History of the Women’s Plans Foundation

Women’s Plans Foundation was started in 2002 by Alice Oppen OAM to give primacy to family planning after it had become the Cinderella of health programs. In 2004 the WPF Trust Fund was formed, gaining Deductible Gift Recipient status (ATO) and registered as a charity (NSW) so funds could be accumulated to provide an income stream for annual grants. Donations are the charitable trust’s greatest source of funds, generating recurrent income for grants to overseas aid organisations.

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Alice Oppen was acutely aware that family planning is integral in women’s development yet avoided by governments in aid allocation because it is ‘controversial’, and is opposed by hierarchical branches of religion and culture. With Helen Sheffer, she advocated inclusion of family planning as an open part of planning, and linked concern about global population rise with women’s wish to determine family size. The growing group saw that women’s capacity to manage fertility is critical as it:

  • improves reproductive health and survival
  • improves gender equity, empowering women
  • develops economic and social resilience
  • stabilises human population growth
  • minimises environmental damage and climate change.

WPF was established to focus specifically on the issue of contraception in countries of need, in the knowledge that family planning is fundamental in addressing the related issues of family health, education, economic viability and, ultimately, the big issue of global sustainability.

Partners for Early WPF Grants

2007/8: Various Overseas aid agencies

In 2007/8, Women’s Plans Foundation encouraged other overseas aid agencies to value the role of contraception in alleviating poverty. Our donations are specifically for access to family planning as a component within larger, holistic programs, and lead to increased focus on a choice of contraceptives in poverty alleviation.

2006/7: SHaFPA – Live & Learn Environment Development Education

In 2006/7, Sexual Health and Family Planning Australia collaborated with Live & Learn Environment Development Education to modify an education module to be suitable to the Solomon Island context and piloted it in workshops throughout villages around Guadalcanal. The revised manual was piloted in 6 communities in Solomon Islands, four communities in PNG and in Timor Leste.

2006/7: SHaFPA – Australian Conservation Foundation

In 2006/7 Women’s Plans Foundation enabled a partnership between Sexual Health & Family Planning Australia and the Australian Conservation Foundation in East Timor, to encourage understanding of the link between population and environment.

2006/7: ChildFund Australia

In 2006/7 Women’s Plans Foundation enabled a three year supplement to programs of ChildFund Australia in Vietnam to strengthen family planning services. The program began with a needs assessment and has since increased the number of methods of contraception available. It has moved into awareness-raising campaigns meeting the needs assessed, with community leaders as models, providing regular consultations and examinations.

2003: Family Planning Australia’s International Program

In 2003, WPF raised funds for Family Planning Australia’s International Program. WPF contributed to an educational video and training programs in local languages, and workshops in reproductive health for young people and men.