Hesperian Health Guides

Hesperian Health Guides

Working for Change

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HealthWiki > Where Women Have No Doctor > Chapter 13: Family Planning > Working for Change


Sometimes a woman would like to space her children or limit the number she has, but cannot use family planning. This can happen because:

  • she cannot get the information about different methods.
  • some family planning methods are not easily available or cost too much for the family to afford.
  • there are no women’s health or family planning services nearby, or the local health worker is not trained to provide family planning services.
  • religious beliefs forbid the use of family planning.
  • a woman’s husband does not agree to use family planning.
Here are some things that groups of people can do to make family planning services more available to all women in the community, and to encourage the use of family planning:
a man showing some other men a condom from a package
  • Provide education. Make information about family planning available to everyone—boys and girls as well as women and men. Education programs can show the benefits of family planning and help couples choose the best methods for them. Perhaps you can lead discussions with women or couples about their concerns and experiences related to family planning. Include information about preventing STIs and HIV when you talk about family planning.
  • Make family planning methods accessible at a low cost. Have a local health worker trained to provide family planning services start a women’s health center or include family planning services at your local clinic.
  • Train male outreach workers to educate men about the importance and benefits of family planning. Help men understand their role in reproduction so they can see that they should share the responsibility for family planning. Try to change attitudes about what is ‘manly’ so that men will support and participate in family planning with their partners.
  • Address local religious concerns about family planning. If a family planning method can be explained in a way that respects religious beliefs, it will help create more acceptance of it.


As you talk about family planning in your community, it helps to remember and remind others that family planning is important to improve not just women’s health and well being, but the health and quality of life of everyone in your community.


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