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.
Between 2012 and 2019, APC worked closely with a number of East African FBOs and CBOs to advance family planning in last-mile communities. Along with colleagues from these organizations and USAID, in September 2019 the project held a consultative workshop, “Voices of Experience,” to harvest the wisdom of individuals and groups working in this area and to inform new activities and possible funding going forward.