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. FBOs often seek to empower and protect youth and support their well being, but can vary in their capacity to do so. FBOs 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 HIV and educate their faithful about reproductive health issues. HIV 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.
The HIV epidemic remains of global significance and there is a need to target sub-Saharan Africa, since it is the hardest hit region worldwide. Religion and more specifically faith-based organizations can have an effect on socio-cultural factors that increase or decrease the risk of infection and offer preventative interventions to the wider community. The review by Ochillo et al. seeks to understand the influence of faith-based organisations on HIV prevention in Africa (2017).
Mobilizing Religious Leaders as Champions for Healthy Timing and Spacing of Pregnancies
This is training package for sensitizing religious leaders on healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies and family planning.
Faith-based organisations (FBOs) are potentially an important role-player in HIV prevention, but there has been little systematic study of their potential strengths and weaknesses in this area. Mash et al. reviewed the evidence to identify the strengths and weaknesses of FBOs in terms of HIV prevention. The authors concluded that to be more effective, the church needs to take up the challenge of empowering young women, recognizing the need for their sexually-active youth to use protection, reflecting on attitudes and changing the didactical methods used. (2016)
Faith-Based Leadership in Africa: An Integral Part of Improving Family Planning and Reproductive Health
Christian Connections for International Health (CCIH) (through the Advancing Partners & Communities Project), the USAID-funded Evidence to Action Project (E2A), and Georgetown University’s Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH) joined to co-host a pre-conference session on family planning (FP) at ACHAP’s biennial meeting, on February 23, 2015, that sought to empower participating organizations to improve the health of families in their communities through high-quality, accessible FP services. This conference report summarized the commitments made and concrete steps for engaging religious leaders and improving family planning (2015).
Developed by the Jesus Cares Ministries with support from Population Action International, this training manual was designed to train youth in churches and mosques in Malawi to enhance communication between young people and their parents, faith leaders, peers and the world at large. Multiple topics are covered including child marriage and reproductive health (2017).
UNFPA produced this training manual, Engaging Faith-based Organizations in HIV Prevention, with support from the Unified Budget Work Plan of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). Its aim is to encourage policy makers, programmers in the field and development practitioners to recognize the complex social, cultural and economic factors at play in HIV prevention and to partner with faith-based organizations to address them. The ultimate goal: to advance the ICPD agenda and reverse the spread of HIV (2007).
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 reproductive health of adolescents and youth (2012).
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:
- Teaching Youth About Reproductive Health and HIV
- Family Life Education: A Handbook for Adults Working with Youth from a Christian Perspective
- Family Life Education: Teaching Adults to Communicate with Youth from a Muslim Perspective
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. (2010).