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TheCollaborative “Chats”: A World Contraception Day Dialogue On Exploring “Options”

In the realm of reproductive health, the word “Options” carries profound significance. It embodies the essence of choice, empowerment, and the deeply personal decision-making process that individuals navigate when it comes to their reproductive well-being.

On this World Contraception Day, September 26, the Knowledge SUCCESS East Africa team engaged members of TheCollaborative, an East Africa FP/RH Community of Practice, in a WhatsApp dialogue to understand what they had to say about the power of “Options.”

Learn more about what participants shared on the concept of “Options” below. Not a member of TheCollaborative? Learn more so you can share your perspective in the next dialogue.

World Contraception Day dialogue describing the meaning of contraception options described in the text below.

Empowering Choice: What 'Options' Truly Means to FP/RH Practitioners

Question: What Does “Options” Mean to You and the People You Serve?

Personalized Decision-Making

One member highlighted that “Options” means having the freedom to make personal choices regarding Family Planning and Sexual and Reproductive Health (FP/SRH). It’s about receiving the right information about contraception and being empowered to choose the method that best suits your needs and preferences.

Informed Decision-Making

Another perspective emphasized the importance of informed decision-making. For this member, “Choice” goes beyond mere access; it involves having comprehensive information and education about different contraceptive options. It’s about ensuring that individuals can make informed decisions based on their unique circumstances.

Power and Control

One member added a compelling dimension, stating that “Option” means having power within one’s scope. It’s about empowering individuals to take control of their reproductive health and make choices that align with their life goals and aspirations.

Informed Choice

“Options” and “Informed Choice” go hand in hand. As another member pointed out, true “Option” arises when individuals have access to a full range of information about available services. This abundance of information leads to informed choices, ensuring that decisions are made with clarity and understanding.

People-Centeredness and Health Rights

Options underscore the principles of people-centeredness and health rights. It’s about ensuring that everyone, regardless of their background or circumstances, can access a range of methods and make choices without discrimination.

Honesty and Comprehensive Services

Finally, “Options” boil down to honesty. It’s about ensuring that individuals have the opportunity to access the full breadth of information and services without bias or limitation. It’s about trust and transparency in the journey toward reproductive health.

As we reflect on the wisdom shared by members of theCollaborative, it’s evident that “Options” in the world of FP/SRH mean so much more than just having a choice of contraceptives. It’s about empowerment, education, personalization, and inclusivity. It’s about fostering a world where individuals are in control of their reproductive destinies, where choices are informed, and where everyone has equal access to comprehensive services.

TheCollaborative community logo of side profile face connected by a four part puzzle.
Elizabeth Tully

Senior Program Officer, Knowledge SUCCESS / Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs

Elizabeth (Liz) Tully is a Senior Program Officer at the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs. She supports knowledge and program management efforts and partnership collaborations, in addition to developing print and digital content, including interactive experiences and animated videos. Her interests include family planning/reproductive health, the integration of population, health, and the environment, and distilling and communicating information in new and exciting formats. Liz holds a B.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences from West Virginia University and has been working in knowledge management for family planning since 2009.

Irene Alenga

Knowledge Management and Community Engagement Lead, Amref Health Africa

Irene is an established social economist with over 13 years’ experience in research, policy analysis, knowledge management, and partnership engagement. As a researcher, she has been involved in the coordination and implementation of over 20 social economic research projects in various disciplines within the Eastern African Region. In her work as a Knowledge Management Consultant, Irene has been involved in health-related studies through work with public health and technology-focused institutions in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Malawi where she has successfully teased out impact stories and increased visibility of project interventions. Her expertise in developing and supporting management processes, lessons learned, and best practices is exemplified in the three-year organizational change management and project closure process of the USAID| DELIVER and Supply Chain Management Systems (SCMS) 10-year project in Tanzania. In the emerging practice of Human Centered Design, Irene has successfully facilitated a positive end to end product experience through conducting user experience studies while implementing the USAID| DREAMS Project amongst adolescent girls and young women (AGYWs) in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. Irene is well-versed in resource mobilization and donor management, especially with USAID, DFID, and EU.

Collins Otieno

East Africa FP/RH Technical Officer

Meet Collins, a versatile development practitioner with a wealth of experience and expertise in family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) communication, program and grant management, capacity strengthening and technical assistance, social and behavior change, information management, and media/communication outreach. Collins has dedicated his career to working with local, national, and international development NGOs to implement successful FP/RH interventions in East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, & Ethiopia) and West Africa (Burkina Faso, Senegal, and Nigeria). His work has focused on youth development, comprehensive sexual and reproductive health (SRH), community engagement, media campaigns, advocacy communications, social norms, and civic engagement. Previously, Collins worked with Planned Parenthood Global, where he provided FP/RH technical assistance and support to Africa Region country programs. He contributed to the FP2030 Initiative’s High Impact Practices (HIP) program in developing the FP HIP briefs. He also worked with The Youth Agenda and I Choose Life-Africa, where he led various youth campaigns and FP/RH initiatives. In addition to his professional endeavors, Collins is passionate about exploring how digital communication and engagement are shaping and moving FP/RH development in Africa and around the world. He loves the outdoors and is an avid camper and hiker. Collins is also a social media enthusiast and can be found on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and sometimes Twitter.

Natalie Apcar

Program Officer II, KM & Communications, Knowledge SUCCESS

Natalie Apcar is a Program Officer II at the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, supporting knowledge management partnership activities, content creation, and communications for Knowledge SUCCESS. Natalie has worked for a variety of nonprofits and built a background in planning, implementation, and monitoring of public health programming, including gender integration. Other interests include youth and community-led development, which she got the chance to engage in as US Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. Natalie earned a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from American University and a Master of Science in Gender, Development, and Globalization from the London School of Economics and Political Science.