Press Room Contact GUCCHD

Standard Days Method | Resource Repository

Standard Days Method (SDM) is a modern, fertility awareness-based method of family planning that is 95% effective when used correctly and 88% with typical use. SDM is used with CycleBeads®, a simple innovation of color-coded beads available in different formats (i.e., string of beads, mobile app, paper image), to help users easily monitor their fertile and infertile days, and avoid unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy on fertile days.

This method has been proven to be acceptable to providers and users, and is currently being offered in services of ministries of health, NGOs, faith-based and community-based organizations in more than 20 countries worldwide.

Programs interested in including SDM in regular family planning services need to consider a number of essential steps, outlined in the graphic below, to ensure that SDM is successfully integrated. This system-based approach ensures that all aspects of service delivery are addressed, and sets the method up for sustainability. (Please click on the graphic to enlarge).

The Resource Repository below is designed to accompany each of the essential steps, and serves as a “one-stop-shop” for resources needed to facilitate successful SDM integration. Resources can be downloaded and adapted for programs as needed.


Create a supportive environment for method sustainability by including SDM in national norms and program guidelines, choosing strong implementation partners, and informing policymakers and program managers of programmatic successes.


Global Health eLearning Course: Standard Days Method

This course helps the learner be able to (1) define the Standard Days Method®  and CycleBeads®  and how it works, (2) list the advantages and challenges of SDM, (3) understand the factors that facilitate or limit use of SDM, including common misconceptions, (4) describe how SDM and CycleBeads can be made more available in country programs, and (5) understand the essential steps for integrating SDM into the family planning method mix. Time for completion: 2 hours


  • Process for Integrating the Standard Days Method® into Services: Essential Steps ENGLISH
  • CycleBeads Integration Guide: A Toolkit for Family Planning Programs ENGLISH


  • Standard Days Method®: A Modern Family Planning Method ENGLISH | FRENCH | SPANISH | NEPALI
  • 10 Reasons to Integrate CycleBeads into Family Planning Programs WEBSITE
  • Community Health Workers: Bringing Family Planning Services to Where People Live and Work (WEBSITE), as part of the High Impact Practices in Family Planning List (WEBSITE)
  • Fact Sheet: Standard Days Method® using CycleBeads® ENGLISH | NEPALI
  • Standard Days Method® and CycleBeads: Top 20 Most Frequently Asked Questions ENGLISH | FRENCH | SPANISH | NEPALI
  • How to Address Common Misconceptions about the Standard Days Method ENGLISH
  • Reducing Barriers to Offering the Standard Days Method ENGLISH, FRENCH, SPANISH
  • The Standard Days Method®: Expanding Family Planning Options, USAID Repositioning in Action E-Bulletin ENGLISH
  • Standard Days Method: A Simple, Effective Natural Method, USAID Global Health Technical Brief ENGLISH, FRENCH, SPANISH



Build provider capacity (clinical providers, community-based health workers, midwives, nurses) on how to screen and counsel clients, ensuring that the training approach meets the needs of the trainees. Half-day, two-hour workshops and virtual training options are available.


Training Manual: Two-hour Contraceptive Technology Update for Health Care Professionals (IN PERSON) ENGLISH

This training workshop provides participants the information and tools required to offer counseling to clients in SDM and CycleBeads. The course features: (1) Information on the scientific basis of SDM — as well as the medical and behavioral criteria for method use; (2) Counseling guidelines, tips, and practical examples of how to effectively counsel on SDM; and (3) Useful resources for use in counseling and teaching SDM. The Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies, and the School of Medicine accredited the course for 2.4 CEUs and 2.0 CMEs respectively for practitioners in the U.S.

Standard Days Method Webinar (VIRTUAL)

The Standard Days Method Webinar is intended for providers. To complete the webinar, first review the Power Point Presentation by downloading the presentation (available in English and Spanish), or viewing the narrated presentation (English), all linked below. A version for faith-based programs to train natural family plannings teachers is found at Time to Complete: 2 Hours

       Course Materials


Offering CycleBeads: A Toolkit for Training Community Health Workers (IN-PERSON) ENGLISH | KINYARWANDA

This toolkit is a for those who train or supervise community health workers. It is designed to help you plan and conduct a workshop that prepares community health workers to: (1) Offer Standard Days Method of family planning, and (2) use CycleBeads and the package insert as a tool to learn about and use this method.

Interactive Voice Recording (IVR) Training (VIRTUAL)

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is a low-cost, automated phone system technology, which can be used to deliver training content on the Standard Days Method to learners who listen to pre-recorded material and answer related questions using their mobile phone. This training format is appropriate for low-literacy community health workers. The tools in this training package include: the IVR Implementation Guide, which describes the process to implement a training course in the Standard Days Method® (SDM) delivered via IVR; the IVR Curriculum Guide, which is the training course used for this particular format; and the IVR Project Brief, describing the initial IVR intervention and results in Nigeria and Rwanda.

Expanding Access to Family Planning through Group Learning & Counseling: Implementation Handbook (IN-PERSON) ENGLISH

This Implementation Handbook was designed to assist program managers in adapting the Group Learning and Counseling model for their own organization or program. Group Learning and Counseling is an evidence-based model that utilizes non-health youth volunteers to spread Fertility Awareness (FA) within their communities, deliver Fertility Awareness Methods (FAM) directly to couples with limited access to family planning (FP) services, and support linkages to health workers through referrals for other FP options.



