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Nairobi, 25th May, 2022- The SDGs for Africa Investment Mobilization Summit was held in Nairobi from 24-26 May, providing a platform to showcase SDG investment opportunities, as well as trends across various players in the wider investment ecosystem. During the summit, a Joint United Nations team in Kenya comprising of the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office, SDG Partnership Platform, UNFPA, WHO, UNAIDS showcased the Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health Development Impact Bond (DIB), an innovative financing vehicle aimed at transforming adolescent health outcomes in Kenya by tackling the challenges of teen pregnancy and HIV infections among adolescent girls.

Backed by a $7million investment from the UN Joint SDG Fund, the Development Impact Bond will tap into resources from both private and public investors to finance the provision of quality adolescent and youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services, including HIV testing and treatment, to adolescent girls aged between 15-19 years in low-income settings.

The project will be rolled out in partnership with Triggerise, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, KOIS as well as the Government of Kenya through the Ministry of Health, Council of Governors, and participating county governments of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Migori, Homabay, Kisii, Nyamira, Bungoma, Busia and Kakamega. 

“This new approach to financing will foster collaboration among stakeholders across the spectrum including the government, donor agencies, and the private sector and unlock additional external resources that are critical to not only improving adolescent health outcomes but also the attainment of the sustainable development goals”, remarked the UN Resident Coordinator in Kenya, Dr Stephen Jackson.

Teenage pregnancy and HIV are major drivers of adolescent mortality and morbidity and result in a lifetime of missed education and employment. In Kenya, 42% of new adult HIV infections occur among young people between the ages of 15 - 24. Moreover, one in five adolescent girls is either pregnant or already has a child, with an estimated 330,000 girls becoming pregnant each year.

Placing the power in Adolescent Girls' hands

The new programme will support the scale-up of Triggerise’s “In Their Hands (ITH)” programme, an innovative digital platform with real-time data capabilities that links adolescent girls to health services in pharmacies, public and private facilities, and provides them an opportunity to rate the services received. Through the Development Impact Bond, social investors will be invited to pre-finance the programme for a return.

Progress to ensure vulnerable adolescent girls have access to quality SRH and HIV services will be tracked through ratings submitted on the ITH platform and the progressive reduction in adolescent birth rates and new adolescent HIV infections over a period of three years.  Upon independent verification of the results by an evaluator, the social investors will then be reimbursed for their investment with a return, by the outcome funder,  who are usually donors interested in social impact.

Public health facilities that receive high ratings unlock rewards that partly go towards facility improvements and partly towards health care providers, as incentives. Private facilities and pharmacies on the other hand are reimbursed for the services they provide with the incentive being more clients for better ratings. This results-based financing mechanism ensures that quality is ingrained or institutionalized in service delivery. 

“The development impact bond is a unique approach to development financing that allows for a performance-based process of determining outcomes and results. Our goal is to mobilize over US$13 million additional funding from outcome funders and social investors to reach over 500,000 vulnerable adolescent girls with SRH and HIV services and contribute to overall improvement of over 300 primary health facilities in over 10 high burden counties in Kenya”, says UNFPA Kenya Representative Anders Thomsen.