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On April 26, several Rwandan government agencies, including the Ministry of Health, officially launched a three-year initiative called the Baho Neza Integrated Health Campaign to encourage the use and distribution of contraception. Catholic Relief Services is identified as one of the implementing partners on this campaign.
The central focus of the Baho Neza Campaign is the promotion, distribution and provision of "family planning" and "family planning services" for the sake of increasing the contraceptive prevalence rate of the country.
According to an article about the campaign by Hope Magazine, the Baho Neza campaign "is an innovative approach that includes additional components of Family Planning and Early Childhood Development (ECD) to address various health related issues, including the availability and accessibility of family planning services, as well as closing the existing gaps."
The article also explains that the campaign "will focus on raising awareness countrywide on available information and services related to Family Planning, Early Childhood Development, Antenatal Care and Postnatal Care, the importance of Parents-Adolescents Communication and Teenage Pregnancy prevention."
At the launch of the campaign, Dr. Diane Gashumba urged Rwandans to embrace family planning, saying, "The goal is the best possible services, this year will be dedicated to the promotion of cleanliness as a means of disease control and the practice of family planning."
On Dec. 21, 2018, Applied Monitoring Services Ltd. posted a job announcement looking for a consultant to conduct a baseline assessment for the Baho Neza project.
In the background information on the project, the announcement stated that the overall goal is "increasing access to long-acting reversible contraceptives and strengthening health care providers capacity to offer post-partum family planning and post-abortion care services countrywide."
Another Rwandan news site boldly claimed that the primary message parents should be receiving in this campaign is: "Test for pregnancy; in pregnancy, take care of the health of the baby in the first 1,000 days of her life; the role of men in following up development, caring for children, protecting children through all the needs; family planning, rehabilitation, to avoid and to prevent pregnancy."
The IGIHE Network in Rwanda reports that "'Baho Neza' is aimed at sensitizing all Rwandans to avoid and fight disease, to care for child and mother health, to attend and use child care services for children, to prevent pregnancy, and to adopt and use family planning services."
The Rwanda Broadcasting Agency said that "the campaign will combat malnutrition, early pregnancies, seek to increase the number of people practicing long-term family planning methods, and take other measures to improve social well-being."
Already, it is clear that the purpose of the Baho Neza project is completely incompatible with Catholic moral teaching. Its overall focus and goal include the spread of contraception to vulnerable women and adolescents. But we can expect that CRS will respond by providing us with the same old tired excuses they always give regarding other projects such as these in which they have been found to be participating.
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