The advocacy thematic area of the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI) complements service delivery and demand generation efforts to ensure an environment where policy makers, religious and traditional leaders and the media are very supportive of family planning.
The NURHI 2 advocacy strategy is geared towards increasing support for family planning among key stakeholders at the state and local government levels. This strategy focuses on practical, results-oriented advocacy at these levels to facilitate a positive policy environment in Lagos, Kaduna and Oyo States, as well as at the national level of discourse. At the national level, NURHI 2’s integral role is to sustain participation in the national advocacy agenda, liaising with and contributing to goals set by the Association for the Advancement of Family Planning, Federal Ministry of Health and family planning partners and donors. At the state and local government levels, NURHI 2 has a specific set of advocacy objectives to accomplish in partnership with the advocacy core groups, interfaith, media and other partners to advocate for implementation of relevant policies and for the release of budgets that support family planning provision.
The NURHI 2 advocacy approach creates an enabling environment for family planning through improved policy actions and favourable dialogue from the community, religious leaders and media. This approach complements service delivery and demand generation efforts by ensuring increased uptake of high-quality family planning services.
The NURHI 2 advocacy strategy and efforts are geared towards achieving increased support for family planning from key stakeholders at the federal, state and local government levels, as well as in the community. To achieve this, a plan was developed to continue engaging and educating stakeholders (including political, traditional and religious leaders) and encouraging them to use their influence in support of family planning. NURHI 2 focuses on practical, results-oriented advocacy at the national, state and local government levels to facilitate a positive policy environment in Lagos, Kaduna and Oyo States, as well as at the national level of discourse.
Working with the media on family planning advocacy is a key strategy to achieve NURHI’s advocacy goals. In phase 1, the electronic and print media coverage of family planning, as well as the advocacy and public dialogues on family planning in the six NURHI implementation cities, increased community voices in support of it. These efforts also contributed to increased funding of family planning by the state and local governments and reduced sensitivities to and improved acceptance of family planning. In its second phase, NURHI 2 focuses on expanding and sustaining partnerships with media houses and networks, such as the Development Communications Network, to promote media saturation and positive coverage of family planning issues.
One of the key ideational factors for the uptake and continued use of contraceptives is religious belief. Nigeria is a religious country. Thus, recognising the crucial role of religious leaders as potential advocates for a program that benefits women and children is a key success factor of the NURHI project. NURHI 1 established active and vibrant interfaith forums in its intervention cities. These groups of faith-based Christian and Islamic clerics, who have become family planning champions, serve as voices for family planning in their community and engage with fellow religious leaders to support and speak in favour of it.
Update in progress
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