Faith organisations are crucial contributors to the achievement of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) worldwide. They reach large numbers of people with health messages that resonate with their beliefs and local culture, and provide health services through sustained support networks.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), faith organisations provide between 30-70% of health care in developing countries, often reaching the vulnerable and marginalised who are locked outside of the mainstream public and other private health services. They also support maternal and child health while providing varied family planning services within their health facilities.
There is however, incredible diversity among religious leaders and faith communities regarding their attitudes around the issues of family planning and reproductive health. Equally, their participation in decision and policymaking is often hindered by lack of a unified voice. Even within single faiths, there are varying positions and viewpoints, and the nuances of different perspectives that are not well understood by those outside of particular groups. Therefore, although there are established interfaith structures and platforms, they do not effectively address SRHR or provide space to identify and discuss common values and areas of consensus. Furthermore, many faith leaders need skills on how to discuss issues around reproductive health and family planning both within and outside of their communities.
Faith to Action Network offers faith organisations of diverse faiths a space to building dialogue and consensus on issues of family health and wellbeing. We believe that religious leaders and faith organisations enjoy strong authority in the local communities and are well positioned to influence other faiths, governments and donors to play a critical role in providing adequate resources to improve family health and wellbeing.
We recognize the importance of access to information about and quality services to enable families to plan the timing and spacing of their pregnancies consistent with their faith for family wellbeing, for achievement of country health targets and to support achievement of Post 2015 Development agenda.
To achieve its set of objectives, the Network has four priority areas:
- Networking and Coordination.
- Research, Monitoring and Evaluation.
- Capacity Building and Technical Support.
- Advocacy and Communications.