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THE IMPACT OF RELIGIOUS LEADERS’ ADVOCACY INTERVENTION IN GUINEA

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THE IMPACT OF RELIGIOUS LEADERS’ ADVOCACY INTERVENTION IN GUINEA. MICHAEL BLAKE AND STELLA BABALOLA Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs, Baltimore, Maryland Paper presented at the 2001 APHA Annual Conference, October 21-25, 2001, Atlanta, GA. Background.

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THE IMPACT OF RELIGIOUS LEADERS’ ADVOCACY INTERVENTION IN GUINEA

MICHAEL BLAKE AND STELLA BABALOLA

Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs, Baltimore, Maryland

Paper presented at the 2001 APHA Annual Conference, October 21-25, 2001, Atlanta, GA

background
Background
  • Guinea’s population is predominantly Muslim
  • Religious leaders are very important community gate keepers and sources of information, particularly in rural areas
  • Few religious leaders know modern methods of FP, many associate FP with sterilization
background4
Background
  • Many leaders believe modern methods are forbidden by Islamic texts
  • Guinea has a group of Islamic scholars willing to increase awareness of Islam and reproductive health (Oulemas de Guinee); some work done with them in HIV/AIDS prevention (by PSI)
advocacy part of men s multimedia campaign
Advocacy Part of Men’s Multimedia Campaign
  • Work with religious leaders was an integral component of the men’s campaign, which was designed and implemented as part of the USAID-funded PRISM RH project in two regions of Guinea: Haute Guinee and Guinee Forestiere. The PRISM project is being implemented by MSH and JHUCCP.
advocacy goal
Advocacy Goal
  • To foster an enabling environment and increased social support for family planning and other health center services.
target audience
Target Audience
  • Religious leaders from towns that have a health center in PRISM project zone (Faranah, Nzerekore, and Kankan regions).
objectives of rl intervention
Objectives of RL Intervention
  • Before the end of the campaign, 75% of religious leaders will know at least 3 modern methods of FP
  • Before the end of the campaign, 50% of religious leaders will hold at least 2 sermons on FP per month
formative research
FORMATIVE RESEARCH
  • Pre-intervention FGDs and in-depth interviews among local religious leaders revealed:
    • Widespread recognition among the religious leaders that closely spaced births are contrary to the teachings of Islam;
    • FP is acceptable for the purpose of child spacing but not for limiting the number of children;
formative research11
FORMATIVE RESEARCH
  • The only situation that could justify the use of FP for limiting the number of births is when the health of the mother is in jeopardy;
  • A lot of misinformation about modern FP methods;
  • Modern family planning methods associated with debauchery and perceived to be contrary to the teachings of Islam;
advocacy strategies
Advocacy Strategies
  • Collaborate with a highly visible and respected religious organization (Oulemas de Guinee)
  • Increase visibility of local leaders
  • Focus on family health
key family planning messages
Key Family Planning Messages
  • Islam supports the use of modern family planning methods among married couples
  • Modern methods of FP are readily available in local health centers
  • Modern FP methods are safe and very effective
project activities workshop
Project Activities: Workshop
  • 15 district workshops:
    • Participants included 3 religious leaders from each health center catchment area.
    • Over 450 leaders attended.
    • The three-day workshops featured local, regional and national facilitators.
project activities workshop15
Project Activities: Workshop
  • The workshop focused on:
    • Islam and Child Health,
    • Islam and Maternal Health,
    • Islam and Couple Health, and
    • Islam and Family Planning
activities video
Activities: Video
  • Video (local language):
    • Made up of four segments reflecting themes of workshop;
    • used to stimulate discussion and give national/regional leader’s viewpoints;
    • in addition to workshop airing, also used during community mobilization events
activities print materials
Activities: Print materials
  • 1 poster : featuring passage from Al-Baqara
  • 2 brochures describing, Islam and Family Planning: What I should know
activities radio
Activities: Radio
  • Radio drama: Imam featured in 3 of 26 episodes
  • Radio programs, including roundtable discussions and interviews with local religious leaders, all in local languages
methodology
METHODOLOGY
  • Impact evaluation is based on panel data derived from pre and post-intervention surveys among religious leaders. The same religious leaders were interviewed before the intervention and at the end of the intervention, four months later.
conclusion
Conclusion
  • It is possible to change religious leaders’ perceptions about modern family planning in a traditional and pronatalist society as Guinea;
  • Putting family planning within the context of Islamic religion enabled religious leaders to identify with the concept and helped to enlist their support in the promotion of family planning;
conclusion52
Conclusion
  • Start dialogue with community leaders on a clear common agenda, such as child survival, then move toward more potentially controversial areas (e.g. HIV/AIDS, family planning)
  • “How” you do is as important as “what” you do.
conclusion53
Conclusion
  • Much work remains to be done with leaders and community members:
    • FP for limiting/permanent methods
    • FGM/FGC
    • Condom promotion
    • Adolescent reproductive health
ad