"... and on the either side of the river was there the tree of life, which bore twelve kinds of fruit, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."Revelation 22.2

Religious leaders in three counties intensify family planning advocacy efforts

Published On: 11 May 2018
Religious leaders in three counties intensify family planning advocacy efforts

Religious leaders from CHAK health facilities in Kiambu, Murang’a and Meru counties are stepping up efforts to improve family planning uptake in their congregations. The religious leaders through the Christian Advocacy for Family Family Planning in Africa (CAPFA) project are encouraging their congregations ensure proper spacing of children for healthy families. 

Using various forums available to them including women, youth and men’s groups, health committees, marriage counseling sessions, among others, the religious leaders have been able to spread the word on the benefits of properly planned families.
 
And not only are they engaging their congregations but the religious leaders are also targeting their respective county governments with advocacy for budgetary allocations towards improving uptake of family planning services. Already, budgetary analysis has been done for Kiambu and Murang’a counties. 

With politicians constantly urging the local population to get more babies and even giving financial rewards for mothers with infants, the religious leaders have their work cut out for them. According to Rev. Musa from PCEA Kyengo Dispensary in Maua, such sentiments by politicians are made purely out of selfish motives as they only want more votes to remain in power. 

“Religious leaders have an obligation to sensitise their congregations to take care of their families as politicians will not assist them when they are in need,” said Rev. Musa. 

The religious leaders use biblical references to make their case for family planning. Making a presentation at the CHAK Annual General Meeting and Annual Health Conference held on April 24-26, 2018, Rev. Munyambu from the Presbyterian Church of East Africa urged participants to plan their families and help spread the family planning message. 

Quoting from Genesis 1:27, Rev. Munyambu told the participants that because God created man in His own image, man is a co-worker with God. God is a planner because he chose to create one man and one woman with a plan as to how they would live. God created us with dignity, value and authority to manage and plan our families. 

Also quoting from John 10:10, Rev. Munyambu said: “the thief comes to steal to kill and to destroy. But Jesus said, I came that they may have life and have it more abundantly”. This means that we are supposed to enjoy life – physically, spiritually and emotionally, thus the Church’ focus on schools and hospitals although its key mandate is to spread the gospel. 

These and other biblical references are contained in a training manual the religious leaders developed for use in their advocacy efforts.  
 
The religious leaders work closely with the health facilities sponsored by their churches. The health facilities provide family planning services and collect the requisite data for the county reports. 
Among the key achievements of the religious leaders are:    

  1. Development of a work plan as a road map on how to achieve both long and short term growth in family planning in their congregations and by extension, counties
  2. Development of a training manual for use in their training sessions and also to train other religious leaders. The religious leaders intend to keep on recruiting others so that they can increase their numbers. 
  3. A budget analysis has been done in Kiambu and Muranga counties. The Murang’a County analysis has been submitted to the county government. 
  4. Lobbied for budgetary allocations on family planning in their respective counties. The county governments have no budgetary allocations for family planning. 
  5. Identified key family planning stakeholders in their respective counties to avoid duplication of activities.