• Straight Talk on Family Planning and Religion at ICFP 2018

    Kigali, RWANDA – 12 NOVEMBER 2018 (CCIH) – Faith-based organizations have provided family planning services as part of basic healthcare for decades. People of faith value healthy families and understand that healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies is good for mothers, children and the entire family. Why does there still seem to be a disconnect in the minds of many between religion and family planning? How does the faith community talk about family planning in a way that overcomes negative misperceptions? And how can we partner with the faith community to educate and deliver family planning services? Moderator Yoram Siame of the Churches Health Association of Zambia has led this discussion with Bicbic Chua, Executive Director of the Catholics for Reproductive Health, and Mohammed Bun Bida, Director of Muslim Family Counselling Services. The discussion was organized in collaboration with Christian Connections for International Health. https://youtu.be/R2xDnrnTAAA


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  • Faith Leaders’ Commitments on Family Planning at ICFP 2018 Closing Ceremony

    Kigali, RWANDA – 15 NOVEMBER 2018 (F2A) – At the fifth International Conference on Family Planning, faith leaders developed a commitment statement. As a statement of support and lessons learned, it was presented in the closing plenary session by Reverend Dr. Lydia Mwaniki, Director, Theology, Family Life and Gender Justice, All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), and Sheikh Musa Sindayigaya, Rwanda Interfaith Council for Health. The statement is below followed by a French translation. Commitment Statement of the faith community We, the faith community recognize that life is a gift from God and is sacred. It ought not to be taken away by preventable causes resulting from lack of information, support and care. We are mindful of those who have lost their lives while giving life and the challenges along the path of providing family planning to our communities. We are thankful for health services that reach people in need and increase availability of low cost services offered by faith facilities; we cherish religious leaders who openly support access to sexual and reproductive health services; for increasing collaboration between governments and faith communities in providing quality and accessible services. We acknowledge that increased uptake in family planning has reduced maternal mortality and child mortality; we commend the youth that are in school and those that are contributing to vibrant economies in their countries. The faith community has learned 3 main lessons from ICFP 2018: We have learned about the power and success of faith-based organizations and religious leaders in contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in collaboration with other stakeholders. We have learned of the many opportunities that exist in achieving greater access to and uptake of family planning and look forward to the ways the faith community can continue to shape the family planning agenda, until and after 2020. We have acquired skills and knowledge that will help accelerate the faith communities’ actions at national, regional, and community levels. The faith community provides enormous opportunities for progress in family planning and we make the following three commitments. We commit to continuing to provide and support quality family planning education, service delivery, and referrals to all communities. We commit to advocate, sensitize, mobilize and partner with governments, traditional and other religious leaders, and stakeholders to enact policies that address lack of access to services due to distances, cost, lack of trained personnel, and insecurity. We commit to advocate for religious leaders to address the unique issues that affect our youth in family planning. We have been encouraged again that we can gather many faiths together and agree on a common agenda while maintaining the integrity of our faith in serving others. We ask other delegates to commit to engaging with us and we commit to engaging with you. Thank you for this opportunity to share our commitments with you, as we all work to ensure all our communities survive and thrive. La Déclaration de la Communauté Religieuse (French Translation)      


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  • Interfaith prayers for improved access to sexual and reproductive health

    Kigali, RWANDA – 12 NOVEMBER 2018 (F2A) – 200 faith leaders and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) advocates from across the world, jointly commemorated lost lives due to maternal mortality, prayed to overcome obstacles in enabling access to SRH services and celebrated progress in uptake of family planning. Faith to Action Network, Christian Connections for International Health and the Rwandese faith community hosted interfaith prayers on the eve of the fifth International Conference on Family Planning. Interfaith prayers: Remembrancehttps://youtu.be/p-po6NtG7WMInterfaith prayers: Overcoming challengeshttps://youtu.be/nA_MZyE3mP0Interfaith prayers: Celebrating achievementshttps://youtu.be/JKIaHq8u05kClosing interfaith prayerhttps://youtu.be/JB7ZMMoeFI4 The interfaith prayers reminded participants of lives that should not have been taken away by preventable causes: “Life is a gift from God and is sacred. It ought not to be taken away by preventable causes. We are mindful of those who for lack of information, support and care have lost their lives through childbirth or abortion or conflict; we plead to God for forgiveness. We uphold their families and may this loss inspire us to invest ourselves and our resources, towards improving the conditions of the human family.” They prayed for overcoming challenges and obstacles on the way to universal access to sexual and reproductive health. “We are mindful of challenges and obstacles along the path of providing family planning to our communities. For instance, there is a lack of access to services due to distances, cost, lack of trained personnel, insecurity, and remoteness; there are challenges in how policies do not support family planning; there are cultures that encourage early marriage and religious leaders who oppose FP; there are government policies in which girls do not go back to school if pregnant. There are women who are raped or used as weapons of war during conflicts.” Jointly, participants celebrated achievements and gave thanks for progress realized in sexual and reproductive health: “We are thankful for health services that reach the last mile and increasing availability of low cost of services offered by faith facilities. We celebrate religious leaders who openly support access to sexual and reproductive health services; for increasing collaboration between governments and faith communities in providing quality and accessible services. We are thankful for the increase in uptake in family planning that has reduced maternal mortality and child mortality. We celebrate the youth that are in school and contributing to vibrant economies in their countries.” Together, faith leaders and SRH advocates committed themselves “to being a source of information and encouragement to enable those affected to take informed and responsible decisions. We commit to continuing to provide and support quality family planning service delivery, referrals, and products to all communities.” Interfaith celebrations for family planning, health and wellbeing        


