La Belle Famille
How we’re connecting with young families through Burkina Faso’s first family planning board game
Despite progressive gender policies, Burkina Faso still ranks 185th out of 188 countries in the Gender Inequality Index.
At MSI, we know access to contraception and full information about how to use it will be an important step toward achieving gender equality and capitalizing on the country’s enthusiasm and commitment to progress.
But cultural norms can make it difficult to have open conversations about sex and contraception in Burkina Faso. Stigma and misconceptions about family planning prevent many women from even discussing it with their husbands, making it even more difficult to access services.
“A husband may accept that his wife uses contraception, but won’t talk about it in public. People gossip.”
That’s why we partnered with IDEO.org to create La Belle Famille, an initiative to introduce the concept of choice. This new, human-centered approach is designed to empower women and elevate husbands’ acceptance of family planning through three basic components.
La Jeu de la Famille
The first piece of La Belle Famille is La Jeu de la Famille, a board game that allows players and audience to air their fears, dispel myths, and build their knowledge of family planning. La Jeu is centered on the playful and lighthearted Burkinabe culture, and recognizes children as families’ ultimate symbol of wealth.
“This game is just like life. It makes us reflect.”
By encouraging dialogue, the game serves two purposes. For men, it normalizes the idea of family planning as a tool for success; for women, it builds knowledge and confidence.
La Célébration de la Famille
La Célébration de la Famille — the next component — is designed to encourage men to engage in activities alongside their wives and children and nods to men’s role as decision makers. By celebrating Burkinabe families, we aim to fostering equality and communication within a them. Currently taking the form of a photo booth, we will expand this piece in the future.
La Conversation de Famille
The last building block of La Belle Famille, La Conversation de Famille, is a set of cards that tells the story of a couple who achieved their ideal family size with the help of contraception.
After extensive interviews and immersion in the community, the IDEO.org design team created these elements to reflect Burkinabe culture. The program is designed for couples, with women’s choice at the center. It’s interactive, encouraging the light banter and laughter Burkinabes bring to every conversation. La Belle Famille taps into widely shared family aspirations to inspire couples to plan for their future.
“I will advise my wife to come speak with the nurse. It’s important for us.”
While we’re still in the “prototyping phase” of La Belle Famille in Burkina Faso, this small-scale program helps us understand what works before we expand across the country.
We’re thrilled to continue working with IDEO.org to pilot these programs in Burkina Faso, Senegal, and across the Sahel region to energize couples around happy, healthy families.
But that’s far from all we’re working on — MSI is working to expand access to family planning services and reach young people across the globe!