Increasing Support For Reproductive Health Activities Among Religious Leaders In Niger. Volume 1. Inspiration. Accroître le Soutien aux Activités de Santé Reproductive parmi les Leaders Religieux au Niger. Volume 1. Inspiration.
This first volume, of a series of three reports, focuses on the inspiration phase highlights the results of the HCD research conducted by YLabs and PSI to uncover youths' and religious leaders' perspectives on and knowledge of reproductive health products and services, particularly birth spacing practices, in three districts and nine villages. The research also sought to better understand the health, social, and economic contexts that influence their attitudes and decision making. Through interviews, observation, participatory research activities, and co-design workshops, PSI explored how social norms, peers, family, aspirations, religion, and financial constraints affect their decisions. The team also conducted a range of expert interviews in Niamey and Zinder with religious associations, governmental actors, USAID (which funded the programme), and other non-governmental organisations. The findings showed, for example, that there were several religious leaders within each village who were supportive of birth spacing, but perceived a significant amount of risk assuming a publicly supportive stance on their own. Insights from the design research also revealed that men routinely exercise dominion over every household decision, including household expenses, the number and timing of children, and what, if any, contraceptive method wives will use. Despite this immense control over household decision-making, it found that men had insufficient knowledge of the financial implications of raising children. In addition, both religious leaders and youth shared a desire to improve their knowledge (and relatedly, an ability to dispel myths) about reproductive health in a public forum so that the larger community could additionally benefit from this candid discourse.