Policy Brief | July 2022 | Download PDF

One aspect of the Solutions for Supporting Healthy Adolescents and Right Protection (SHARP) project is to map local faith-based approaches to adolescent sexual reproductive health care and highlight best practices and their rationale.

This research was a combination of a literature review based on existing research, and interviews with experts on faith leaders in Zambia and Burundi. This policy brief highlights the importance of religion, the role of faith leaders, best practices, and associated recommendations.


  • Take into account the ‘religion factor’ when designing interventions on ASRH.
  • Take time to get to know the specific local religious tradition of the target area. There is a difference between doctrine and practice, and it is important to know your starting point.
  • Do not approach faith institutions, faith leaders or religion as separate from other areas of society. They are interwoven with, among other things, culture, language, gender, politics.
  • Focus on the capacity of faith leaders first, before moving on to interventions featuring them spreading the messages on ASRH.
  • Be mindful with partnerships. Faith leaders have their own view of their faith, which they will incorporate in their work. Invest in co-creation of messages so that both your aim and faith leaders’ aims and interests are respected.

This research was carried out by Health Action International Intern, Ilse van Tuinen.

Download the full policy brief.