The Different Faces of Family Planning

Empowering Her, Health for All

A family standing on a dirt road in uganda.

In partnership with The Challenge Initiative (TCI), we are proud to share stories that illustrate the positive impact that family planning has on women and low-income communities around the world. Published monthly, these stories aim to capture the perspectives of women and their communities that benefit from TCI’s efforts and the dedicated individuals working to empower women with access to family planning. 

Fatherly Advice: How TCI and its Partners are Empowering Men to Become Family Planning Champions

Patrick Baraza is the District Health Officer in Busia Municipality (Uganda). His job focuses on the community’s physical and emotional well-being, but he faces big challenges in his own life. 


"I am a father to 28 children – seven of my own and 21 others of my late two brothers," said Patrick. "This number is almost a full clan, and these children are a burden to me. If I had come across {family planning} earlier before having children, I would be very happy." 


Historically, men have been less engaged with family planning and reproductive health topics. However, given the negative impact that having children too early or having too many children can have, there is a great need for men to join the conversation. Beyond supporting their female partners in adopting and maintaining contraceptive use, men can advance family planning into a two-way dialogue that guides couples to make responsible decisions. 


Through its advocacy and community engagement efforts, TCI recognizes the need to close this gap. The initiative is amplifying its partnerships with local governments and health organizations to encourage men to use and advocate for family planning services. By dispelling myths, normalizing the topic, and showcasing the range of choices and resources available, TCI and its cohorts are empowering a new audience to shape a brighter future for young men and women around the world.  

I am a father to 28 children – seven of my own and 21 others of my late two brothers. This number is almost a full clan, and these children are a burden to me. If I had come across {family planning} earlier before having children, I would be very happy.
Patrick Baraza
District Health Officer in Busia Municipality (Uganda)

Family Planning: Part Of A Man's World?

Social stereotypes have shaped the modern landscape. Not surprisingly, most family planning programs are female-oriented. In many cultures, women are considered child bearers and raisers, and have assumed the onus of family planning. Likewise, men are often reluctant to discuss family planning, pursue resources or even visit local health facilities, as many feel this could threaten their masculine image. 


TCI and its partners understand that empowering men and disrupting these long-held norms will require changes. For example, men in the Uttar Pradesh state of India feared that sterility procedures would limit their ability to do physical and manual work. The TCI partnership launched a targeted campaign to demystify this belief with language and programs aimed at laborers, including the delivery of resources, materials and health counseling directly to their workplaces.

Male engagement also requires a different approach and tactics from those that work with women. More specifically, TCI uncovered that men are more likely to talk freely about family planning in a group setting as opposed to when they are approached alone. A campaign in Bauchi State, Nigeria brought information sessions and group dialogue to more "natural and comfortable" male congregation points, such as sporting facilities and evening meet-up spots. Just one month after the campaign's launch, the State reported a 67 percent uptake in male condom usage.

Rearing Responsibility and Readiness

An african family with a child on their shoulders in front of a wall.

In many global cultures, raising children is a societal – and potentially even religious – expectation. For TCI and its partners, the message is not about preventing young men from becoming fathers, but rather to be more strategic about when to have children. As Nigerian TCI Youth Ambassador Isaac Ayenajeh explains, "(it is about) prevent(ing) young men from having babies before they can support and care for them."


This discussion also repositions contraception as an equally important reproductive health component for both men and women. TCI encourages men to discuss short- and long-term methods with their partners, ranging from expanding awareness, access to and social acceptance for condoms, through to the use of birth control and IUDs. By shifting responsibility, TCI encourages young men to make more informed reproductive health and family planning decisions for themselves. 


Along with generating understanding and use of contraception, TCI and its partners in India are supporting initiatives to encourage men to voluntarily pursue non-scalpel vasectomy (NSV) as a means of birth control. The intervention saw great success, and the government now dedicates one day each month for NSV services at district-level facilities.

Imparting Knowledge to Others

A group of people sitting around a table wearing face masks.

Integrating men into a discussion they've strategically and voluntarily been omitted from will require time and effort. However, the need for men to take an increasingly active role in family planning is more evident than ever. Male reproductive health fuels community health and opens doors to better educational and professional opportunities without the burdens of unplanned fatherhood.


"I share my story (of fathering more than 30 children) as a learning experience for the youth in my district, and I hope that they can learn from it and make better decisions by adopting family planning to offer their children a quality life," said Thomas Mugambe Ssalongo, a member of the TCI volunteer health team and a community mobilizer in Buikwe, Uganda. "I now have new knowledge which I want to impart to others so that they do not go through the same experience as me."