Faith-Based Organizations and Religious & Spiritual Leaders
In much of the world, places of worship are integral to communities, and spiritual leaders are often highly respected and have a strong influence on behavior. Beyond this influence, faith-based groups also serve as the providers of health care in many communities. Based on World Health Organization and other mapping studies, faith-based organizations are providing anywhere from 25 percent to 50 percent or higher of all health services in many sub-Saharan African countries and regions.
Reaching religious and spiritual leaders with messages on the benefits of healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies is critical to the success of any voluntary family planning advocacy campaign. Once they understand the benefits of family planning to the well-being of women, children, families and entire communities, spiritual leaders can become powerful advocates.
This subsection of the Toolkit provides resources on:
- Reaching out to religious and spiritual leaders
- Preparing sermons spiritual leaders can use to help discuss family planning
- Adopting best practices in working with faith-based organizations
- Demonstrating support among faith leaders for family planning, including official endorsements signed by religious leaders