We mobilize faith organizations for family health and wellbeing

Given their trusted and strong presence, there is tremendous potential of faith organisations to influence people’s choices on family health and wellbeing. Faith to Action Network mobilizes faith organizations’ support for integration and streamlining of policies, services and funding for family health and wellbeing.

Religion is central to people’s lives. Between 69% and 98% of the population in Africa describes religion as “very important” in their lives” (Pew 2010). 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.

Faith organizations represent strong pillars of Africa’s health systems. 30% to 70% of the African health infrastructure is owned by faith organisations. On average, private health providers account for 28 % of the sources of modern contraceptive methods in Africa.

Faith organisations harness tremendous power to shape public policy. High level decision makers’ commitment to family health and wellbeing is strongly influenced by factors such as prevailing cultural and religious attitudes. In many countries, winning the support of faith organisations for SRHR can have a snowball effect in policy and funding arenas.

Faith organizations serve as hubs of social connectivity. In addition to providing care, support and medicines, faith leaders often also provide less tangible assistance, such as information, encouragement, compassion and hope. Faith leaders and centers of religious life very often also serve as hubs of social connectivity. As a result, faith-based leaders can play an important role in strengthening and sustaining communities’ abilities to prevent, protect against, mitigate the effects of, respond to, and recover from incidents with negative health consequences through individual and community resilience.

Faith to Action Network’s better packaging of language and terminologies has increased faith actors’ acceptance of family health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, many misperceptions and misinformation on family health and wellbeing and interpretation of scriptures prevail in religious circles. Faith leaders, staff in faith organizations, teachers in faith-run schools and health workers in faith-run facilities do not always have access to current knowledge and skills. Many faith organizations’ resistance to family health and wellbeing is grounded in inadequate terminology. Language is not adapted to culture, beliefs, ages and education levels of people. Faith to Action Network offers this translation and interpretation expertise.

Faith to Action Network has created spaces to engage in policy discussions at regional level, national and sub-national level. Decision making often happens behind closed doors without meaningful involvement of faith organizations. This hinders ownership and buy-in of policies and creates resistance.

Faith to Action Network has increased faith organizations’ exposure to different faith interpretations, methodologies and approaches on family health and wellbeing, by organizing dialogues and exchanges between faith organizations. Often, lack of exposure to other ideas and approaches leads to closed cultural horizons, standing in the way of self-reflection, innovation, experimenting and change.

Faith to Action Network’s research and demonstration projects generate evidence on faith organizations family health and wellbeing activities. Generally, there is little data on faith organizations’ health services, and even less on the provision of family health and wellbeing services, commodities and information, hampering planning and decision making. Faith-run health facilities report inconsistently into DHIS2. Demographic Health Surveys provide little information or none at all.

Faith to Action Network has brokered partnerships and alliances between unlikely partners – interfaith, intra-faith and with secular organizations. This has increased the voice and impact of faith organizations family health and wellbeing work. Most stakeholders preach to the converted, failing to engage and partner with those holding different ideas. This creates missed opportunities in taking advantage of each others’ strengths.

Faith to Action Network has mobilized faith organizations’ resources for family health and wellbeing. Faith actors represent an untapped funding source for the delivery of family health and wellbeing services. Information from the Ugandan government hints at large contributions to health financing: It notes that the Uganda Catholic Medical Bureau provided 12% of the clinical health workforce. 28% was paid by partners (government, donors, religious organizations) and 72% from internally generated resources. Resource mobilization efforts need to target internal resources from faith organisations, and their capacity to fundraise from local communities and governments.

 

Faith to Action's most recent health activities

  • NEW YORK, APRIL 14, 2018 (F2A) – The Population Commission was established by the Economic and Social Council in its resolution 3 (III) of 3 October 1946. In its resolution 49/128 of 19 December 1994, the General Assembly decided that the Commission should be renamed the Commission on Population and Development. In the same resolution,

  • (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 November 12-15, 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda, Faith to Action Network and Christian Connections for International Health

  • Kampala, Uganda (21 February 2018) – Faith and Cultural groups in East Africa want the Partner States to make national health insurance schemes widely accessible to their citizens. Led by Bishop Stephen Kaziimba and Sheikh Mohammad Waisswa, the leaders made these recommendations during the inaugural roundtable on health financing held in Kampala. The call for

  • 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 International Health on March 13th, 2018, for a discussion on the way forward and how to prepare for ICFP

  • Quezon City, Philippines – July 22, 2017 The Luzon region of Philippines is set to experience lower maternal mortality rates that were previously characteristic among young women blow 24 years of age. This is after religious leaders in the region began promoting family planning within and outside the faith spaces. Speaking at the conclusion of

  • Canon Grace Kaiso has called on development partners to empower faith communities into using their spaces and institutions to promote family planning. The chairperson of Faith to Action Network said on this on July 11, 2017 while addressing the Family Planning Summit in London, UK. He was accompanied by Prof Ahmed Ragab and Peter Munene,

  • Peter Munene, Faith to Action Network’s CEO, on 4th April 2017 represented the Network in a panel during a formal side event to the 50th Session of the Commission on Population and Development 2017 in New york. The World Council of Churches and ACT Alliance organized the side event in cooperation with the United Nations

  • A report on teenage pregnancy commissioned by Faith to Action Network, the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (Supkem) and Kilifi County government shows that one out of four teenage girls in the area is either pregnant or a mother. The report points at retrogressive cultural practices and poverty as the main catalysts to early marriages

  • A qualitative research study on teenage pregnancy commissioned by Faith to Action Network together with the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM) and Kilifi County government has revealed that an estimate of one out of four teenage girls in the Kilifi is either pregnant or a mother. These findings were revealed during a validation and

  • Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has commissioned an independent evaluation of all Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) programmes that have been funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs between 2011 and 2015. The evaluation aims to contribute to the Ministry’s and its partners’ learning with regard to the design and implementation of

  • Partners working in Nakuru County can now work collectively towards a guided objective in achieving family health outcomes for the wellbeing of women, families and communities thanks to the newly launched Family Planning Costed Implementation plan 2016/17-2020/21 and the Reproductive Maternal Newborn Adolescent Health (RMNAH) investment framework 2016/7-2020/21. Kenya Muslim Youth Development Organization (KMYDO), a

  • Faith to Action Network’s Vice Chairperson of the Steering Council, Prof. Ahmed Ragab, has been nominated for two-year membership position with reference group of FP2020 on faith issue, being a member of both IICPSR and f2a for two years. Moreover, Prof. Ahmed Ragab, who besides his role as chairperson of the faith to action network,