Position: Project Officer-Maternal and Child Health
Organization: Health Child
Mariam Nakabuubi is a Project Officer-Maternal and Child Health at Health Child, an organization focused on improving maternal, newborn, and child health in Uganda. There, she has implemented a family planning board game campaign to encourage men to using family planning methods together with their spouses. As a result of the campaign, several thousand men have been reached with information about modern family planning methods.
“Mariam has been and is at the forefront of implementing programs geared towards increasing male involvement in sustained uptake of family planning and other Sexual and Reproductive Health Services through the Village Saving and Loaning Associations”
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.
Since my passion lies in increasing uptake of family planning methods by young men together with their spouses, I have been at the forefront of implementing Health Child family planning board games campaign to influence men towards using family planning methods together with their spouses. The board games have been circulated circulated in Village Saving and Loaning Associations (VSLAs) and in the trading centers where men usually converge. As a result 4,000 men have been reached, 99% men clearly define family planning, 87% knowledgeable on at least 3 modern family planning methods, 73% spouses of men in VSLAs using a modern family planning, 88% men in the VSLAs participate in decision on family planning, uptake of family planning methods by men increased from 0% to 45% since 2014.
What sparked your passion for family planning?
I conducted research on the situation analysis of teenage pregnancies in Uganda and documented live stories of pregnant girls ages (10-19) and one of the reasons that merged for such pregnancies was that the pregnant girls did not use or have access to a family planning method with their spouses despite having unprotected sex. After realizing that they were pregnant, majority of those girls were abandoned by their families and spouses hence their education and career goals being ruined.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your family planning efforts, and what have you done to overcome it?
Resistance from men in the communities against their spouses using family planning methods. I have overcome this by designing interventions which tap into the interest activities of men using fun interactive family planning board games campaign by customizing those commonly played games by men like; snakes and ladders, luddo, solitaire with messages on condom usage, long and short term family planning methods and prevention of teenage pregnancies which have positively changed men’ s attitude.
What is your (country/region/city)’s biggest challenge in family planning, and how can it be addressed?
There biggest challenge that in family planning is culture where teenagers are expected to abstain from sex and that view that family planning is an issue for women alone and men are not involved in family planning decisions. Communities should be sensitized on the importance of contraceptive usage among teenagers and joint decision making between partners regarding family planning in order to break the negative cultural perceptions.
What do you want to accomplish in the next 5 years?
I want to start a “Youth Center initiative” which would advocate for adolescent/youth Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights including family planning, prevention of teenage pregnancies among others reaching out to thousands of adolescents and youths across Uganda. I want it to be one of the most empowering “Youth center initiative” ever known in terms of information, knowledge and skills producing very vibrant youths who will freely advocate for use of family planning methods as their “RIGHT”