Checkpoints for Choice: A New Orientation and Resource Package for Ensuring Voluntary Family Planning Programs

How can stakeholders ensure that family planning programs are designed, implemented, and monitored in a way that respects, protects, and fulfills human rights and puts clients’ needs and preferences at the forefront?

C4C Cover ArtWith a renewed global commitment to family planning (FP) among donors and governments worldwide, momentum is growing to support practical ways to infuse a human rights approach into voluntary FP programs. In support of these efforts, EngenderHealth recently published Checkpoints for Choice: An Orientation and Resource Package, a new publication (also available in French) that offers practical guidance on how program planners and managers, policymakers, donors, service providers, community leaders, to strengthen clients’ ability to make full, free, and informed contraceptive choices within a rights-based context.

The package provides a detailed plan for a one-day workshop (including all supporting materials) to help FP stakeholders:

  • Understand key concepts related to contraceptive choice
  • Consider characteristics of FP methods that matter to women
  • Examine the full spectrum of challenges that affect whether client’s FP needs are met
  • Highlight program aspects that should be continued, strengthened, or expanded
  • Identify factors and warning signs managers can track to assess whether full, free, and informed choice may be compromised
  • Explore steps to foster individual and program accountability for ensuring contraceptive choice within an FP program

This tool builds upon, complements, and advances the groundbreaking work undertaken by EngenderHealth and the Futures Group on the Voluntary Rights-Based Family Planning Conceptual Framework and its accompanying User’s Guide—a planning tool organized around the holistic framework. Checkpoints for Choice serves as an introduction to the rights and choice-related concepts that undergird the framework which are critical to understanding the framework itself and applying the User’s Guide.

“Our intention with Checkpoints was to make human rights concepts—often viewed as abstract and difficult to operationalize—more readily accessible and applicable to actual program implementers,” explained Holly Connor, Asia Program Portfolio Specialist with EngenderHealth and one of the publication’s authors. “Especially those working at the country level to plan and manage projects and provide family planning services.”

“Since the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning, considerable progress has been made, especially under the FP2020 initiative, to advance a human rights-based, client-centered approach to family planning programs worldwide,” affirmed Dr. Yetnayet Demissie Asfaw, Vice President of Strategy and Impact for EngenderHealth during a rights-based FP workshop organized in partnership with the Population Council. “While more certainly remains to be done, Checkpoints for Choice fills a critical gap in making rights a reality for women and couples in countries with some of the highest unmet need for family planning.”

To read more EngenderHealth publications on rights-based FP, informed and voluntary decision-making, and quality of care, click here.

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