Discipline: Social Science
This article discusses the results of a USAID/Philippines-commissioned assessment carried out in 2005 that sought to identify strategies and make recommendations to develop and/or expand existing programs to include men in family planning (FP), both in support of their partners and as users of family planning methods. The assessment found substantial recent and ongoing male involvement activities in research, policy guidelines, information education communication (IEC), behavior change communication (BCC), as well as service delivery. The findings indicate that strategies to involve men in FP, while not implemented on a large scale, are feasible and warrant support. Short and long-term recommendations are made for research, policy, BCC and social mobilization, and service delivery. For research, it is vital to make greater use of existing data to assess barriers and facilitating factors for male support for and use of FP, especially the male module for the 2003 National Demographic and Health Survey. For policy and guidelines, it is crucial to designate and fund an agency with policy experience to systematically support relevant policy guidance initiatives. In IEC/BCC and social mobilization, the social acceptance project strategies (working with men in the workplace, armed services, and Muslim religious leaders) hold tremendous promise and should be expanded. Culturally familiar local and influential public figures for FP messages should be tapped along with enriching IEC handouts and posters with high quality materials that reflect local culture and language. Finally, in service delivery, it is crucial to ensure that social acceptance mobilization protocols with large agencies (such as trade unions that serve men) include planning to develop links to tangible FP services. If feasible, this should be combined with efforts to adapt community based management information systems to identify unmet need among men within the membership of these agencies.