Faith Community Matters

Evidence demonstrates that 84 percent of the world’s population identifies as religious. The importance of religion to people in developing countries is well documented, as is the high level of trust afforded to religious leaders by government leaders and citizens. In many regions of the world, faith-based organizations (FBOs) are important providers of both clinical and community-based health services—for rural, remote, and marginalized populations, FBOs are sometimes the sole source of health care. In many African regions, FBOs provide a quarter to half of all health services. As partners with USAID’s Bureau for Global Health for more than 30 years, FBOs have used their unique skills, presence, and trusted relationships within communities to address the health needs of people around the world. Advancing Partners & Communities (APC) collaborates with FBOs to strengthen their community health and family planning capacity. APC is currently working with Christian Connections for International Health (CCIH) to help identify church communities in a targeted country willing to engage in family planning services and pilot test materials to improve these services for adults and youth.

Photo credit: Markus Kostner/World Bank

Faith-based organizations work on a wide variety of global health issues from a holistic perspective, often including family planning. Many FBOs advocate from a Christian perspective for access to family planning services to protect the health of mothers and children. Churches are often integral to communities, especially in developing nations, and faith leaders can be important messengers of health information, including the lifesaving benefits of family planning. Through advocacy efforts, education, and open and productive dialogue on why family planning is consistent with Christian values, FBOs are in a unique position to hear and voice the concerns of both health professionals and faith communities.

Some select examples of these efforts are below:

Diverse Approaches by FBOs to Sexual and Reproductive Health

Advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights through faith-based approaches: a mapping study
July 2014 | Study

This mapping study sheds light on the opportunities and barriers faith-based organizations face working on sexual and reproductive health.

Peer-Reviewed Literature on FBOs

Christian Journal for Global Health
September 2014 | Journal Article

This journal disseminates evidence-based best practices; seeks to improve understanding of intercultural work in the context of health; and increases worldwide exposure to the innovations, experiences, and perspectives of global health workers.

Intersection of Faith and Family Planning

Voices from the Global South
January 2017 | Video

The members of Christian Connections for International Health span the globe. They have long-term working relationships with numerous faith groups, health systems and governments. They are uniquely placed to hear and voice the concerns of both health professionals and ordinary citizens. Here CCIH has gathered statements about family planning, its history, and its current strengths and weaknesses in several countries of the Global South.  

Religious Engagement in Family Planning Policies
January 2016 | Report

A report by CCIH affiliate World Faiths Development Dialogue provides analysis of the role of religious communities in family planning policies in six majority Muslim countries: Indonesia, Bangladesh, Iran, Morocco, Pakistan and Senegal. Although the experiences of the six countries are diverse, the report demonstrates that effective family planning policies must take religion into account. It also includes an appendix of verses from the Qur'an and hadith that can be referred to in relation to family planning. 

What Does the Bible Say About Family Planning?
February 2015 | Publication

This blog by CCIH member Dr. Paul Robinson explores the connections between family planning and the supporting theology.

Faith-based Organizations and Family Planning in Nigeria and Uganda in 2014
June 2014 | Video

This video is of a session at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on June 24, 2014, where Dr. Daniel Gobgab of the Christian Health Association of Nigeria and Dr. Tonny Tumwesigye of the Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau discussed how their organizations are working with faith communities to increase family planning use for improved maternal and child health.

Faith and International Family Planning
February 2014 | Report

This report explores the intersection of faith and family planning discussing, the diverse and extensive work of faith-inspired organizations (FIOs) and faith leaders in family planning efforts throughout developing nations, as well as the ways in which faith can affect family planning policy.

Below you will find links to resources created by APC and other organizations.

APC Resources

Voices from the Global South
January 2017 | Video

Christian Connections for International Health has gathered statements about family planning, its history, and its current strengths and weaknesses in several countries of the Global South.

CHW Central - A Global Resource For Community Health Workers
April 2016 | Website

CHW Central, launched in 2011, is an online community of practice managed by Initiatives Inc. that provides a forum for online discussions and exchanges with public health professionals and program managers, policy makers and CHWs in the U.S. and across the globe.

