Over the last ten years, the fertility rate in Uganda has remained persistently high with an average of 6.7 births per woman. According to the Uganda Demographic Health Survey 2006, 41% of the women in Uganda would like to delay or stop having children but are not using modern family planning, and therefore, have an unmet need. The main reasons for non-use, according to that survey, were fear of health problems or side effects, and husband's disapproval. Working with the Ministry of Health with funding from the United States Agency of International Development, the Health Communication Partnership has worked to address underlying barriers to family planning use through two consecutive multi-channel communication campaigns:
1. The Fred and Bernard Campaign (2006 - 2009) was designed to increase the proportion of men who want to have smaller families and who discuss family planning with their partners. The campaign revolved around two characters--Fred, who had a large family and was struggling to provide for his family's needs, and Bernard, who had a small family and was able to provide for them. This campaign included the "Neighbors" mini-drama series, which was awarded Best Radio Drama Global Media Award from the Population Institute in 2009.
2. According to a secondary analysis of the 2006 UDHS conducted by Macro International Inc. in 2008, the unmet need for family planning in Uganda was the main reason for high fertility rates and rapid population growth. The report stated that even modest declines in the unmet need could have significant positive effects. So, HCP conducted qualitative research in 2010 to explore why some women adopted family planning while others continued to have an unmet need. The research showed that most women using modern family planning methods had spoken with a health worker, while those who did not use modern FP had not. And from this, the Nurse Mildred Unmet Need for Family Planning Campaign (2011 - 2012) was designed to bring the kindly Nurse Mildred into rural homes through radio drama, talk shows and spots, posters, and billboards.
This toolkit shares all the background resources, strategies, materials, research, monitoring tools and evaluation information for these two evidence-based campaigns, so they can be rolled out or adapted for use in other areas of Uganda or in other countries.