Culturally Sensitive Approaches

Lessons from the Field

Yemen

Opening Minds to Reproductive Health

Ongoing engagement with the influential Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Guidance is contributing to broader perspectives on reproductive health and the status of women in this complex Islamic society.

WHAT WORKS? Lessons from Yemen

  • Dialogue with influential religious leaders should be carried out on an ongoing basis, rather than as a one-time pre-programming activity. This helps to build commitment and ensure common understanding of issues including reproductive health, family planning, adolescent reproductive health and HIV/AIDS.

  • Supporting individuals in civil society and academia who are knowledgeable about Islamic positions relating to population, poverty and reproductive health can be an effective way to reach policy makers.

  • Identifying those power structures that perpetuate the status quo and those that support change can be used to strategic advantage. Support for change can be built up through sociocultural research, including gender analysis.

  • Behaviour change can be slow in some societies. Incremental changes are possible, however, and may be more enduring in the long run.

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