  • Client Brochure – ENGLISH | SPANISH
  • CycleBeads Inserts – View the list of the different versions available of the instructional inserts included in the CycleBeads package.



Supervisors can play an important role in monitoring and supporting providers in offering SDM correctly. Thus, SDM should be incorporated into on-going supervision. The Knowledge Improvement Tool (KIT) supports supervision by identifying and assessing provider skills essential to offering quality SDM services.


Women and men need to know about SDM and its characteristics to assess whether it is an appropriate option for them, so generating awareness about SDM is an important step in method introduction. There are many channels to use to increase awareness about family planning methods, such as radio, television, print media, and social media, in addition to sharing information at healthcare facilities. Here are sample promotional materials that can be used and distributed at clinics and/or health fairs:


To offer SDM successfully, programs must consider how to procure CycleBeads (the “innovation”) to ensure that the tool is available to method users. CycleBeads, the simple innovation of color-coded beads that helps users monitor their fertile and infertile days, is available in three different formats:

  • CycleBeads, the physical tool, is available from Cycle Technologies, the distributor, and USAID-supported programs can purchase them at a negotiated price. To order them, contact or fill in the bulk purchase inquiry form. Instructional inserts in multiple languages and for varying levels of literacy are listed below.
  • CycleBeads, the mobile app, is downloadable for free in the Apple and Google Play stores.
  • CycleBeads, the paper version, can be printed by programs and useful during commodity stock-outs. Paper versions are available in English, French and Kinyarwanda HERE.


Useful tools and briefs to inform logistics and procurement planning and decisions include:

  • A Forecasting Guide for New and Underused Methods of Family Planning ENGLISH This forecasting guide equips programs to make the necessary assumptions on which to base projections for any method that is new and/or will be expanded considerably in a particular setting.
  • How to procure CycleBeads: a visual tool for the Standard Days Method ENGLISH, WHO Advisory Note
  • CycleBeads Product Brief ENGLISH, Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition
  • CycleBeads on Paper: Helping Family Planning Programs Overcome Stock-Outs ENGLISH


Here is a list of the instructional inserts available that accompany CycleBeads and support the user with correct method use:


Collect routine data to monitor services and method demand by including SDM in facility records, service statistic forms, and in regional/national reporting systems. As each program has different reporting systems, no resources are available for this particular section.



  • Fact Sheet: Standard Days Method® using CycleBeads® ENGLISH | NEPALI
  • Standard Days Method® and CycleBeads: Top 20 Most Frequently Asked Questions ENGLISH | FRENCH | SPANISH | NEPALI
  • How to Address Common Misconceptions about the Standard Days Method ENGLISH
  • Reducing Barriers to Offering the Standard Days Method ENGLISH, FRENCH, SPANISH



  • Standard Days Method Training via Interactive Voice Response (IVR) for Low-Literacy Community-Based Providers in Rwanda and Nigeria ENGLISH
  • Promoting the CycleBeads App on Social Media ENGLISH
  • CycleBeads on Paper: Helping Family Planning Programs Overcome Stock-Outs ENGLISH
  • Faith-Based Organizations as Partners in Family Planning: Working Together to Improve Family Well-Being ENGLISH
  • Partnerships with Faith-Based Organizations to Expand Access to Family Planning ENGLISH
  • Strengthening faith-based partnerships in family planning: Integrating the Standard Days Method® into Catholic health services in Rwanda ENGLISH
  • Standard Days Method: Building Gender Equity & Engaging Men in Family ENGLISH
  • Working with women’s associations to increase acceptability and use of family planning in Mali ENGLISH


  • Scaling up a family planning innovation: How health systems are strengthened along the way ENGLISH | FRENCH | SPANISH
  • Bringing a health innovation to scale: The story of successful introduction of the Standard Days Method in Rwanda ENGLISH
  • Doing it Right: Monitoring, Learning, and Evaluating for Sustainable Scale-Up ENGLISHFRENCH
  • Country Briefs: Scale-Up of Standard Days Method DRC | GUATEMALA |  INDIA |  MALI | RWANDA


  • A Fixed Formula to Define the Fertile Window of the Menstrual Cycle as the Basis of a Simple Method of Natural Family Planning, Contraception 1999 ENGLISH
  • Efficacy of a new method of family planning: The Standard Days Method, Contraception 2002 ENGLISH, FRENCH, SPANISH
  • The Standard Days Method of Family Planning: A Response to Cairo, International Family Planning Perspectives 2003 ENGLISH, FRENCH, SPANISH
  • The importance of screening and monitoring: the Standard Days Method and cycle regularity, Contraception 2004 ENGLISH, FRENCH, SPANISH
  • Mind the gap: Responding to the global funding crisis in family planning, Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Healthcare 2004 ENGLISH, FRENCH, SPANISH
  • It’s All in the Timing: Coital Frequency and Fertility Awareness-Based Methods of Family Planning, Journal of Biosocial Science 2005 ENGLISH
  • Explaining ovulation awareness-based family planning methods, Contemporary OB/GYN 2006 ENGLISH
  • Being Strategic about Contraceptive Introduction: The Experience of the Standard Days Method®, Contraception 2008 ENGLISH, FRENCH, SPANISH
  • The role of the Standard Days Method in modern family planning services in developing countries, The European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care 2012 ENGLISH


These CycleBeads images are available for download and appropriate for incorporating into training resources, client materials, and awareness generating campaigns.

Stay updated on our efforts. Subscribe to our newsletter.
[gravityform id="2" title="false" description="false" ajax="true" tabindex="40"]