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Articles by Category for ‘Ryerson Travels’

Bill Ryerson: Blog from Burundi

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Bill Ryerson recently sent me this blog entry from Burundi.

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Greetings from Kigali, Rwanda. I am just finishing a week of meetings in Burundi and Rwanda regarding new projects Population Media Center is planning.  I was accompanied on the visit to Burundi by Theo Nzeyimana, PMC’s Rwandese producer.

We arrived in Bujumbura late on Saturday night, September 1, in a pouring rainstorm.  I had flown from Lagos that day, and Theo joined me when I changed planes in Kigali [capital of Rwanda].  We arranged for a taxi to take us to the hotel.  When we got the bags loaded and got in the car, I noticed a strong smell of gasoline fumes.  The driver immediately lowered all the windows, so we could breathe, even if we were getting soaked by the rain.

As we left the airport grounds, I noticed the driver had no working windshield wipers and no defroster.  So through the pouring rain, he was creeping along wiping the fog off the inside of the windshield.  As we left the area that had streetlights, I noticed the taxi also had no headlights.  The driver struggled to stay on the road and to avoid oncoming vehicles.  Then in the middle of a swamp, the car stalled.  The driver opened the hood and moved some wires around and then asked Theo to push the car, while he tried to jump start it.  That did not work.  The driver then took a hammer to some part of the engine, and the dashboard lights came on.  Another push by Theo, and we were off to the hotel at 5 miles an hour.

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Greetings from Nigeria

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Bill Ryerson submitted this blog entry from Abuja:

“Greetings from Nigeria, where Population Media Center is seeking support for its third radio drama program.  Nigeria has one of the highest birth rates in the world, and only 10% of married women use modern contraceptives.  Of the 90% non-users, 55% say they never intend to use a method, according to the 2008 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS). The fertility rate is 5.7 children per woman, and the women think 7 children is the ideal number. The men think 9 children is the ideal number. Only 0.2% of Nigerians say they don’t use contraceptives because services are not available, and only 0.2% cite cost as a barrier.

Of all births in Nigeria:

  • 87% were wanted at the time and another
  • 7% were wanted, but not until later
  • 4% were unwanted.

Overcoming this situation takes more than access to contraceptive services.  It requires helping people understand the personal benefits in health and welfare for them and their children of limiting and spacing births.

Population Media Center’s second program in four states in northern Nigeria had significant effects in changing desired family size among women who were listening.  The 208-episode drama program, Ruwan Dare (Midnight Rain), was broadcast in Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, and Sokoto states from July 2007 to June 2009.  The program storylines promoted and modeled birth spacing and smaller family size. The main characters in the drama featured couples who often discussed family planning issues and both positive and negative views related to making a decision to use contraceptives to space children and achieve smaller family size.

At the time of the baseline survey prior to the broadcast, the mean desired number of children for all respondents was 7.43 (females 7.71, males 7.03), and this decreased significantly* to 5.93 by the endline survey, most notably among females (females 5.39, males 6.96).

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