Community-based Family Planning

Community-based family planning (CBFP) brings FP information and services to women and men in the communities where they live, rather than requiring them to travel to health facilities. CBFP can effectively increase access to, interest in, and demand for FP in underserved rural and urban areas in the following cases:

  • When demand for FP is high but access to services is low
  • When demand for, access to, and use of FP is low
  • When demand for and of FP services is low, but access to services is high, and there is an interest in increasing demand
  • Where the health infrastructure is weak

CBFP programs utilize a variety of community-based channels, including community health workers, community depots, drug shops, mobile services, and the private sector. CBFP services involve a significant level of community ownership. Key steps to encourage community ownership include working with leaders, stakeholders, and community members to identify challenges and priorities for improving FP, and subsequently involving them in identifying and implementing strategies and activities to address any concerns. These groups include women of reproductive age, partners, in-laws, traditional and religious leaders, politicians, health representatives, community health workers, representatives of special interest groups, community organizations, and local NGOs. Because this involvement creates a program that is responsive to the community’s needs, community members will be more likely to recognize and accept the benefits of the program. This participation also fosters community ownership and responsibility for the program’s success and contributes both to behavior change and to sustainability.

CBFP programs should be linked to the government’s health system so as to not duplicate, replace, or ignore the system. A CBFP program must carefully choose the types of FP methods to be offered based on the ministry of health’s policy, community needs, and availability of methods via health facilities. If there is a gap between community needs and what is available, the CBFP program should consider how to fill this gap. CBFP programs need to ensure that quality FP services are available at the referral health facilities and address identified health facility strengthening needs in their project plan or through partners’ plans. 

Please also see the below sections on CBFP in this toolkit:

Key Resources for Community-Based Family Planning: