Faith Matters: International Family Planning from a Christian Perspective
On December 3-4, 2014, Christian Connections for International Health (CCIH), Salvation Army World Service Office (SAWSO), USAID’s Advancing Partners & Communities (APC) project, and the United Nation Foundation’s (UNF) Universal Access Project (UAP) co-hosted a technical meeting entitled “Faith Matters: International Family Planning from a Christian Perspective”. The meeting was held at the Salvation Army National Headquarters in Alexandria, VA and was attended by 48 representatives from 26 international health organizations, various Christian denominations, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Overall, participants agreed that family planning programs should focus on locally sustainable efforts; prioritizing cultural competency; and emphasizing the voluntary, informed choice of reproductive health services. In addition, programs should incorporate messages on the following: biblical teachings; culture-specific gender roles; local leadership involvement; economic-driven reasoning; male and female involvement in education and programming; the dangers of early child marriage; the importance of waiting until at least age 18 to conceive children; and the benefits of promoting healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies for women and their families.