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ICFP 2016 Lauren Van Enk

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Lauren Van Enk of the Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University presents a study of the involvement of faith-based organizations in family planning, discussing how motivations for involvement in family planning differ among actors, and similarities and differences among FBOs and secular organizations.

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ICFP 2016 Lauren Van Enk

  1. 1. USING EVIDENCE TO EXPAND CHOICE, EMPOWER WOMEN, AND INVOLVE COMMUNITIES. FAITH-BASED ORGANIZATIONS as PARTNERS in FAMILY PLANNING Working Together to Improve Family Well-being LAUREN VAN ENK Institute for Reproductive Health Georgetown University January 23, 2016
  2. 2. Study Objectives • Explore the role of the faith sector in improving maternal and child health (MCH) through family planning; • Describe unique contributions of the faith sector in family planning; • Understand the current relationships between FBOs and secular organizations working in family planning; and • Identify opportunities for increased collaboration and more effective partnerships.
  3. 3. Afghanistan Mali Ethiopia Kenya • Faith-based organizations • Churches • Non-governmental organizations • International aid agencies • Governments In-depth interviews conducted with respondents from: Muslim Protestant Christian Orthodox Catholic Interfaith Study Methods
  4. 4. Study Report
  5. 5. USING EVIDENCE TO EXPAND CHOICE, EMPOWER WOMEN, AND INVOLVE COMMUNITIES. MOTIVATIONS & ACTIONS
  6. 6. What motivates engagement in family planning? “Whether a Muslim is liberal or conservative, their core values come from the Koran and religious teaching. Islam supports the health of the mother. If we can show that the mother’s health is improved by timing and spacing of pregnancy, we can make the case. We talk to Muslims in our own language.” –Global Muslim FBO • Maternal and child health • Economic development for the poor
  7. 7. What motivates engagement in family planning? “Sometimes there is misconception, the secular world may just present the attitude that the church does not support family planning. This is very misleading because if there is any institution that promotes the family unit, it is the church.” - Country-based Protestant, Christian FBO • Maternal and child health • Economic development for the poor • Strengthened marriages • Family harmony • Spiritual health
  8. 8. What motivates engagement in family planning? • Maternal and child health • Economic development for the poor • Strengthened marriages • Family harmony • Spiritual health • Women’s empowerment • Human rights • Population/Environment “My interest in family planning has always been from a rights perspective. The health rationale is an important one, but there is also a rights rationale.” – Global secular NGO
  9. 9. How is the faith sector engaged in family planning? 0 10 20 30 Country-based Muslim Organizations Country-based Christian Organizations Global FBOs Number of respondents engaged in FP-related activities
  10. 10. USING EVIDENCE TO EXPAND CHOICE, EMPOWER WOMEN, AND INVOLVE COMMUNITIES. COMMUNICATION
  11. 11. Language of agreement “Our mandate is to promote health. The church’s work in the family is a very key component that we deal with. Secondly, we do recognize that the health of the mother and the health of the child literally reflect the health of the population. So we do have a lot of programs that focus on the health of the mother and the child like family planning.” –Country-based Christian, Protestant NGO • Healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies • Family Values • Responsible parenthood • Male involvement & couple communication
  12. 12. • Healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies • Family Values • Responsible parenthood • Male involvement & couple communication “It is rare to find a woman in a health center accompanied by her husband! It’s the woman who comes, accompanied by her children. For a year now, we have been talking to men about coming with their wives. We show the men that even the imams accompany their wives. We persuaded them that they should accompany their wives to the health centers for prenatal consultations and vaccinations. We have found there are men who are not negative, they don’t refuse family planning.” – Country-based Muslim FBO Language of agreement
  13. 13. • Healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies • Family Values • Responsible parenthood • Male involvement & couple communication “Connecting to family values and putting family planning into the larger context of the family, rather than simply as the spacing of children, is very, very important. And the whole area of being able to help -- hopefully, it’s spouses but also others who are involved in sexual relationships -- to communicate with each other about these values and not just see this as a mechanical action. I think that’s very important and needs to be spoken about much more in the international community.” –Global Christian, Catholic FBO Language of agreement
  14. 14. Language of discord • Population control • Limiting births • Abortion “We’re trying to avoid controversial statements like family planning. There’s not a big difference between family planning and child spacing though…But they have different connotations, details, implications and methods. There are terms that are more community friendly - like child spacing, healthy living - these are terms which are more acceptable than the term family planning. In my community, family planning unfortunately amounts to birth control which is against Islamic teaching. – Country-based Muslim FBO
  15. 15. Language of discord • Population control • Limiting births • Abortion “I think there is an issue of language. The moment you talk about family planning, there are still so many, even in the U.S., who think abortion, a lot of it is misperceptions and ignorance. From my perceptive, what helps us is we don’t do anything without involving the local community. The partnership building and listening to our partners is extremely important. That dialogue informs us how to move forward.” – Global Christian, Protestant FBO
  16. 16. USING EVIDENCE TO EXPAND CHOICE, EMPOWER WOMEN, AND INVOLVE COMMUNITIES. PARTNERSHIP
  17. 17. Partnership: Two or more parties working together to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome that would have been difficult for each to reach alone. Mutual recognition of the problem Design of a collaborative effort Implementation Institutionali- zation & scale-up “I think one of the issues is to look at the common ground where all faiths agree on certain principles. For example, everybody agrees on some family planning methods, including the Catholics. So that is one area. If we all agree on a common ground, it becomes easy for everybody, and everybody feels comfortable. Then also come up with best practices. Certain methods have successfully been accepted by the community and there is tangible research information to prove that it is something viable, it is practical and can bear fruit.” - Country-based Muslim religious leader
  18. 18. Partnership: Two or more parties working together to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome that would have been difficult for each to reach alone. Mutual recognition of the problem Design of a collaborative effort Implementation Institution- alization & scale-up “Rather than construct ad-hoc partnerships with FBOs at the country level, we wanted to support and strengthen these country-level partnerships through regional cohesion. So we brought them together at the regional level. In an attempt to also be responsive to their needs, we responded to some of their very concrete demands and gave them the platform. We tried to facilitate the forum where they could themselves come with their own collation of the work they had done on sexual and reproductive health and population.” –Donor, Global
  19. 19. Partnership: Two or more parties working together to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome that would have been difficult for each to reach alone. Mutual recognition of the problem Design of a collaborative effort Implementation Institution- alization & scale-up “In Afghanistan under an international donor-funded project funded project, contraceptive prevalence more than doubled in three rural areas in one year after collaborations with religious leaders were established. This is a solid example of the kind of partnership than can move healthy family issues forward. This model is now being scaled up through technical support to the central and provincial ministry of public health.” –Donor, Global
  20. 20. Lessons Learned • Expect that capacity building is a fundamental activity between partners • Be attentive to message development and who delivers the message • Foster safe spaces for continued dialogue
  21. 21. USING EVIDENCE TO EXPAND CHOICE, EMPOWER WOMEN, AND INVOLVE COMMUNITIES. QUESTIONS What have you learned about effective ways to communicate about family planning? - Key messages - Messengers - Communication channels Are there any circumstances that are presently keeping you from being more involved programmatically family planning?

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