Voluntary Rights-based Family Planning Conceptual Framework by EngenderHealth

With a renewed global commitment to family planning as a result of FP2020, momentum has been growing to support practical ways to infuse a human rights approach into voluntary family planning programs. It is critical that women and men access family planning services that are designed, implemented, and monitored in a way that protects and fulfills their human rights and puts their needs, desires, and preferences at the center. To that end, EngenderHealth is pleased to announce two new publications designed to assist diverse audiences, including donors, policymakers, program planners and managers, service providers, rights advocates, and community members, in their efforts to achieve rights-based family planning programs.

The first publication is the Voluntary Rights-based Family Planning Conceptual Framework User’s Guide, a practical resource to help stakeholders design, implement, and monitor family planning programs that respect, protect, and fulfill human rights. Coauthored with the Futures Group, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the guide is a companion to the recent publication of Voluntary Family Planning Programs that Respect, Protect, and Fulfill Human Rights: A Conceptual Framework, which took long-standing family planning concepts, such as quality of care, voluntarism, and service access and linked them with human rights principles, such as empowerment, equity, nondiscrimination, and accountability. The Framework provides a holistic vision of what a rights-based family planning program looks like; the User’s Guide provides a pathway to applying the framework in actual practice. Following field tests of the User’s Guide in Togo and Uganda, EngenderHealth has incorporated revisions to the earlier beta version of the document to streamline and refine the guidance to make it more impactful. The guide will:

  • Help facilitators orient stakeholders on the voluntary, rights-based family planning conceptual framework
  • Support assessments and action planning related to strengthening human rights in family planning programs
  • Guide stakeholders to monitor, evaluate, and hold programs accountable

EngenderHealth is also pleased to share the final version of Checkpoints for Choice: An Orientation and Resource Package, which takes a closer look at the concept of voluntarism—one component of a rights-based approach—and helps stakeholders understand the clients’ experience and their ability to make full, free, and informed choices about family planning. The tool includes adapted exercises that were developed for a RESPOND Project–supported expert consultation on contraceptive choice held in Bellagio, Italy, in September 2012. It consists of a detailed plan with all support materials for a one-day workshop to enable family planning program planners and managers to strengthen the focus of family planning programs on clients’ ability to make full, free, and informed contraceptive choices in the context of a rights-based program. In addition to the workshop guidance and materials, the package includes links to recommended references, tools, and additional reading.

There is more work to be done to achieve rights-based family planning programs and to improve quality of care. Read EngenderHealth’s response to the recent deaths in Chhattisgarh, India, and join the conversation about contraceptive choice and rights.