Faith-based Programs for Youth

Faith-based organizations (FBOs) help shape young people's values and attitudes. Given the holistic nature of their work, FBOs provide a rich opportunity to work with and for youth. While some FBOs empower and protect youth, others suppress young people’s rights and well-being. FBOs and sexual and reproductive health programs share common goals, such as creating nurturing, healthy, and safe places for youth to grow and develop. Many organized religions are still searching for an effective approach to respond to the HIV/AIDS pandemic and to educate their faithful about sexual and reproductive health issues. AIDS has caused many faith-based groups to go beyond traditional religious education to address sexual behaviors more explicitly. At the same time, reproductive health organizations are beginning to target interventions to faith-based groups because of their influence in communities, and because many provide health services.


Advancing Reproductive Health and Family Planning through Religious Leaders and Faith-Based Organizations

This brief highlights the work that Pathfinder has done with various religious leaders on reproductive health in a variety of countries (2006).


Enhancing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Well-being of Young People

This paper reports on some of the internal and external drivers of youth wellbeing generated by religion, spirituality and the work of faith-based organizations (FBOs). It suggests ways forward for more fruitful collaboration between the UN and faith-based organizations on the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents and youth (2012).


Faith Matters: A Christian Approach to Engaging Youth in Family Planning

This technical brief outlines how churches and other faith-based organizations of Christian faith can work with youth to support use of family planning (2015).


Faith-based Family Life Education Curricula

These curricula contain a six-workshop guide and a participant handbook designed for a Christian or Muslim audience. The workshop structure encourages open discussion about sexuality, reproductive health, and HIV in the context of faith communities. They provide a forum to clarify Christian and Muslim values around these topics, while providing accurate technical information (2007). 
Sample curricula include:

  1. Teaching Youth About Reproductive Health and HIV
  2. Family Life Education: A Handbook for Adults Working with Youth from a Christian Perspective
  3. Family Life Education: Teaching Adults to Communicate with Youth from a Muslim Perspective

My Life - Starting Now: Knowledge and Skills for Young Adolescents

This manual offers a participatory approach for church leaders to teach and learn about HIV/AIDS. It employs role play, case studies, games, stories, quizzes, Bible study, and artwork to promote discussion and explore critical life skills for young people. It also includes sessions for parents and guardians on their roles in guiding, supporting, and educating young people. Hard copies may be ordered for a fee; electronic copies may be downloaded from the Internet (2010).


Culture Matters: Working with Communities and Faith-based Organizations - Case Studies from Country Programmes

This older report uses nine case studies to describe how to work within cultures to foster stronger progress toward achieving international development goals and advancing human rights. It explains how to integrate cultural analysis into development programs, especially in the critical areas of gender equity and equality and reproductive health and rights. The case studies are from Brazil, Cambodia, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Iran, Malawi, Uganda, and Yemen (2004).