Increasing Community Participation in Family Planning Programs

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Community participation has long been recognized as an effective means of helping rural and urban people focus energy and mobilize resources to solve their health, environmental, and economic problems. When people from the community organize, plan, share tasks with professionals, contribute financially to projects or programs, and help make decisions about activities that affect their lives, programs are more likely to achieve their objectives.

Several countries have created ways for communities to participate in their family planning programs. They have found that individuals make better choices about contraception when they participate in the family planning program activities in their villages or urban neighborhoods.

Drawing on experience from Indonesia and Bangladesh, this issue explores ways that communities can participate in promoting and providing family planning services. It presents the conditions needed for effective community participation, and discusses approaches to planning, monitoring, and supporting community teams so that they can actively participate in local family planning program activities.