The Contraceptive Autonomy Study

This project seeks to improve access to women-centered contraceptive services by creating novel measures that move family planning indicators beyond coverage and fertility. Currently, there are no population-level indicators that measure women’s autonomy or desires related to contraceptive choice, leaving researchers and decision makers with an incomplete understanding of how family planning programs are or are not meeting women’s needs. Winner of a Quality Innovation Challenge grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, this study aims to fill this gap by creating a new evidence-based indicator that explores how women’s contraceptive desires correspond to their contraceptive outcomes.

The first phase of this study is taking place in rural and urban sites in Burkina Faso in close partnership with the Institut Supérieur des Sciences de la Population at the University of Ouagadougou and the Centre de Recherche en Santé de Nouna. A formative qualitative research phase will be followed by a large-scale quantitative survey that will pilot questions for eventual inclusion in the indicator. In future phases, there are plans to expand the study to other countries to promote intercultural validity and reliability. The ultimate goal of this study is to develop a concise set of questions that reflect the reproductive justice framework and can be incorporated into existing population-based household surveys. This new indicator will be measured across time and place, allowing for comparison between programs and countries, as well as for monitoring changes in contraceptive autonomy over time.