Integrating Reproductive Health into NGO Programs: Family Planning


Purpose: A step-by-step handbook to assist health and non-health related non-governmental organizations (NGOs) understand how to integrate family planning education and services into their existing programs.

Description: The handbook identifies essential areas to be addressed when developing strategies for integrating family planning with ongoing program activities, each of which is presented as a step or chapter. The steps are: “Deciding Whether to Integrate Family Planning”, “Selecting a Program Strategy”, “Measuring Program Results”, “Identifying Staff Requirements”, “Developing a Contraceptive Supply System” and, “Managing Finances for an Integrated Program”. Each step covers essential decision-making and program management guidance; contains examples of how the step has been handled by other organizations; includes a case study to highlight and reinforce major points and; contains worksheets to guide users in designing an integrated program. The handbook may be used either for self-guided study and reference or as the basis for a facilitated workshop.

Developed by: Initiatives Inc. for the Family Planning Service Expansion and Technical Support (SEATS) project, in June 1997.

Intended Users: NGO managers and program officers or anyone seeking guidance for integrating family planning into existing program activities. The handbook can be used at the local, regional or central level.

Application: The handbook has been applied at the institutional and programmatic levels. It was field-tested in Harare, Zimbabwe in June 1996, in a workshop setting to obtain feedback on content, relevance and ease of use, and to assess its value as a teaching tool. Participants included program managers and officers representing community development NGOs from East and Southern Africa. Subsequently the handbook has been used by NGOs and cooperating agencies to guide program design in regional and national workshops for countries throughout Asia and Africa.

Advantages: The handbook can be used at local, regional or central level. It is comprehensive and written in clear and simple language; the layout and format are user friendly; “Experiences from the Field” provide examples of successes; “Worksheets” enhance learning transfer by simplifying adaptation and facilitating design; and the “Case Study” stimulates analysis. A Trainer's Guide is also available from Initiatives Inc. For managers experienced with health sector programs, the tool can be self-applied.

Limitations: None

Recommendation for Users: The handbook contains comprehensive guidance for planning and program design, and requires the user to engage in thoughtful review and consideration of the content to maximize its' benefits. Organizations interested in using the handbook for training field officers should obtain the companion Trainer's Guide, which contains detailed teaching plans and a set of overhead projection slides to support training (available on diskette). Use of the handbook should be adapted to the unique situation of each NGO.

Reports and Publications:
Lyons, J., Huddart, J., Bjerregaard, D. Integrating Reproductive Health into NGO Programs. Volume 1: Family Planning Trainer's Guide. The SEATS Project, 1999. This guide serves as a reference manual for preparing a course or workshop on the integration of family planning into NGO programs.


Melissa Chalmers
Initiatives, Inc.
376 Boylston Street, Suite 4C
Boston, MA 02116
Phone: 617-262-0293