In an environment characterized by ethnic and religious diversity,
it is important to assume the role of facilitator. This sends a clear
message of neutrality.
Culturally sensitive issues are best addressed in the context of
health: a technical or scientific perspective can make discussion
of and acceptance of such issues easier.
At the beginning of a project, invest as much time as necessary
to clarify issues and address any doubts that may arise. If doubts
and questions remain, they will surface later and negatively affect
Sensitization campaigns that emphasize the positive economic and
social benefits of small families can be persuasive. Comparing the
situations of families with similar backgrounds, social class and
income, differing only in the number of children they have, brings
home the value of family planning in a way people can relate to and
Field-based evidence can be effectively used to convince religious
leaders, policy makers and the public about the importance of reproductive
health for individuals and communities as well as for the nation
as a whole.
When attempting to reach grass-roots communities, engage a partner
that has a thorough understanding of local sensitivities and can
address them appropriately.
Letting your partners manage projects themselves instils a sense
of ownership. Nevertheless, it is important to provide continuous
support through technical backstopping, capacity-building and information.
Creating opportunities for women can help them to demonstrate their
capabilities. In this way, false, culture-based beliefs are diminished.