ICFP + Faith
What You Need to Know
Faith & Family Planning
The Faith Community Is Key to Universal Access
Faith is a fundamental part of life for people across the globe. Research shows that worldwide, more than eight in ten people identify with a religion. More importantly for improving family planning access in underserved areas, over 90 percent of people in countries with an unmet need for family planning consider religion a very important part of who they are. Therefore, it’s absolutely necessary that these communities are able to see that family planning is consistent with their faith values and supports healthy families.
Faith Leaders as Influential Advocates
Religious leaders are well respected and influential with their communities and policymakers, making them ideal advocates for sensitive issues such as family planning and reproductive health.
Faith-based Health Providers Reach Far and Wide
Faith-based health providers are major health care providers around the world. In 2015, The Lancet explored the reach and quality of faith-based health providers, which provide 20 to 70 percent of medical care in Sub-Saharan Africa. According to the Lancet series, evidence indicates that the faith-based providers give care without prejudice to people of all faiths and the populations they serve have a high opinion of the care they receive.
Faith Community Recommendations
Faith Community Recommendations To Advance FP Access and Uptake During COVID-19
Faith communities and faith leaders play crucial gatekeeping and influencing roles in the success of advancing health in many countries. The influence of faith communities and faith leaders have been an essential component of efforts to address early marriage, combat harmful traditional practices, establish equitable treatment for women and girls, and overcome the stigma around male involvement in RMNCH. Now, with the global COVID-19 pandemic, it is even more important to engage faith leaders and faith communities in sharing accurate information about health.
As part of the Digital Forum, the Faith Subcommittee developed recommendations on how faith leaders and communities can work with national governments to advance FP access and encourage FP uptake in communities.
Faith Community at ICFP 2022
The Faith Subcommittee will encourage a wide variety of presentations and discussions related to faith and family planning, as well as plan media sessions such as Facebook Live and other opportunities to capitalize on the broad reach of social and earned media.
The Subcommittee is also exploring a pre-conference and networking events including a donor roundtable to share the impact of faith community work in FP. The plans will be finalized after consultations with the National Faith Subcommittee of the ICFP National Steering Committee in Thailand
Stay tuned as we add more activities and details to this list!
Power of Family Planning
Empowering Parents to Plan Their Families and Overcome Poverty in Pakistan
By: Kathy Erb, Christian Connections for International Health
Family planning helps families improve health and overcome poverty. But there are a number of reasons women are reluctant to practice healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies in Pakistan, says Dr. Ashchenaz Lall, a Hospital Director in Punjab. “This is a male dominated society, and women don’t have much power in deciding the number of children they have,” he explains. “There is pressure from society to have a large number of children and Family Planning methods and procedures are considered taboo. Faith-based convictions sometimes influence a family’s decision in a direction away from family planning.
At a glance
ICFP Faith Subcommittee
In light of the powerful influence of faith, faith leaders and the far reach of faith-based health providers, the faith community must be involved in family planning to achieve universal access. The Faith Subcommittee formed before the 2016 ICFP in Indonesia to bring together representatives from a variety of faith traditions to share best practices in faith-based involvement in FP, lift up the work of FBOs in family planning to dispel harmful myths and misperceptions, and encourage partnership among FBOs and the broader global health community.
There is growing recognition among the global health community at large and the family planning community in particular about the vital role of the faith community in expanding access and uptake of family planning. The Faith Subcommittee plans to continue its earlier momentum and heighten awareness at ICFP 2022 among the broader family planning community that faith-based organizations are ready, willing and effective partners in family planning education, provision and advocacy.
The Subcommittee also seeks to leverage ICFP 2022 as an opportunity to share this message outside the family planning community to reach broad populations, including people of faith, to help dispel myths that family planning goes against faith-based values, and instead, is consistent with beliefs that support protecting mothers and children.
Representatives from Christian Connections for International Health, Catholics for Reproductive Health and the Faith To Action Network (F2A) are co-chairing the Subcommittee. A number of representatives from other organizations are serving on the Subcommittee; but membership will be finalized once Terms of Reference are signed.