Male Fertility Preferences and Maternal Mortality
The project aims to address the consequences of male fertility preferences when men are uninformed about of the health risks associated with pregnancy and childbirth, namely low uptake of available family planning and low understanding of the benefits of birth spacing. In order to inform men of these risks, an innovative curriculum has been designed over one year of piloting that introduces family planning as a way to mitigate potential maternal and child mortality. The proposed intervention evaluates to what degree, once maternal mortality risks are made clear, men change their fertility preferences to seek family planning services and promote spaced birthing and fewer births. The project takes a demand creation approach in designing and implementing a curriculum about the risks of maternal mortality in family planning decisions. The primary objective of the project is to improve maternal health by reshaping male attitudes towards fertility through informing men of the health risks their wives face if family planning is not used or pregnancies are not timed and spaced properly. Standard efforts to increase the uptake of family planning oftentimes focus on increasing supply and availability, increasing demand only through women's involvement, which ignores the husband's influential role in family planning decisions, or ineffectively involving men, which could result in greater intra-household conflict. The proposed intervention introduces an innovative, fundamental behavior change mechanism, through which gender norms and intra-household norms are respected yet still transformed to avoid potentially counterproductive male involvement.