Using community mapping to understand family planning behavior

Publication Abstract

White, Darcy, and Rob Stephenson. 2014. "Using community mapping to understand family planning behavior." Field Methods, 26(4): 406-420.

Traditional approaches to researching family planning in developing countries utilize surveys, focus group discussions, key informant interviews, or some combination thereof. However, these methods are limited in their ability to measure community-level influences on family planning behavior. In this article, we assess the benefits of applying community mapping, a participatory research technique, to understand social and cultural influences on family planning in rural Ethiopia and Kenya. In gender-segregated focus groups, participants collaboratively created a map of their district or zone, which they subsequently used to anchor discussion of local supports, barriers, and targets for change. Qualitative analysis of the transcripts revealed that community mapping is a powerful tool with which to understand community-level factors that influence family planning. By facilitating reflection on and discussion of local assets and issues, the mapping exercise identifies relevant factors from the perspective of community members and defines priority points for intervention.

10.1177/1525822X14529256

Countries of focus: Ethiopia, Kenya.

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