Home About Us Our Approaches Best Practices Integrated Programs Community Based Programs Capacity Building Current Programs Gender Integrating HIV/AIDS and RH/FP Postabortion Care Scaling-Up Best Practices in ANE Working with Displaced Persons Youth Postpartum Care Corporate Social Responsibility Healthy Timing and Spacing of Pregnancy Religious Leaders Where We Work Resources

Best Practices: Mobilizing Religious Leaders

The Prophet, (PBUH) has said
that, “Wisdom is the lost sheep of the believer; he should grab it wherever he sees it.”

In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the important role that religious leaders (RLs) and communities of faith play in shaping health-seeking behavior. Religious leaders are often arbiters of morality and ethics, defining what is prescribed or proscribed by a faith. This is particularly relevant with respect to maternal and child health, reproductive health, and family planning as they are at the juncture where science, religion, culture, and morality intersect.

Addressing RH/FP through the teachings of Islam

The ESD approach teaching religious leaders that reproductive health is concerned with more than simply family planning and child spacing. It is about maintaining optimal health in all issues related to women’s and men’s reproductive systems. Islamic communities, just like all communities in the world, are faced with many RH/FP related challenges, such as the illness and death of women during childbirth, health problems associated with pregnancies that are too early in life or too close together, violence against women, and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS. The ESD approach to mobilizing Religious Leaders addresses RH/FP issues within the values, beliefs, and directives of Islam.

Consequently, maternal and child health, reproductive health, and family planning information and practices that are supported by religious leaders and religious institutions are more likely to be accepted by the community. It is therefore imperative that religious leaders have accurate and appropriate information and skills to help their followers make informed choices on matters related to their health and well-being. The RLs’ activity in the Extending Service Delivery (ESD) project is based on the recognition of the critical role that religious leaders play in the community in promoting positive MCH/RH/FP behavior.



Related Pages

ESD's publications about religious leaders

Best Practices Homepage

ESD Process for Best Practices

Scaling Up Best Practices in ANE Region

Healthy Images of Manhood (HIM)



Related Documents


Legacy Document: ESD Model: Mobilizing Muslim Imams and Religious Leaders as “Champions” of Reproductive Health and Family Planning

Legacy Document: Muslim Religious Leaders as Partners in Fostering Positive Reproductive Health and Family Planning Behaviors in Yemen

Religious Leaders for RH/FP at the Community Level: A Training Manual

  • Training Manual
  • Annex

    Lessons Learned from Religious Leaders' Training in Dadaab Refugee Camp, Kenya 



    The information provided on this Web site is not official U.S. Government
    information and does not represent the views or positions of the
    U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government.

    Agreement Award