Health in Crises is a broad-based coalition committed to advancing the sexual and reproductive health and rights of people affected by conflict and natural disaster. Its network includes more than 2,500 individual members from 450 agencies, including the United Nations, government, non-governmental, research, and donor organisations. In March 2020, the IAWG launched the COVID-19 Taskforce as a rapid response mechanism to source information and to co-create tools, programmatic modifications, and advocacy campaigns with implementers. Taskforce members quickly expressed interest in supporting frontline implementers and local actors who were playing a key role in ensuring the continuity of sexual and reproductive health services and programmes during the pandemic through adaptations and ingenuity.
Scope supported the IAWG in organising a series of webinars to allow these frontline implementers to exchange information about COVID-19 adaptations, share common challenges, and gather requests for support. In response to needs expressed during the webinars, Scope then worked with the IAWG to conduct a rapid human-centered design (HCD)-led research project to help design the Frontline Implementers Support Network as a community of practice for implementers of sexual and reproductive health programmes in humanitarian crises.
The research approach was designed to reach a wide representation of frontline implementers around the globe, applying digital tools to enable rapid and remote engagement. This included Whatsapp chat groups and key informant interviews via conference calls with participants from countries such as Yemen, Bangladesh, Niger, and Chad. To synthesise and analyse the findings, the team employed HCD-methods such as Affinity Mapping, Needs Area Mapping, and Opportunity Area Mapping to organise and derive meaning from the qualitative data collected.
The HCD-led synthesis and analysis of findings identified six key opportunity areas for IAWG to consider in further building the Frontline Implementers Support Network and supporting its ability to respond and adapt to crises: