Rwanda faces development challenges that stem from several factors: low per capita income, the legacy of the social and political upheaval experienced in the 1990s, and high population density. Low contraceptive use and high rates of fertility among Rwandan women contribute to the country’s population growth and high population density. These factors strain economic and natural resources and potentially contribute to ethnic tensions, such as those that fueled the country’s 1994 genocide, during which up to 1 million Rwandans were murdered. As recently as 2005, only one in 10 married women were using a modern method of contraception; and, at the country’s highest fertility levels in 1983, Rwandan women could expect to have, on average, 8.5 children over a lifetime.
This PopPov network research brief summarizes findings of a paper published in 2009 by Dieudonné Muhoza Ndaruhuye and colleagues that provides insight into factors associated with Rwandans' use of family planning and the country's population dynamics. Using data from the 2005 Rwanda DHS, the authors looked at four possible explanations for unmet need for contraception and demand for family planning services among reproductive-age women living with a partner: women's characteristics, their partner's characteristics, women’s exposure to family planning information, and women's attitudes and their partner's perceived attitudes toward contraception.
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The DEMTREND Closing Conference
Household Decisionmaking and Contraceptive Use in Zambia
Family planning services promote a wide range of health and socioeconomic benefits to women, men, and their families. Still, many barriers prevent women from using contraception. Despite efforts to increase awareness and improve access to these family planning services, unmet need for family planning and unwanted pregnancies remains high in many low- and middle-income countries, suggesting that other factors may be driving contraceptive use. One such factor relates to household decisionmaking about fertility. Specifically, disagreements between a husband and wife about family planning may influence decisions about contraceptive use. Common sources of disagreements between partners include:
- Preferences for whether or not to use family planning.
- What contraceptive method to use.
- Mismatches in ideal family size.
This PopPov network research brief presents findings and policy implications from a study by Nava Ashraf, Erica Field, and Jean Lee. They investigated the husband’s role in family planning decisions and presented evidence that couples’ behavior regarding decisions about contraceptive use produce less than ideal fertility outcomes. The study randomly assigned individuals to three groups: individuals chosen to receive a voucher, granting immediate and free access to a range of contraceptive methods, including concealable contraceptives such as implants or injectables, in the presence of their husband (couples treatment); women chosen to receive the same voucher, except in private (individual treatment); and women who did not receive a voucher (control group).
Download the brief (PDF: 560KB)