Project Lead(s): Shamsa Rizwan
Poor contraceptive demand and use has disproportionately impacted slums in Pakistan. Residents of slums often carry misconceptions of contraceptives, and lack: health education, family planning resources, and the finances necessary to afford contraceptives as a whole.
The patriarchal structure of Pakistani society provides another barrier as women do not participate in the decision-making process, despite the fact that they are the primary stakeholders for this issue. Additionally, the sensitivity of this topic often leads to community hostility when current practices are questioned.
The project aimed to overcome the barriers to contraceptive use in two urban slums by developing the ‘Happy Parent Network Group’ followed by the ‘Interactive Voice Response’ (IVR) service.
First, the Happy Parent Network Group was implemented: A group of 29 local men and women who resided in the target slums were trained to provide informal counselling to 10 community members who did not use contraceptives.
By collaborating with locals, the project developed a better awareness of the trends and preferences of the target communities.
Secondly, the project developed an automated voice response service that allowed users to call a toll-free phone number and get information on contraceptive methods and birth spacing.
The project greatly reduced the unmet need for contraceptives in 2 urban slums in Pakistan.
The Happy Parent Network reached a total of 300 couples by the end of the project.
After 8 months, 247 of these couples had started using a contraceptive method. 242 couples started using modern contraceptives while the other 5 utilized traditional contraception methods.
The project appeared to achieve its goal of empowering women. Initially only one woman in the target group reported having the right and power to determine her family’s birth planning and spacing. After the intervention, 33 women reported having these rights and powers. Community misconceptions of contraceptive use were reduced.
Child Advocacy International has partnered the communities with a public health organization called Greestar to subsidize contraception costs after the project has ended.