CARE Uncovers a Strong Force of Support in Chad

CARE Uncovers a Strong Force of Support in Chad

Publication info

Posted
10/3/13

CARE’s Supporting Access to Family Planning and Post Abortion Care (SAFPAC) initiative, operating in Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo and Pakistan, integrates essential sexual and reproductive health services into new and ongoing humanitarian emergencies, emphasizing access to family planning and post-abortion care. SAFPAC’s experience has shown that a progressive policy environment contributes to expanding women’s access to reproductive health services. However, the success of a policy depends on its implementation at local levels, an additional, often neglected, step in reaping the intended results of policy change.

To address this, SAFPAC employs a rights-based frame to engage and work with key influencers to support and implement local policies that protect women’s sexual, reproductive health rights and choice. For example, in Chad, where the Chadian law SRH 006/2002 protects women’s access to family planning services, the project used the prevailing law as a tool to open discussion at the local level on not only the availability of sexual and reproductive health services, but also women’s right to access the services.

In the first 18 months, SAFPAC reached 15,385 new users of family planning in Chad. While other aspects of the intervention contributed to this success, using a national policy as a tool to shift the understanding and attitudes of the police, an important power holder, and other important stakeholders appears to have played a significant role. Rather than acting as a barrier, communities’ perception of the policy environment became an asset to the project.  

 


Chad’s national legislation protects women’s right to receive family planning, without consent from a father or husband and without regard to her marital status. However, at the beginning of the SAFPAC initiative, local law enforcement and municipal authorities were unaware of that legislation – and believed it was illegal to provide family planning to young or unmarried women and to women without their partners’ knowledge or permission.

As a result, men in the community initially resisted the introduction of family planning services, and registered official complaints with the police against CARE and the health centers that offered family planning!

To address this barrier, our staff met with the police in the districts where we were working to share the relevant legislation protecting women’s right to family planning services. Not only were the police very receptive to the law, but also they wished to learn more about the benefits of improving access to family planning.

In response, CARE developed two workshops for police about Chad’s family planning legislation and presented basic facts about family planning and birth spacing, including the health benefits for mothers and children. 

Police have since facilitated workshops promoting family planning for men’s groups; and both health care providers and women have reported referring husbands to the police to verify and explain the legality of contraceptive use.

And, today, CARE always includes information on the legislation when speaking with men’s groups, health care providers, religious leaders and women, themselves.

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Tagged: 
Chad
Family Planning