Grameen Foundation has launched a campaign to provide families in Bénin with the information, services and financing they need to make informed decisions about family planning.
Today in Bénin, only 14 percent of women ages 15-49 use any form of contraception, and unplanned pregnancies are common. They can be high-risk for mother and baby and often increase financial hardship, especially for families living in extreme poverty, as does half of Bénin’s population. Therefore, the Bénin government makes family planning a significant part of its national health plan and all public health facilities are required to provide family planning services.
Grameen Foundation’s program supports the country’s national goal of increasing the use of contraceptives to 20 percent by the end of 2018. It will help women and their partners plan their desired family size, which can lower the country’s high maternal and infant mortality rates and help families live healthier, more productive and prosperous lives.
Through the program, Grameen Foundation is working with two non-governmental partners to roll out educational material to members of savings groups and their husbands. The savings groups were initially created by Freedom from Hunger (now a supporting organization of Grameen Foundation) as part of a health savings program. That program engaged 670 savings groups and helped almost 20,000 women save a total of $39,000 to cover health-related costs.
In this new program, 12,000 women will receive information about the importance of planning their family and future. Guided conversations help participants consider their life goals and the size and timing of their families. Husbands are invited to participate in the final session, where couples may begin making decisions about planning their families. They are also connected to locally available contraceptive services and health financing tools to support their decisions, if needed.
Grameen Foundation and the local team also facilitate gender dialogues and community meetings to help build understanding of family planning among husbands and village chiefs. In addition, we work with health providers to reinforce the information provided to families and to ensure family planning supplies are available in local health centers.
The family planning program has been supported by the AmerisourceBergen Foundation, the Keith V. Kiernan Foundation, The Lalor Foundation, the Toole Charitable Foundation, and Tom De Brisay.