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  • 1. MOBILIZING MUSLIM RELIGIOUS LEADERS AS RH/FP “CHAMPIONS” Leah Sawalha Freij, PhD, MPH CORE Group Spring Meeting 2011 Equity in Health: Ensuring Access, Increasing Use
  • 2. Rationale
    • “ There are many communities without schools, health facilities or sanitation, but there is hardly any community without a place of worship.”
    • - Carol Bellamy (former Executive Director, UNICEF)
  • 3. ESD’s Approach
    • Build capacity of Religious Leaders (RLs) to act as change agents to shift community attitudes/behaviors
  • 4. ESD MODEL: Engaging Religious Leaders as Champions of RH/FP Identify champions & Build Alliances Foster Partnerships Adapt to Local Context Document & Disseminate Implementation M&E Capacity Building Supportive Supervision Outreach Services Study Tour
  • 5.
    • RLs - main source of info on FP and breast feeding
    • RLs expanded 2 religious education centers to provide RH/maternal services
    • RLs issued & distributed 4 educational brochures
    • Ministry of Religious Affairs issued edict asking RLs to disseminate messages
    Results - Yemen
  • 6. Results- Nigeria
    • 35 RLs in Kano state trained over 1,000 RLs across state
    • Over 500,000 people reached across state
    • 60,000 + young women/families reached at household level
    • Instrumental in getting community members to donate blood
  • 7. Results- Pakistan
    • 6 religious sects approved RL training
    • Paradigm shift in FP from limiting to spacing births
    • Concept of healthy timing & spacing of pregnancies and role of RLs included in draft national population policy
  • 8. Lessons Learned (pearls of wisdom)
    • RLs are untapped development actors
    • Include RLs from all sects
    • Use culturally appropriate terminologies for FP
    • Strengthen linkages between RLs & health providers/NGOs
    • Incorporate country-specific fatwas supportive of RH/FP
  • 9. THANK YOU!
    • For further information contact:
    • [email_address]