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  • Norm entrepreneurs – faith actors’ role in family planning. A panel discussion at ICFP 2018

    Kigali, RWANDA – 13 NOVEMBER 2018 (F2A) – As “norm entrepreneurs” faith actors are well-suited to leading the change of social norms in family planning. Faith to Action Network hosted a discussion panel at ICFP 2018, describing recent norm changes in different faith communities. The Council of African Provinces of Africa resolved to promote family planning coupled with practical actions in universities and dioceses. Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims has changed its interpretation of child spacing in Islam and has renewed its theological and scholarly ties with Al Azhar University-Cairo. Using its Faith for Life model, Christian Aid has enabled local faith groups to embrace maternal and child health and family planning in Isiolo and Narok counties, Kenya. In turn, Tearfund and Église du Christ au Congo champion positive masculinities, denounce intimate partner violence and promote family planning with institutionalization in mind. Norm changes in family planning: the abstracts and presentations The World Bank suggests that ‘fertility transitions may be better viewed as a norm-driven process than as the aggregate outcome of autonomous decisions’ (2015 World Development Report). Social norms are people’s shared expectations and beliefs on how people should behave (ODI 2015). In particular, religious beliefs often affect individuals’ behaviours which impact health, including age at marriage, family structure and roles and preventive health practices like strategies couples use to achieve their preferred family size. Furthermore, misinterpretation of religious teachings fosters harmful practices including child marriage and female genital mutilation. As “norm entrepreneurs” faith actors are well-suited to leading the change of social norms in family planning. Passionate individuals, who are well connected or highly central to a faith organization, or who have high status can play a key role in catalysing normative change in family planning. In this panel, four norm entrepreneurs will describe processes of normative change they are promoting. The panel described main milestones, lessons and results and provided an outlook on future developments. The presented cases are powerful examples promoting normative change in family planning from within faith organizations. Faith to Action Network encourages and supports such organizational transformations at all levels so that these interventions are applied widely. Family planning needs to be integrated into theology and pastoral care, institutional policies and practice, faith-run schools, universities and health facilities. Exposure to these new ideas and practices on family planning need to be discussed through formal and informal channels, including through places of worship and media. Abstracts Presentations Prof Ahmed Ragab: On breastfeeding and healthy timing and spacing of pregnancieshttps://youtu.be/elXyjSRrTrwCanon Kaiso: How the Anglican Church in Africa will promote family planninghttps://youtu.be/HgPKyB5yPsAArchbishop Marete: Call to action to prevent teenage pregnancieshttps://youtu.be/32ql0QTlvnMCanon Kaiso: Why I promote family planning, health and wellbeinghttps://youtu.be/86O7hoyLFW4Prof Ragab: Contraceptives save liveshttps://youtu.be/wYEwFiE8H3YCharles Opiyo: From commitment to practicehttps://youtu.be/9fiQLyUjPFECharles Opiyo: Leveraging faith structureshttps://youtu.be/tslqvqlzIWI


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  • Faith contributions to promoting family planning recognized in new FP2020 annual report

    Kigali, RWANDA, 13 NOVEMBER 2018 (F2A) – Collaboration is the animating principle of the Family Planning 2020 partnership. Represented by its Vice Chair Person Prof Dr Ahmed Ragab, Faith to Action Network served for two years on…


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  • Faith actors’ voice for family planning: taking stock of achievements ahead of ICFP 2018

    (13 March 2018) – Since 2016, faith actors across the world have made impressive progress in promoting family planning, through advocacy, awareness creation and service delivery. In preparation of the fifth International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) scheduled for…


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  • Maintaining Momentum: Webinar on ICFP 2018 Faith Community Involvement

    The faith community has realized impressive achievements in promoting family planning services and information since it met at the 2016 International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP). Please, join Faith to Action Network and Christian Connections for…


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