A Few of Our Favorite Family Planning Resources
It’s hard to believe this now, given all the information we have available at our fingertips, but when I was a college student in the mid-2000s, the Internet was barely used as a research tool. If I wanted to know which resources in my field of study were the best and most reputable, I asked a librarian, consulted an encyclopedia, or saved clippings of magazine articles by experts. It was a time-consuming process, but I loved it. Why? Because I knew that I could trust my sources.
We live in a different era now. One Google search will deliver millions of results, all in less than a second. It’s liberating, but it can also be paralyzing. Google may deliver the results, but it won’t tell you much about who created the resources within them. You have to figure out who to trust on your own.
K4Health has been a trusted source to family planning professionals for over 40 years. This World Contraception Day, I asked my colleagues at K4Health to share their favorite family planning resources with me. The resulting list is not comprehensive, but it’s vetted by the experts. If you’re a family planning provider, program manager, or advocate, we hope our list will save you some time during your next search. Some of the resources are ours, but we’ve also included many resources from organizations we respect as trusted family planning experts.
For Health Care Providers
Cue Cards for Counseling Adults on Contraception (Pathfinder International)
Why We Like It: Beautifully designed, well-organized, and easy to print, this set of cue cards is designed to help a range of community- and facility-based providers counsel adults on their contraceptive options. The cards reflect the World Health Organization’s Medical Eligibility Criteria and are available in English, Spanish, and French. We also love the companion set of cue cards for counseling adolescents.
Family Planning: A Global Handbook for Providers (USAID, World Health Organization, Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs)
Why We Like It: Available in 13 languages and in circulation since 1997 (last updated in 2011), the Handbook uses simple language to provide guidance on the full range of contraceptive methods. Tested and trusted, it is the guide that health care professionals turn to when they have a question about a contraceptive method, the first tool that new family planning providers receive after being trained to provide contraceptive methods, the conclusive reference that researchers consult when they need a definitive list of characteristics on contraceptive methods, and a useful resource for policy makers as they develop national family planning service delivery guidelines. It also includes tools to help providers and clients compare the effectiveness of methods and to compare characteristics of similar types of methods. *Note: A new edition of the Handbook will be released in late 2017. Sign up for K4Health’s newsletter to receive updates.*
Training Resource Package for Family Planning (USAID, WHO, and UNFPA)
Why We Like It: Clinical training modules broken out by topic (for example, contraceptive methods, benefits of family planning, family planning counseling, and the World Health Organization's family planning guidance) can be downloaded and adapted for local contexts and needs. The site also highlights additional training resources that are useful for adult learning and family planning skills development, like the Global Handbook and resources on basic instructional design skills. Many modules are available in French.
For Program Managers
Why We Like It: This short video highlights the linkages between family planning and each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, taking a complex concept and distilling it into a visually appealing 3-minute format that can be easily shared in meetings, conferences, presentations, and on social media. Also available in French, Spanish, and Bahasa Indonesia.
Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives Training Materials (Health Communication Capacity Collaborative)
Why We Like It: HC3 created this highly professional, adaptable collection for family planning program managers who wish to expand the contraceptive method mix available to youth in their region, encourage youth-friendly contraceptive counseling, or increase LARC acceptance among youth. We love the diversity of formats—the collection includes a short video plus discussion guide, a series of posters, and a take-home brochure for clients—all of which can be adapted to include intervention-specific messaging and even an organization’s logo. All materials available in French.
Why We Like It: POPLINE contains the world’s most comprehensive collection of population and family planning literature, in addition to a variety of subject areas that intersect with global family planning. More importantly, it includes articles from many journals produced in low- and middle-income (LMIC) countries that are not indexed in other bibliographic databases, along with technical and programmatic information found in grey literature. (Interventions described in the grey literature tend to be more up to date, cover a different geographic spread, and be published in languages other than English.) POPLINE aggregates all this information together, provides direct access to full-text when available, and delivers thousands of documents every year to professionals living in LMICs.
Adolescents, Youth & Family Planning Microsite (Family Planning 2020)
Why We Like It: This site’s simple, scrollable format makes it easy for visitors to find resources on the current state of family planning and adolescent and youth engagement, data, laws and policies, and programs and services, as well as resources to make the case for investing in youth. It includes a map of youth-led organizations and networks working all over the world and a quick reference guide to the adolescent and youth content in the FP2020 commitments.
Demystifying Data: A Guide to Using Evidence to Improve Young People’s Sexual Health and Rights (Guttmacher Institute)
Why We Like It: This report, published in 2014 and also available in Spanish and French, is designed to be a resource for advocates, sexuality educators, young people, service providers, and others working to advance the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people around the world. It includes clear guidance on how to take complex data and break it down in easy-to-understand ways for use in policy and advocacy. It also makes the crucial connection between data and health programs.
ENGAGE Multimedia Portfolio (Population Reference Bureau)
Why We Like It: PRB's growing collection of multimedia communication resources helps advocates and communicators explain complex family planning concepts in digestible and audience-friendly terms. With its entertaining narrated videos and presentation guides, the ENGAGE portfolio is a great resource if you're looking to understand or communicate about almost any family planning issue.
Family Planning Advocacy Portfolio (Advance Family Planning)
Why We Like It: The Advance Family Planning Advocacy Portfolio is a soup-to-nuts guide on conducting family planning advocacy that can be tailored to fit any scenario. It includes country-level examples as well as specific exercises and tools for developing an advocacy strategy, implementing the plan, and capturing results. One K4Health staffer says she refers to it at least once a week!
Family Planning Voices (K4Health, Family Planning 2020)
Why We Like It: The site houses a collection of nearly 500 first-person stories about family planning from people in more than 50 different countries—a great resource for advocates, journalists, and anyone tasked with communicating about family planning who wants to incorporate personal stories into their messaging.
Do you have a favorite that’s missing from this list? Tell us in the comments, and let us know why you love it.