Faith Matters: International Family Planning from a Christian Perspective
July 2015 | Publication

This resource is intended to help faith communities discuss family planning among their congregations. It includes biblical analysis, discussion of why family planning saves lives and improves maternal and child health, and lists of helpful resources.

Faith Matters: A Christian Approach to Engaging Youth in Family Planning
July 2015 | Brief

In this brief, Christian Connections for International Health (CCIH) discusses a Christian approach to engaging youth in family planning.

External Resources

Religious Engagement in Family Planning Policies
January 2016 | Report

A report by Christian Connections for International Health affiliate World Faiths Development Dialogue provides analysis of the role of religious communities in family planning policies in six majority Muslim countries: Indonesia, Bangladesh, Iran, Morocco, Pakistan and Senegal. Although the experiences of the six countries are diverse, the report demonstrates that effective family planning policies must take religion into account. It also includes an appendix of verses from the Qur'an and hadith that can be referred to in relation to family planning.

Faith Matters: A Christian Approach to Engaging Youth in Family Planning
June 2015 | Brief

Faith-based organizations provide over 40 percent of health care services in some developing countries and have been expanding access to effective family planning methods to hard-to-reach communities for more than 30 years.

What Does the Bible Say About Family Planning?
February 2015 | Publication

This blog by CCIH member Dr. Paul Robinson explores the connections between family planning and the supporting theology.

CCIH Family Planning Resources
September 2014 | List

This list of links directs users to further CCIH resources on family planning.

Family Planning Advocacy Toolkit
September 2014 | Toolkit

This toolkit shares evidence-based advocacy guidance and tools to add family planning to the voices of existing advocacy networks, enable leaders at all levels in low- and middle-income countries to advocate for family planning, and grow family planning champions for sustainable organizations.

CCIH Documents on Family Planning
September 2014 | List

This list encompasses the Christian Connections for International Health publications on family planning.

Pages

Christian Connections for International Health (CCIH) promotes international health and wholeness from a Christian perspective. CCIH shares information and provides a forum for dialogue, networking, advocacy, and fellowship to the spectrum of Christian organizations and individuals working in international health.

The Salvation Army World Service Office (SAWSO) supports and strengthens The Salvation Army’s efforts to work hand in hand with communities to improve the health, economic, and spiritual conditions of vulnerable populations worldwide. SAWSO provides HIV/AIDS and community health services, disaster relief, and economic strengthening activities. They also offer seminars to raise awareness and train community members to eliminate human trafficking.

World Vision is a Christian relief and development organization that focuses its efforts on emergency relief, education, health care, gender issues, economic development, and child advocacy. World Vision partners with children and families to help them break the cycle of poverty using a community development approach.

Ongoing | Event

This event list informs readers about upcoming events and training at CCIH.

Ongoing | Event

The Christian Connections for International Health (CCIH) annual conference will be held June 17-19, 2016, at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. Consider sharing your work and stories of the intersection of faith, health and development in a panel session at the conference. CCIH is also offering a general conference scholarship and, new this year, the Luann and Ray Martin Maternal and Child Health Scholarship for students interested in careers in MCH.

Ongoing | General News

This Christian Connections in International Health (CCIH) list of news items showcases recent articles about CCIH.

September 2014 | Video

This 14-minute presentation was developed by Kenya's National Council for Population and Development, Inter-Religious Council of Kenya, and PRB's Informing Decisionmakers to Act (IDEA) project with guidance from a Kenya ENGAGE task force comprised of religious leaders and representatives from the faith and reproductive health communities in Kenya.

Ongoing | Video Channel

This YouTube channel contains CCIH videos from members and guests about promoting global health and wellness from a Christian perspective.

Dr. Tonny

To equip clergy to discuss and promote healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies, Christian Connections for International Health and Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau conducted a two-day training for a diverse group of religious leaders, including Catholic, Muslim, Pentecostal and Protestant leaders.