The High Impact Practices in Family Planning (HIPs) were first created in 2010 after a survey of FP stakeholders revealed little consensus for “what works” in international FP programming. A small group of leaders in FP were brought together with the task of identifying a short list of HIPs that if implemented at scale would help countries address the unmet need for FP and thereby increase national contraceptive prevalence.

The original list consisted of 12 HIPs: most were service delivery practices, with a few practices in enabling environment, and one overall HIP on communication. The list was then verified by a review of the existing evidence base and development of a brief for each HIP. This was a slow process as it became clear that developing the briefs often meant coming to a common definition of the “Practice” and defining standards of evidence. Primary proximate determinants of fertility (delay of marriage, birth spacing, or breast feeding) were added as outcomes of impact.

Some HIPs from the original list were removed as it became clear that there was a lack of evidence, some definitions of Practices shifted to better capture current implementation. These changes reflect the nature of evidence-based programming and the need to constantly update guidance to reflect current learning. The HIPs have become a global good for the family planning community, with the HIP materials being widely cited and used to inform family planning programs across the world.