Dear Family Planning Community Member,
We know that what WVD proposes is often considered a ‘disruptive’ approach to public health and family planning, but after 8 years in dozens of countries, what we do is working. With minimal funding and a lot of passion, every year there are more men, more families, more providers, and more institutions that have turned our idea into a movement.
This year poses special challenges, but at the heart of our movement – one grounded in kindness and compassion – are lessons that are completely relevant to the fight against Covid. We promote vasectomy as an act of love for self, for family and for the well being of society. That’s the same reason to wear a mask and social distance. And our movement has always been both virtual and global and local and personal – so now that the whole world is learning to operate this way, we’ve had an 8 year head start!
We work extremely hard to achieve traditional measures of family planning success such as maximizing the number of CYPs or increasing the acceptance rate of vasectomies, training providers and even normalizing male participation in family planning, but what makes WVD unique and – successful – is our commitment to create a collectively created movement based that turns acceptors into advocates and followers into leaders.
Why a movement?
The simple answer is that behavioral change on a societal scale requires both personal participation and collective action. To achieve both of these objectives, WVD combines traditional storytelling with the latest in information communication technology to aggregate and channel individual acts of love into a collective movement for social good.
Instead of programs or campaigns that last only as long as the funding, WVD continues to grow over time because our target audience are our ‘partners’, as well as beneficiaries. Indeed, we achieve success because we provide men who have had a vasectomy the means and tools to champion the procedure to their brothers, friends and neighbors. We develop technical capacity through a global network of vasectomy providers who exchange and share knowledge. We attract the best and brightest storytellers, some of whom are professional filmmakers, but all of whom are creative and conscientious people. Working, together – men, women, family planning institutions, government ministries and skilled providers – we build our movement one kind and conscious decision at a time.
Why focus on men?
When infamous American bank robber, Willie Sutton, was asked why rob banks, his answer was ‘because that’s where the money is”. So why focus on men? Because that’s where the source of so many of the problems are.
In the modern economy, lack of purpose and opportunity, leads to alienation, anger and violence – self inflicted through drugs and suicide or outwardly expressed through violence to those most vulnerable. Yes, material goods are more available today than ever, but the stories that guided our shared existence have lost their power and without new rituals to create equilibrium or inspire community over time, we are linked by fear rather than bonded by love.
Certainly, there are always resources dedicated to punishing men for wrong doing, resources to protect us from the wrong doers and resources, although never sufficient, to empower women to pursue their dreams and aspirations, but sadly, there are few family planning programs geared towards men. By supporting men, we are not just bringing services to an underserved community, we also support women.
After decades making films in war zones and conflict areas, I discovered that on the day a man – regardless of class, creed or culture – voluntarily chooses a vasectomy, he experiences and expresses love in ways I had never witnessed. It was the evening of May 9th, 2012, after filming a particularly inspired group of men on the Kenya/Uganda border that I reserved the URL, worldvasectomyday.org and set an intention to convince 100 doctors in 20 countries to do 1000 vasectomies in 24 hours. On October 18th, 2013, in Adelaide, Australia, we had our first event.
Seven years later, with over 1000 participating providers from 40+ countries doing upwards of 15,000 procedures yearly, we are the largest male focused family planning movement in history. Numbers matter, but we don’t judge our success only by vasectomies done, but by the quality of the conversations we help launch. We believe that ideas planted amongst youth in on-line conversations that reached 120 million impressions in Kenya alone, will lead to better informed decisions now and into the future.
World Vasectomy Day continues to grow as we continue to learn from each of you and work together to expand our project to encompass ever more ambitious and critical social concerns. We are no longer just a day celebration but an on-going movement that thrives with the participation of thousands of conscientious members who care about leaving a legacy of hope and possibility.
We design and implement a social media communications project that unites men, vasectomy providers and health care activists in a mission to increase men’s participation in family planning.
We are the vasectomy-provider community, where doctors share practical information and successful solutions to common challenges.
We organize a once-a-year ‘vasectomy-thon’ in which vasectomy providers throughout the world provide high quality vasectomies to men whose families are complete.
We produce a live-stream program that is shared across multiple time zones with contributions from men and women getting vasectomies, vasectomy providers, leaders in family planning, as well as documentaries and animations produced over the year.
We educate men and women about all the family planning options.
We bring our rotating headquarters to a different country each year and collaborate with local providers, family planning institutions and Ministries of Healths to build sustainable vasectomy programs.
We build awareness combination traditional media with cutting edge information communication technology.
We are an ongoing movement that harnesses the best in men to build a more equitable and just world for future generations.
Jonathan Stack, Co Founder World Vasectomy Day