TCI - THE CHALLENGE INITIATIVE
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).
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
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
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