NURHI Phase 1 (2009 – 2015)
Phase 1 of NURHI was implemented in six cities (Federal Capital Territory, Ibadan, Ilorin, Kaduna, Benin and Zaria). According to the 2013 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey, it contributed to significant increases in contraceptive prevalence in these cities.
Religious belief is an important determinant of family planning uptake and continued use in Nigeria. Thus, recognising the crucial role of religious leaders as advocates for a program that benefits women and children was key to NURHI’s success. NURHI 1 established active and vibrant interfaith forums in its intervention cities. These groups of Christian and Islamic clerics, who have become family planning champions, serve as voices for family planning in their communities, and engage with fellow religious leaders to support and speak in favour of it.
During NURHI 2, faith-based clerics continued their engagements and capacity-building efforts as family planning champions and transformational leaders who increasingly advocate for family planning among other religious leaders. NURHI 2 also established interfaith forums in Lagos State.
Notable achievements in engaging with religious leaders included the production, launch and widespread dissemination of English and Hausa translations of the Christian Perspectives on Reproductive Health and Family Planning in Nigeria (with a sermon note included), and English, Yoruba, Hausa and Arabic translations of the Islamic Perspectives of Reproductive Health and Childbirth Spacing in Nigeria (with a sermon note included).
In October 2017, NURHI 2 collaborated with the Federal Ministry of Health, the Interfaith Mediation Center in Kaduna and the Association for the Advancement of Family Planning to convene the first ever interfaith key learnings meeting.
This meeting brought together religious leaders from both Christian and Islamic faiths to share their experiences as champions of family planning and childbirth spacing. A notable outcome of the event was consensus that efforts of religious leaders to promote family planning have the potential to save lives.