Program Highlight: “Using all means to reduce maternal mortality”

Program Highlight: “Using all means to reduce maternal mortality”

Publication info


Tékponon Jikuagou (TJ), which loosely translates to “using all means to reduce maternal mortality,” is an innovative project designed to address unmet need for family planning in Benin by intervening through women’s and men’s social networks.  

Funded by USAID, TJ is implemented by a consortium led by Georgetown University’s Institute for Reproductive Health, in collaboration with CARE and Plan International.

TJ uses social network approaches, in tandem with communication for social change approaches, to influence social norms and family planning attitudes and practices. 

The project identifies the most influential and connected networks in a community and then assesses the influence of men’s and women’s networks on fertility beliefs, attitudes, desires, intentions and behaviors relating to family planning. 

Interventions then work with key actors in individuals’ social networks, as well as the network structures themselves to promote reflection on existing social norms, allowing people to recognize for themselves how norms and attitudes may negatively influence reproductive health and family planning. 

Thus, TJ moves a program’s focus from targeting individuals with behavior change activities to thinking of individuals as members of formal and informal networks that influence behaviors.

The social network approach hypothesizes that once family planning has been adopted by a group within a community, social interaction can accelerate the pace of diffusion by providing opportunities for social comparison, support and influence. The communications for social change approach hypothesizes that adding public discussions of fertility and family planning will lead to individual and normative social changes.