Vilma (far left) at a training with champions
Pueblo a Pueblo’s Family Planning Champions (FPC) project, which is beginning its second year of implementation – builds on our Maternal Child Health project by including local women in the dissemination of best practices in family planning and reproductive health. We anticipate another exciting year of progress as we add 10 beneficiaries to our existing group in 2014. Also, now that staff is able to draw from lessons learned over the pilot year, we expect record growth in both community outreach and project efficacy.
Behind the scenes few people have put as much effort into the project as Wilma Mendoza Sosof, Pueblo a Pueblo’s standout social worker. Starting with a series of home interviews with potential participants, she recruits the most willing and able women around Santiago to be the project’s new champions for family planning. Her leadership in a four-day intensive course on the benefits of family planning and female reproductive health – provide knowledge that these women will later transmit to their peers by way of informal monthly meetings in their communities.
These monthly meetings serve to open dialogue on issues like spousal communication, reproductive health, family planning, sexually transmitted diseases and strategies on how to avoid them. In addition, each champion is tasked with identifying five new women for the FPC project each year; in this way, the scope of the project grows organically.
According to Wilma, “although we have faced some challenges, for example initial lack of female participation, machismo culture, and a widespread belief that bigger families are better, we are now seeing real success. Both women and men are participating, and through their engagement they are building a strong understanding of these issues.”
“And in 2014,” she finishes, “it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. When we started last year nobody wanted to participate, and now our levels of interest and participation are increasing rapidly. It’s exciting to think where we might be at this point next year.”
One of our champions
Vilma leads a session