Family Planning

Family Planning Advocacy Guide

January 4, 2018

by Kathy Erb

Family Planning Advocacy through Religious Leaders: A Guide for Faith Communities

This easy-to-use how-to guide helps faith-based organizations to equip and encourage religious leaders to advocate for family planning with their governments, the media and their own congregations and communities. It was inspired by work with religious leaders carried out by CCIH, the Christian Health Association of Kenya (CHAK), the Churches Health Association of Zambia (CHAZ) and the Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network (EPN). It was funded in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The guide’s workbook style presents users with a step-by-step process for training religious leaders and launching advocacy efforts through checklists and interactive prompts.

The guide is available in English and French.

Resources to Accompany the Guide

The resources below accompany the guide and are arranged by where they are referenced in the workbook.

Landscape Assessment: What Do You Need to Know?

Baseline Assessment Survey Template | This survey has been used in FBO-run health facilities in over 10 different African countries, and helped the Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network (EPN) determine where to launch their religious leader advocacy efforts.

Sample Questionnaire on Family Planning Beliefs Among Religious Leaders | The Churches Health Association of Zambia (CHAZ) asked religious leaders fill out this questionnaire to understand their denominations’ beliefs on family planning. Based on these responses, multiple Zambian Christian denominations were able to articulate clear, official stances on family planning. This process took approximately two months to complete. The list of finalized statements of faith can be found here: Zambian Church Positions on FP

Trainings & Advocacy: How Do Religious Leaders Become FP Advocates?

Family Planning Method Resources:

Guide to Family Planning for Health Workers and their Clients: This slideshow was adapted from a World Health Organization document for the needs of the Christian Health Association of Kenya (CHAK), with assistance from the Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH).

What is Healthy Timing and Spacing of Pregnancies and Why Should I Need to Know?  This slideshow was adapted from a World Health Organization document for the needs of the Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau (UPMB), with assistance from the Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH).

Media Engagement Resources:

National Radio Programs in Kenya and Zambia
In 2016 religious leaders in Kenya and Zambia appeared on national radio programs to educate their communities on family planning and to answer questions about how Christianity and scripture support healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies. Hear recordings from programs in Kenya and Zambia. (Advance to 30 seconds into the recording for the interview on Kenyan radio.)

PAC Policy Communication Toolkit This Policy Communication Toolkit is a resource to bridge the gap that often lies between research and policy. It consolidates tools, materials, and approaches PRB has developed and refined over 30 years of training researchers to communicate to policy audiences. Research often has profound implications for policy, but without effective communication between researchers and policy audiences, the significance of research findings may be lost. Through this toolkit, users can build skills to bridge this gap, with the goal of increasing the use of evidence in policy and decisionmaking. To go directly to the Media Engagement module, click on “Training Modules” then scroll down the page to “Module 8: Working with the Media.”

Messages for Religious Leaders

Family Planning Messages for Religious Leaders was developed in cooperation with the Christian Health Association of Kenya (CHAK), the Churches Health Association of Zambia (CHAZ) and the Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network (EPN). It provides scriptural support for family planning and explains the health, economic and societal benefits of FP.

Scriptural Support for Planning Safe and Healthy Pregnancies This easy-to-use two-page brief on scriptural support for healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies includes a number of bible verses supporting the use of family planning to protect the health of mothers and children and achieve the family size parents decide is best for their circumstances. Scripture comes from the Books of Genesis, Solomon, Galatians, Hebrews, John and 1 Timothy.

Advocacy Activities Targeting Government Officials & Other Decisionmakers

Letter to Plateau State Commissioner (Nigeria) The Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network (EPN) collaborated with Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) to co-write a letter to the Plateau State Commissioner in Nigeria. The Plateau State churches of ECWA, the Baptist Church, Seventh Day Adventists, and the Assemblies of God co-endorsed this letter advocating for Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs) to be included in:

  • The supply chain of family planning & reproductive health commodities and programs
  • Support supervision and feedback at the health facility level
  • Government budget allocations for training more health workers and religious leaders, especially on family planning services
Advocacy Activities Targeting Community Members

Visit CCIH’s Stories and Interviews section to see videos and stories from the perspectives of faith-based family planning providers and advocates.

For a bible study to lead small groups of Christians through discussions on the intersection between their faith and family planning, see the Love, Children and Family Planning Bible Study developed by the Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University and CCIH.

Monitoring & Evaluation: Is This Working?

Sample M&E Materials

See resources under “Landscape Assessment” section, including examples of pre-test/post-test surveys for trainings:

  • General family planning knowledge pre and post-test surveys (with answers) developed by the Ecumenical Phamaceutical Network (EPN) in French and English
  • Knowledge surveys administered by CHAK to religious leaders: Survey from 2011 and a second Survey from 2016.
  • Knowledge Survey administered by CHAZ to religious leaders
  • Tool to evaluate the Family Planning Bible study Love, Children and Family Planning
Measuring Success

Successful Advocacy to the Zambian Ministry of Health
On June 9, 2016 in Lusaka, Zambia, Yoram Siame (Advocacy, Planning and Development Manager, Churches Health Association of Zambia (CHAZ) presented on the importance of task shifting injectable contraceptives to community-based distributors, and the importance of incorporating the faith-based community into this process. This speech occurred at the Health Sector Advisory Group Meeting, chaired by Health Permanent Secretary Dr. Peter Mwaba.

Thanks to this speech and CHAZ’s continued advocacy for religious leader/FBO representation at national FP initiatives, the Zambian national government officially recognized CHAZ’s efforts in their latest FP2020 update. Watch the video of Yoram Siame’s remarks.

En Français

Promotion de la planification familiale par l’intermédiaire de chefs religieux: Un Guide pour les communautés confessionnelles

Ce guide a été inspiré par le travail de Christian Connections for International Health (CCIH) (Connexions chrétiennes pour la santé internationelle), Christian Health Association of Kenya (CHAK) (l’Association chrétienne de la santé du Kenya), Churches Health Association of Zambia (CHAZ) (Association d’églises en santé au Zambie), et Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network (EPN) (le Réseau pharmaceutique œcuménique) pour préparer les chefs religieux à promouvoir les services de planification familiale. Il a été financé en partenariat avec le Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (la Fondation Bill & Melinda Gates). Télécharger ici

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