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Rwanda: Faith Organizations Make U-turn on Family Planning

by Oswald Niyonzima
9:43 am

Sheikh Musa Sindayigaya of Rwanda Muslim Community delivering remarks at the closure of International Conference on Family Planning in the capital Kigali.

Faith-based organizations at the International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP2018) concluded on Thursday in Kigali have committed to promote modern contraceptive methods to save lives.

“We, the faith community, recognized that life is a gift from God and sacred, it ought not be taken away by preventable causes resulting from lack of information, support and care,” Rev. Dr Lydia Mwaniki, Director of Family Life and Gender Justice, All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), said delivering remarks on behalf of faith based organizations.

“We are mindful of those who have lost their lives while giving life and the challenges along the path of providing family planning to our communities,” she said expressing her gratitude to health services that reach people in need.

Dr Mwaniki commended faith based organiz ations that support the access to sexual and reproductive health education and modern family planning methods.

“We strongly cherish religious leaders who openly support sexual and reproductive health services,” she said.

Dr Mwaniki confessed that there is a need for increasing collaboration between faith communities based organizations and governments in providing quality and available sexual and reproductive health and family planning services.

“We acknowledge that increasing uptake family planning has reduced maternal mortality and child mortality,” she said.

She noted that the faith communities have learnt three main lessons from ICFP2018 including; the power and success of faith based organizations and religious leaders in contributing to the achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in collaboration with other stakeholders.

The second lesson she mentioned was about the various opportunities that exist in achieving greater access to and uptake of family planning in shaping the family planning agenda until and after 2020.

She also acknowledged that faith organizations have acquired skills and knowledge that will help accelerate the faith based communities actions at national, regional and community levels.

For Sheikh Musa Sinandayigaya from Rwanda Muslim Community, who was also part of the group of religious leaders who have read faith based organizations commitments, there are enormous opportunities for progress in family planning.

“We have been encouraged again that we can gather as religious organizations and agree on a common agenda while maintaining the integrity of our faith in serving others,” he said.

Dr Ndimubanzi State Minister in the Ministry of Health said that ICFP2018 was a greater opportunity that brought together around 4000 people including researchers, academicians, UN agencies and organizations from all around the globe to share best practices and take measures on family planning and reproductive health issues.

“It was unique in a way that we were with around 600 youth from all the corners of the world who openly contributed to the success of the conference, especially telling us their experiences, point of views and how they think those issues can be addressed,” he said.