The Digital Agency for International Development

Exploring mHealth with IPPF

By Elly Boulboul on 02 February 2016

Last year we teamed up with the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and London school of Hygiene and tropical medicine (LSHTM) to launch their three year innovation project exploring mobile health (mHealth) as an effective platform for creating awareness and enhancing choice around contraception.

This was the second round of innovation funding for IPPF. They wanted to explore an idea that was new and do it in a systematic way that would result in clear findings and evidence that the sector could learn from. After receiving proposals from many of their member associations (MAs), IPPF chose to fund three MAs that wanted to explore mHealth: TFPA in Tajikistan, CIES in Bolivia and PFPPA in Palestine. For these three projects IPPF decided to engage LSHTM as the academic partner to run a randomised control trial, and Aptivate as the technical partner to review the technical environment and advise on suitable technology choices.

Our main involvement was in the first three weeks of each project. Two members from our team travelled to each location and worked with the MA. We shared our participatory discovery process with the MA staff and together facilitated workshops with young people to learn more about their needs, as well as their access to technology and their technology preferences. Alongside this, we also investigated the mobile infrastructure in the country and assessed the viable mobile technologies available.

Prior to visiting each country, we spent quite a bit of time working out the logistics and planing the three weeks with all the partners to ensure that we used the time efficiently. The plan varied slightly for each country to suit their culture and individual needs. We also learnt from each trip and adjusted things as we went. Below you will find the plan for the trip to Tajikistan with some pictures of the activities. 

Day 1

  • Icebreakers and greetings
  • Contribution and roles and responsibilities of each party
  • Summary of the Innovation Programme
  • MAs existing programmes and strategy
  • Introduction to the reseach methodology
  • Discussion of conceptual framework

Day 2 

  • Theory of change
  • MA introduction and clinic tour

Day 3


  • Theory of change
  • Introduction to Aptivate's discovery process
  • Review of existing / potential mHealth interventions

Day 4


  • Training on how to run user workshops and focus groups

Day 5 & 6


  • Discovery workshop with MA and clinic staff in Dushanbe
  • Aptivate translate and process the workshop content
  • 2 x 90 minute focus groups with target users in Dushanbe
  • Meet potential local service providers

Day 7 & 8

  • 3 x 90 minute focus group with target users in Vadat
  • Discovery workshop in Vadat
  • Aptivate translate and process the workshop content
  • Meet potential local tech partners

Day 9 & 10


  • 3 x 90 minute focus group with target users in Dushanbe
  • Discovery workshop in Dushanbe
  • Aptivate translate and process the workshop content
  • Research into local mobile operating market

Day 11 & 12

  • Review and process the focus group and interview content
  • Aptivate translate and process the discovery process content
  • 5 x 60 minute provider interviews 
  • Discuss and design mHealth intervention designs and content ideas

Days 13 & 14

  • Final report writing

Day 15

  • Debrief / feedback to MA HQ staff
  • Agree the workplan and next steps for each party