CCIH at the International Family Planning Conference: Faith-based Presence Strong Print {sharethis label=}
Ray Martin, Executive Director of CCIH and Douglas Huber, Co-Chair of the CCIH FP/RH Working Group, attended the November 2011 International Conference on Family Planning in Dakar, Senegal. This conference was the second family planning conference organized by the Gates Institute with the first held in Kampala, Uganda in 2009. More than 2000 people descended upon Dakar from November 29-December 2, almost 800 more participants than Uganda.
 
The 2011 conference brought together participants to share research, best practices, and progress on national strategies to deliver family planning services, with the ultimate goal being universal access to family planning. The conference was co-sponsored by over 30 international organizations including USAID, UNFPA, WHO, World Bank and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

In comparison to the 2009 Uganda FP Conference, there were more sessions with a faith-based perspective. A panel presentation on the new Faith to Action interfaith initiative, championed by theGerman World Population Fund, CCIH and Muhammadiyah (a progressive Muslim organization in Indonesia supporting health education and development efforts for people of all faiths) attracted a lot of attention and audience participation. View the declaration and brief explanation here
 
CCIH and other faith-based partners are developing next steps to engage a wider community of FBOs and secular supporters to further this interfaith initiative in support of women and children’s health and well-being.
 
A poster presentation by Mona Bormet, CCIH Project Manager for Policy/Advocacy and Douglas Huber, Faith Based Organizations Advancing Family Planning Worldwide: Advocacy Lessons from Christian Connections for International Health, received substantial interest and positive comments. Many were interested in the advocacy/public education materials that CCIH uses to reinforce the need for global support of family planning to further health and well-being.
 
There was considerable input from the Islamic perspective throughout the conference, both because Senegal and other West African countries have large Muslim populations and because of contributions by Professor Gamal Serour of the Population Institute at Al Azhar University in Cairo. Gamal was very articulate about Islamic perspectives and the positive rationale for family planning. Given that Al Azhar is a highly respected source for Sunni (and moderate) Muslims and that he is currently president of FIGO (the Intl Federation of Gynecologists and Obstetricians, with professional societies in 85+ countries), his comments carried a lot of weight with everyone.
 
Ray Martin gave an excellent rationale for why the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC) needs to be more serious about including and engaging the faith communities in order to meet the objectives of 100 million new family planning users by 2015. The points were well received, and CCIH was warmly welcomed as the newest (and only FBO) member of the RHSC. Advocacy by FBOs for contraceptive security through the RHSC and with the interfaith initiative may develop.

CCIH’s messages were well received by other faith communities and by secular partners and donors. There is a growing international awareness of the importance of faith-based organizations in health; the attention to the role they can have in strengthening family planning as a vital part of comprehensive health services is expanding.
 
Poster presented at the conference | view
Poster Abstract Summary | view
More information about the conference | view
Program booklet from the conference | view
 
Last Updated ( Thursday, 05 January 2012 18:54 )