Hairdressers, Parades and Weddings: Mobilizing to Generate Demand for Family Planning in Nigeria

Nigerian women have an average of six children over the course of their lifetime and the national population—already the largest in Africa—is expected to double within 25 years.

Get-it-Together-Social-Mobilization-NigeriaPoor access to and under-utilization of modern family planning methods contributes to high death rates among mothers and children across the country. Nigeria had a thriving family planning program in the 1980’s and early 90’s. However, changes in donor priorities and funding caused a 15-year decline in promotion efforts, and trends in fertility, contraceptive use stagnated. In 2009, with contraceptive prevalence at only 10 percent and a total fertility rate of 5.7, there was a pressing need to reinvigorate family planning efforts at the national, state and city levels.

The Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI), a five-year (2009 ‐2014) project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, aimed to increase the use of modern Family Planning methods among the urban poor in the six cities of Abuja FCT, Ibadan, Kaduna, Ilorin, Benin City and Zaria by at least 20 percentage points.

To generate demand for Family Planning services, NURHI’s ‘Get-It-Together’ campaign had three main approaches:

  • branded multi-channel campaign encompassing radio, TV behavioral change communication materials and social mobilization materials in each of the NURHI cities
  • popular radio program with drama and live call-ins, tailored to each city’s context and predominant language
  • Community level Family Planning promotion activities and referrals for Family Planning services by teams of youth urban social mobilizers

The foundation of the NURHI Demand Generation Strategy was enhanced interpersonal communication about Family Planning during clients/ service provider worker interactions, between spouses, and during association/trade groups meetings, neighborhood campaigns and social events led by teams of NURHI social mobilizers.

Social mobilization activities engage young men and women age 18 to 35 years as potential family planning clients who also mobilize other potential clients to use Family Planning services.

Learn more about this unique program in the latest Health COMpass Spotlight, which describes the NURHI urban mobilization implementation process.

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