Family planning: Let’s talk about contraception

Two female garment workers in Cambodia

We can delay pregnancy, we have enough time to work, and save money. And when we want a baby, we know the way to have it safely.

Nimol, aged 20, moved to Phnom Penh with her husband to work in a garment factory. She is just one of thousands of garment workers who have benefited from CARE’s Chat! contraception project, which encourages women to learn about their contraception choices through interactive and fun approaches such as group training sessions, video dramas and a mobile-phone app.

The mobile app is particularly effective because it is simple to use, does not require the ability to read, and harnesses workers’ existing experience using mobile phones. Factories that have adopted the Chat! package encourage workers to participate by offering prizes to workers with high scores.

A garment worker looking at a mobile phone
A garment worker looking at the Chat! app on her mobile phone

The game’s questions are via voice messages so that minimal reading is required. “At 7 am there is an alerting message on my phone. I open the message and listen to the question,” explains Chenda, age 27. After listening to the question, workers have to answer whether the statement in the question is correct. If they get the answer wrong, the game will explain the correct answer. Chenda said:

By playing the game, we learn about the advantages of contraceptives and we understand how to prevent pregnancies.

In Cambodia the majority of female garment factory workers do not use modern contraception, and only 8 per cent of all workers are aware that abortion is legal in the country. This lack of knowledge can cause garment factory workers to rely on local practices that might be dangerous and ineffective. When factory workers in turn become sick, they may not be able to work and may end up losing their only source of income.

By providing information and guidance in an accessible way, the Chat! contraception project is enabling factory workers to have more control over decisions about whether, when, and how many children to have – and so to have more choice over their future.

Learn more about the Family Planning Summit at the CARE Insights website.

Follow the Summit on #HerFuture.

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News and stories are provided by CARE staff working to support our emergency responses and long-term development programmes.