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University of Puget Sound

Publication Date

Fall 2009

Program Name

Tanzania: Wildlife Conservation and Political Ecology

Abstract

My study in the West Usambaras took place November 2009. The main objectives of the study were to identify the principle family planning methods of women in Sagara and Kizanda villages, why those specific methods were used, and how they may be changing over time. The study also focused on the population growth and fertility rates of the two villages. I predicted that fertility rates were high and constant, and that most women would use traditional methods of birth control, with only a few choosing to use medication available at the local health clinic or dispensary. My predictions turned out to be partially correct. The population of women in Sagara and Kizanda are currently undergoing a major transition in what methods of family planning are most commonly used. Older generations of women typically used traditional methods of birth control, while the majority of younger womenare switching to dispensary medication. This transition is a result of men’s alcohol habits, embracing of new technology, and government endorsement.

While fertility rates are high compared to the national average, the planned/projected fertility rate illustrates a decreasing trend. The oldest generation wanted, on average, 6.9(SE±0.3) children, while women the middle and youngest generations now only plan to have 5.0(SE±0.2) and 3.7(SE±0.2) children, respectively (a< 0.01, critical value 0.05, appendix 4). This significant decrease in planned fertility rateis mostly a result of internal community factors rather than pressures from the national government. These community factors include hard living conditions and increased alcohol addiction among men.

Women generally did not recognize a relationship between hard living conditions and population increase. Contrary to the government, the women of the villages thought that living conditions could be improved by other factors, such as better resource management, rather than population reduction.

Disciplines

Maternal and Child Health | Public Health Education and Promotion

 

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