Rwanda: After So Many Deaths, Too Many Births

January 23, 2009 • Rwanda, News

Since 1994, Rwanda’s population has increased by three times the number lost during the genocide. Yet curbing population growth remains a sensitive issue. Nevertheless, the government – and Population Media Center’s radio soap opera – are working to change long-held behavior patterns. Our most recent monitoring data from family planning clinics shows that, when new clients are asked what motivated them to seek family planning, 57% name Population Media Center’s program by name.

Many thanks to Marianne Ward for the article below.

Convincing women in the deeply impoverished Rwandan countryside that they should have fewer children is a daunting task. “They say we’re not Christian,” said Jeannette Mukabalisa, a local health advocate, of the predominantly Catholic population. “They say, ‘You’re town people, we’re traditional.’ Children bring these families prestige. For them, children come from God. So it’s difficult, very difficult.”

After the 1994 genocide, in which more than 800,000 Rwandans were slaughtered, it seemed difficult to believe that overpopulation would ever be a problem. Yet Rwanda has long had more people than its meager resources and small area can support.

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