By J. Yanqui Zaza
Family Planning or Planned Parenthood means different things to different people living within certain communities. For instance, some United States citizens, opposing abortion, consider Family Planning as an organization that kills unborn children. Other U.S. citizens who believe that abortion is a constitutional right for a woman to choose whether to born or to abort a child, praise family Planning as an institution that saves lives. Or, in poor communities such as Liberia, many patients praise Family Planning because it conducts pregnancy tests, cancer tests; administers vaccinations; distributes contraceptive pills, etc., for a minimal fee or no free.
Additionally, many Liberians would praise the Planned Parenthood Association of Liberia (PPAL) if it appropriated grants in accordance to the intent of the donors, government, etc. For example, how did PPAL spend its share, if any, of the $279M that Liberia’s international partners appropriated within the 2016/2017 Budget as per page # 31 of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare? How much, if any, did it receive from the Liberian government as reimbursement for its personnel that performed services on behalf of the Liberia government? Did it expense personnel costs in the same way International Planned Parenthood Federation-IPPF (i.e., its foreign partner) allocated grants between programs and administrative costs?
Liberians will not know PPAL’s expensing method without a report. Its Website does not provide financial report, but does link a reader to IPPF’s, which appropriated $398K for Liberia in 2016. I have emailed PPAL and asked for PPAL’s financial records. Without PPAL’s records, let us review the industry by looking at the 2017 annual reports of IPPF, U.S. Planned Parenthood, Finland Planned Parenthood, and Australia Planned Parenthood.
|ITEM||LIB. P/HOOD||INTER. P/HOOD||U.S.A. P/HOOD||AUS. P/HOOD||FIN. P/HOOD|
|GRANT (RELATED PARTY)||$398K||17M|
|GOV. GRANT TO REV. RATIO||82%||38%||0%|
|PRO. EXP. TO REV. RATIO||50%||56%||78%||68%|
|PERSONNEL & TRAVEL COSTS||13M|
|REGIONAL NON-PRO. EXP..||20M|
|PERSONNEL & TRAVEL||13M|
|TOTAL NON-PROGRAM EXP.||46M|
|NON-PRO EXP. TO REV RATIO||45%||17%||4%||26%|
|CASH & INVESTMENT||72M||844M||8M||1M|
|CASH TO ASSETS RATIO||78%||60%||50%||7%|
|CASH TO GOV. GRANT RATIO||70%||57%||0%||0%|
(GOV. is Government; REV. is Revenue; PRO. is Program; EXP. is Expense)
It would have been a good idea to review how much of the revenue PPAL allocated for programs and administrative expenses. However, should one assume, without PPAL’s records, that it adopted the appropriation method of IPPF and, or the method of the U.S. Planned Parenthood? Or, did it imitate the method of the Parenthood-Australia’s or the Parenthood-Finland? IPPF, located at 4 Newhams Row, London, SE1, United Kingdom, reported that it allocated 51% of its revenue on programs and 45% on administrative costs. The program appropriation included $23M allocated for Africa, and $398K for Liberia. Similarly, the U.S. Planned Parenthood spent 55% on programs.
On the other hand, the Finland Planned Parenthood and Australia Planned Parenthood received zero grant from their respective governments; and appropriated more than 68% and 78% for programs respectively. Again, IPPF (i.e., PPAL’s foreign partner) did not only spend 45% of its revenue on non-program activities, but kept $72M cash in its bank accounts, which was 78% ($72/$92) of its total assets. Similarly, the US Parenthood kept $844M cash in its bank accounts, which was 57% of money (grants) received from its government. This financial arrangement is troubling since, for example, 57% of the U.S. Parenthood’s revenue (i.e., the sources of its cash) came from U.S. taxpayers.
Keeping 78% CASH of IPPF’s total REVENUE or keeping 56% CASH of U.S. Parenthood’s total ASSETS was not prudent. Why do I say so? This is because an increase in IPPF’s allocation based on government revenue might compel the GOVERNMNET to cut program funding. On the other hand, an increase in cash in bank accounts will compel the NGO to reduce funding for PROGRAMS. More so, keeping a significant amount of cash idle might discourage some donors from funding needed programs. Similarly, within the bank industry, loan officers do not approve loan applications made by managers who keep huge cash idle.
Besides the inefficiency of these two institutions, NGOs owned by the World Bank have and continue to underperform. In 1999, the Operations Evaluating Department of the World Bank reported that World Bank-owned NGOs’ unsatisfactory performance rate was 33%. The author of the report determined the 33% rate by reviewing governments’ projects financed by borrowed money from the Bank. (Inweb90.worldbank.org). The report advised Bank-owned NGOs to improve performance if it wanted governments to continue to borrow money from the Bank.
Without a report from PPAL, some readers might think its shortcomings, if any, are not different from the poor performance of World Bank-owned NGOs, IPPF or what anti-NGOs advocates have alleged against the American Planned Parenthood. The anti-NGOs activist stated that women’s health services to be provided by the Planned Parenthood are dropping:
- “Breast Exams” – 11.6% drop in services; “Cryotherapy [Cancer Screening/Prevention;
- Procedures” – 17.9% drop in services; “Colposcopy [Cancer Screening/Prevention]
- Procedures” – 12.8% drop in services; Overall “Cancer Screening & Prevention” – 2.5% drop in services; “Genital Warts (HPV) Treatments” – 15% drop in services
- “HPV Vaccinations” – 6.7% drop in services; “Pregnancy Tests” – 7.9% drop in services
- “Birth control information and services provided” – 4.6% drop in services; “Reversible Contraception Clients, Women” – 3.6% drop in services; “Emergency Contraception Kits” – 17.6% drop in services; “Female Sterilization Procedures” – 18.5% drop in services.
In closing, the Liberian government should share with the public whatever report PPAL might have submitted to authorities, if PPAL fails to provide reports of its activities.