With generous support from GlobalGiving donors and the Conservation, Food and Health Foundation, Marie Stopes International Afghanistan (MSIA) has, after weeks of preparation, begun training religious leaders' wives to serve as sexual and reproductive health champions in their communities.
To prepare for the training, MSIA collaborated with the Sisters’ Directorate of Ministry of Religious Affairs to develop and finalize a curriculum about family planning and reproductive health for the religious leaders’ wives. Religious advisors also instructed the female health educators on how best to train and empower the wives to act as facilitators within their communities.
After comprehensive preparation and orientation, religious leaders and provincial coordinators helped MSIA in identifying ten trainees as community champions in Balkh and Herat provinces. The training commenced on September 13, 2012. The women are currently being trained in their homes on an individualized basis by expert health educators from MSIA’s clinics. It is anticipated that the ten women, who will receive a volunteer stipend, will disseminate essential information on sexual and reproductive health and nutrition to 720 females from the selected communities.
The newly trained sexual and reproductive health champions are already starting to spread awareness by distributing referral cards in their communities to refer clients to clinics. MSIA clinic staff will monitor the client flow in the clinics and collect information on the number of referrals and first time users of family planning methods. MSIA team believes that this project will increase access to sexual and reproductive health services, particularly among youth and newly married couples.
On behalf of MSIA, we thank you for supporting this lifesaving and innovative project. We will continue to update you in the coming months as the training progresses!