Using Maps to Improve Service Delivery


The experience of community based family planning programs in Indonesia and Bangladesh, demonstrates that simple geographical maps can serve as useful information tools in helping family planning workers or volunteers to understand their community and its contraceptive needs. Family planning workers can use the information shown on a map to plan information, education, and communication (IE&C) activities, to distribute contraceptives more efficiently, and to improve the quality of the service statistics they keep. Supervisors can use the maps to monitor the fieldworkers' performance, to maintain up to date information about contraceptive trends in the community, and to involve both volunteers and residents in the management of the family planning program.

This issue of The Family Planning Manager describes how fieldworkers, community workers, or volunteers can prepare and use maps to improve management and decision making in community based family planning programs. In Indonesia and Bangladesh, fieldworkers and volunteers have developed a special type of map called an ELCO map, which shows where the ELigible COuples (married couples of reproductive age) live and what method of contraception they use.

ELCO mapping requires obtaining personal information from couples about their reproductive lives, so in some parts of the world, cultural norms of individual and family privacy might limit its use. Nevertheless, in many societies, in which fieldworkers have gained the trust and respect of their neighbors, the information needed to create an ELCO map can be obtained without compromising the confidentiality of the client.