CARE Initiative Almost Doubles Family Planning Rate in Ethiopia

CARE Initiative Almost Doubles Family Planning Rate in Ethiopia

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The Family Planning Results Initiative was implemented in Rwanda, Kenya, and Ethiopia with the goal of increasing and sustaining the use of family planning. The program aimed to achieve this goal by both improving the quality and availability of family planning information and services and addressing the underlying social and cultural barriers to family planning, including restrictive gender roles, inequitable power relations in the household and harmful traditional norms and practices, such as a preference for sons.

The Results Initiative was designed as a learning partnership between CARE USA, CARE Ethiopia, CARE Rwanda and CARE Kenya, to explore and document strategies for increasing acceptance and use of family planning and other sexual, reproductive and maternal health services; as well as develop strategies for empowering communities to address social and cultural barriers to family planning.

To directly address social norms related to gender CARE staff and their partners were equipped with skills and tools to initiate and sustain critical dialogue about gender and social norms.  This approach is intended to spark reflection and problem solving about the norms that adversely affect health and well‐being, and support communities to create their own solutions, including challenging rigid gender roles. It was complemented by health systems strengthening interventions that improved the quality and availability of family planning information, referral and method provision at both the community and clinic levels.

Initial results from a final program evaluation completed in 2013 suggest that the Family Planning Results Initiative contributed to significant increases in family planning knowledge and use in both Kenya and Ethiopia, as well as to enabling important shifts towards more equitable gender norms. Current use of family planning among women was significantly associated with exposure to initiative, and increased from 32 percent to 51 percent in Kenya, and from 32 percent to 61 percent in Ethiopia.

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