IPPF and overcoming cultural and religious opposition:
With regards to the Pacific region IPPF acknowledge; “Although non-government family planning organisations in the Pacific have shown a marked increase in clients if a wider range of methods were available, lack of staff training, lack of support, religious teachings against particular methods all pose a barrier to diversifying available methods.”(IPPF:2010)
Reviews of the Pacific Region also point out that the diversity of the Pacific region, means establishment of family planning programs is complex and not achieved quickly (Menyon & Power). Reduction in fertility rates is achieved through changes in cultural perspectives as well as providing the means for contraception (Menyon & Power).
To hasten progress pragmatic tactics are called for such as “analyze opposition messages and tactics and formulate messages and strategies that anticipate, respond and counteract them.” With this strategy in force IPPF then recommend employing social marketing of family planning (Strategic Plan:2010 Framework: 2005).
IPPF also aim to identify and engage at national, provincial and local level with the gatekeepers who can support or undermine Family Planning activities and use them to promote IPPF’s agenda (Menyon&Power). IPPF acknowledge that Public servants direct policy and funds, individual teachers and headmasters can censor sex education in schools or give their own version(IPPF:2010).
This approach has led IPPF to work through the local organisation Solomon Island Planned Parenthood Association, the YWCA and Christian groups (IPPF:2010). IPPF also work with the Population Education and Youth Family Life Campaign which provides information to young women and girls by trusted local women (IPPF:2010). SIPPA’s outreach programmes provide family planning through its clinics, community-based distribution activities and attempt to develop a positive awareness of “population issues” and family planning inormation by targeting specific radio programmes broadcast throughout the country and training primary school teachers in family planning to integrate it into the national curriculum (IPPF:2010).
Targeting children is another primary aim which is achieved through introducing family planning philosophy to the national curriculum. This is a favoured approach of the IPPF as it is a chance to offer family planning ideology to children when they are separated from their family and cultural networks where they are likely to be influenced more effectively (Sedlak:1997). It also serves to present IPPF doctrine through teachers who are often trusted role models (Sedlak:1997).
By far the most effective proactive outreach programme is connected to the ICPD Plan of Action for 55% use of contraceptives in developing nations. IPPF use SIPPA in a contact outreach method where health workers go door to door promoting and explaining contraceptive and family planning ideology. This outreach has increased Contraceptive use by 300% (Chevalier in Menyon & Power:2010)). In conjunction with house calls IPPF have incorporated community based distribution of contraceptive supplies into their outreach programs through mobile clinics and peer educator programmes (Menyon & Power: 2010).
Contraceptives and the direct link to Abortion
It is important to be clear what is entailed when contraceptives are accepted in a country. The next stage of IPPF strategy will be pushed which is to bring the Solomon’s to MDG requirements of access to “safe” abortion.
IPPF openly state that contraception does not occur without abortion being offered. Malcolm Potts; past IPPF Medical Director, talks of coming to the realisation that it is impossible to initiate a family planning program whose purpose is to limit population without widespread abortion. (Vision:2000) “Abortion and contraception are inextricably intertwined in their use. As the idea of family limitation spreads through a community there appears to be a rise in the incidence of induced abortion at the point where the community begins to initiate the use of contraceptives. .. Abortion is the horse that pulls contraceptive practice into the community. When abortion is omitted, then family planning programmes often lose direction.” (Potts:2000)
This ideology goes through all leavels of family planning associations with Crane and Horn; researchers for the United Nations Millennium Project and ICPD, recommending that; “to stabilise population, promoting use of effective means of contraception – as a substitute for abortion – is generally regarded as a desired policy goal. At the same time, while supporting contraception, governments should also ensure access to legal, voluntary and safe abortion” (Horn & Craw:2006).
It is vital to be prepared and initiate a strategy to counter IPPF aims for the Solomon Islands. IPPF’s early stages of family planning are only one step in a long term strategy to bring abortion to the country and the Pacific Region. Solomon Islanders are at a cultural crossroad where those who wish to preserve their religion and kastom and avoid the degradation to culture which comes with abortion need to formulate a strategy and actively and openly oppose IPPF. IPPF will not stop at offering contraceptives, contraceptives and abortion are intertwined.
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